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REVIEW: 'Monster Hunter: Vendetta' by Larry Correia


   Accountant turned professional monster hunter Owen Zastava Pitt managed to stop the nefarious Old Ones' invasion plans last year, but as a result made an enemy out of one of the most powerful beings in the universe. Now an evil death cult known as the Church of the Temporary Mortal Condition wants to capture Owen in order to gain the favor of the great Old Ones. 



   The Condition is led by a fanatical necromancer known as the Shadow Man. The government wants to capture the Shadow Man and has assigned the enigmatic Agent Franks to be Owen's full-time bodyguard, which is a polite way of saying that Owen is monster bait.

    With supernatural assassins targeting his family, a spy in their midst, and horrific beasties lurking around every corner, Owen and the staff of Monster Hunter International don't need to go hunting, because this time the monsters are hunting them. Fortunately, this bait is armed and very dangerous.


Review

   Monster Hunter Vendetta is the follow-up to Monster Hunter International.  Although you can get by reading this one as a stand alone, I would recommend reading International first.  Both have their own stand alone plots, but seeds are planted for Vendetta in the first novel and character stories continue from one to the next even if the main story plots are wrapped up.

   Monster Hunter international is the name (not only of the first novel, but) of the company Owen works for.  In Owen's world, monsters are very real and the government works hard to keep a lid on that fact.  MHI is essentially a mercenary group that gets contracts and bounties to hunt down various creepy crawlies throughout the world.  Larry Correia's books, as many urban fantasies, take all the traditional fantasy, horror and fairy tale creatures and put a new spin on them as they intertwine them into their story.  I find this works well in Urban Fantasy and really enjoy what he does with his versions of these creatures.  How someone could not love white trash elves from the enchanted forest trailer park, ghetto garden gnomes and internet trolls that are actually trolls, I just don't know.

   Vendetta continues the story of our main character Owen "Z" Pitt a year after defeating Lord Machada and stopping his plot to bring the "Old Ones" to Earth.  The "Old Ones" still attempting to come to our reality is the plot element that continues into this story as a new villain works to hunt down Owen to appease his masters.  It is also one element that is not a traditional fantasy creature.  Think more of the squid thing from Alan Moore's Watchmen graphic novel, but nastier.  The new villain himself is a necromancer that makes pretty smart use of zombies: from being clever enough to put helmets on them, to creating bear and elephant zombies to his own more interesting zombie creations of patchwork monsters.

   One issue a reader might have would be the power level of the characters in this story.  Some readers enjoy more down to earth characters and obstacles, even in fantasy.  In the Monster Hunter series though, you are dealing with characters that can do some very amazing things with magic and other powers.  Sometimes even twisting time, visiting other dimensions, cheating death, etc.  Personally I don't mind this, I think it's just tricky for a writer to walk that line and still sell the story.  In my opinion I think Larry Correia does a good job of walking that line and creating a great story.

   Strong characters are the biggest asset to this book.  The main character Owen (whose perspective the story is told from) is a great voice to live the story through.  And the drama surrounding him with his family, fiance, bosses, teammates and various level of antagonists (main bad guys, pain-in-the-asses, government types, etc) works to keep the story moving as much as the action does.

Bottom Line:

   If you like other Urban Fantasy like Butcher's Dresden Files and wouldn't mind that with a shot of "The Expendables" then I would definitely check out Larry Correia's Monster Hunter series.  They are fast paced with good characters in an interesting world.  It's available now as a paperback release (as is the first novel) published by Baen.

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