My #4 favorite read of 2013 Yes! Yes!! Yes!!! 5 Stars
Wowza! Hang on to your pants and shield your eyes because monster gore is flying everywhere! If you would rather hug your vampires or believe your ghouls are just misunderstood, this is not the book for you. Changes are, the you will be splattered with ichor while MHI blows the head off the monster you are attempting to reason with. While there are a few minor things I didn't like about the book, I was engaged overall and have enjoyed the experience more than most books this year. This is not your average Urban Fantasy. Monster Hunter International is not a group of Wizards pitting their power against the power of evil. Instead, MHI is a group of mercenaries killing monsters for money. There is no magic involved, just good old fashioned "shoot first, ask questions later". If you ever wondered how many rounds it would take to kill a master vampire, look no further.
After learning his boss is a werewolf and subsequently throwing his werewolf boss out of a 10th story window, our MC Owen Z. Pitt, is recruited by MHI. We learn what it takes to become a monster hunter, the training and the absurd number of guns available to one. Over the course of his training, we learn of a great and ancient evil ready to take over earth for another dimension(sure, this is hardly a new concept but how many ancient evils are ten thousand foot crustaceans?) Owen learn he has an inside track into the mind of the "cursed one", an evil being who is the catalyst for the ancient evil. In between, scores of zombies and vampires and a few other monsters are sliced, diced, impaled, beheaded, vaporized, burned, bullet-riddled, crushed, exploded, flayed and at least one was run over by a car.
Explosions and monster gore. This is largely the plot and the draw of the book. If you have ever wanted to explore the many ways to effectively kill the undead, you really should read this book. There is non-stop action. The opening chapter feature a rather exciting man vs. werewolf battle. After page 1, the stakes are continually raised, the monsters get bigger and the guns and explosion even bigger.
I found it enjoyable to read an urban fantasy that was not dependent on magic. There is little discussion about the origin of monsters other than to say some are caused by virus contracted by bites. I would categorize this more of a monster western. Our cowboys are MHI in the grand American tradition of "Guns are our birthright, so lets shoot some d@mn monsters!" (There may be no such American tradition, but hey, I'm Canadian and we love to make stuff up about you Americans :)
The book is filled with vibrant and interesting characters. We learn at least a portion of most of the backstories and the characters are more than one-dimensional.
Overall, the book grabs you by the gonads, tosses you into the action and doesn't let you go until the last page. ( That does sound rather uncomfortable, but trust me, its more enjoyable than it sounds)
There were a few things that bothered me. I do not know why the author could not use the occasional contraction for I did not enjoy the pervasive use of formal English. Seriously Larry, use a contraction. Here are few to choose from, "don't", "didn't", "can't", "won't". These were gun toting, monster hating rough and tumble good guys. The occasional contraction give a feeling of realism in the conversation and the writing. This may not have bothered me as much if I hadn't (see what I did there) been listening to the audio book. I heard "cannot", "did not" and "do not" so often that it began to grate on me.
In all first books, there is a large world to build and backstories to be told. The author occasionally fell into the trap of telling and not showing. There were a few instances where the info dumping was simply told to the reader and took away from the story.
Regardless, I enjoyed listening to the book so much, I had to give it five stars regardless of these minor issues.
A+ narration. There was a wide variety of voice and wide variety of yells and screams. The narrator did a commendable job doing both men and woman voices. There was nothing to complain about as this is one of the best audiobooks to which I have listened. Content Advisories
It is difficult to find commentary on the sex/violence/language content of book if you are interested. I make an effort to give you the information so you can make an informed decision before reading. *Disclaimer* I do not take note or count the occurrences of adult language as I read. I am simply giving approximations.
Scale 1 - Lowest 5 - Highest
Sex - 2
The sexual content was minor in nature. There was a love story that played a minor role in the book. This resulted in a few kisses and longing looks. There was one scene that was a precursor to sex scene but the act was "interrupted". Lets just say, there were guns involved. There was no sexual content that would make your grandmother cover your ears or eyes.
Language - 4
I have to say that it might be possible this rating should be higher. There was a significant amount of adult language in the book. It ran the gambit from the mundane to the highly creative. The majority of the adult language occurred during intense battle scene and during monster attacks. Admittedly, when I am engaged in the action, I am less prone to notice the adult language. Regardless, there is significant use throughout the book.
Violence - 5
Uhh.... Yes....there is bit of violence.... It might be easier to say what scenes did not include violence. The book is all about killing monsters and kill them in a variety of creative ways. There is monster blood and gore flying left and right and occasionally human gore. At times the descriptions are graphic but rarely fall into what I would consider to be "horror" or gore with the intent to disturb. This gets a 5 because of the pervasive violence. If you do not like guns and violence, steer clear of this book. This rivals a Matthew Reilly on body account in AA type novels.