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Monster Hunter Vendetta Mass Market Paperback – September 28, 2010
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This book fills in a lot of the back-story of the MHI fictional universe without getting in the way of the non-stop action. For a new writer Larry Correia has great story-telling skills as he pulls the reader from one chapter to the next. Don't start this book on a night when you need to get some sleep. One could easily start this on a Friday night and finish it by Sunday.
We learn more of the family history of the Shackleford's, four generations of which have owned and operated MHI. Some really big secrets of some agents of Monster Control Bureau (MCB) get spilled here. It does nothing to alleviate MCB's image as an evil-twin version of Men In Black. Even worse its top agent is a bloody-minded egomaniac who doesn't care if MHI is wiped out as long as he accomplishes his mission.
The author does a great job of building up the powers of the villain, a British necromancer, to the point where you doubt that anything to stop him. The key is to make it believable when our hero does beat him and comes home in one-piece to marry the girl he loves - another monster hunter who shoots a rifle better than Owen. Good looks, brave and a great shot. That is my idea of a 21st century heroine/love-interest.
This is a fun book with an adult view of good vs. evil, in stark contrast to the action movies of today that have stories at the level of comic books, even when they are not based on comic books. I'm glad to report that the evil villains are truly evil and not mis-guided or victims of a troubled childhood. The author's deft touch shows in the depiction of some of the "good guys" who cut corners while trying to save the world. We still don't like the guys from MCB, but some of them are more understandable after this book.
It's a successful second book in the series because new readers can enjoy it before reading the first book but it still moves the saga forward for people who have already "discovered" MHI. That's why I give it Five Stars.
Urban fantasy is in good hands with this sharpshooting writer from Utah.
Anyone who has read Monster Hunter International knows what to expect. Tough guys, big guns, and scary monsters. This novel features the return of our beloved mercenary monster hunters faced with a new unholy evil. A random passerby may see the front cover of this book (an awesome holographic illustration might I mention) and assume that it is a shallow violence ridden urban fantasy book. That, however, is so far from the case. What sets MHV apart from standard urban fantasy is Larry's knowledge of B-movie monsters and his personal experience with firearms. There's no supernatural problem a fully automatic twelve-gauge shotgun with an underslung grenade launcher can't handle. The action in this book is top notch, one of the fights continues on for pages but never gets boring. With some action-heavy books I tend to scan over what should be the most exciting parts. This is not so with MHV. Larry has a real talent for writing fight scenes and while you might be exhausted after reading it you will never be bored.
The most surprising thing about MHV is by far the amount of depth added to the characters. The first book displayed some unique and fun characters to follow. Owen Z. Pitt, combat accountant, makes for an excellent main character. He isn't handsome or unbelievably smart, but he is a great shot and a good fighter. While the first book introduced a wide and diverse cast MHV delves into story behind some of the more important players. Owen's family also makes an appearance in this book. Owen's relationship with his father gives a whole extra dimension to his character. Then of course there is Special Agent Franks. I didn't much care for Franks in the first book and I didn't expect to like him in MHV. Somehow by the end of the novel he had become my favorite character of all. Franks is one of the toughest characters I've read about in years and I can't wait for his solo novel Monster Hunter Nemesis.
I pre-ordered a signed copy of MHV for my personal library. Instead of waiting for the package to reach my house I went out and bought another copy as soon as it hit store shelves. I then proceeded to spend my weekend reading it. If you haven't read MHI I highly suggest going and buying it now, but buy MHV too. That way you won't have to run back out to the store to get the sequel after having your mind blown.