This is the first book in the Monster Hunter International series by Larry Carreia. The second book is Monster Hunter Vendetta and third is titled Monster Hunter Alpha and is scheduled for an August 2011 release. Last I heard there are five books planned for this series. This was an excellent read; a bit more horror than urban fantasy and lots of guns.
Owen is an accountant when his boss turns into a werewolf and attacks him. Well Owen beats the werewolf a bit and pushes it out a window to its death...bare-handed. Owen is pretty beat up and when he wakes up in the hospital he is in for more than he ever imagined. Owen is recruited by Monster Hunters International (MHI). They were impressed with his tenacity in beating down that werewolf and want him to join their ranks. The pay is awesome, the guns kick-ass, and the job...well it's just a bit dangerous is all. When Owen agrees to sign up with MHI he is in for more crazy monster action than he ever imagined.
This was a super fun book. There is a lot of humor in it and it had me laughing out loud a number of times. There are a lot of guns and weaponry. There are also some amazingly intricate characters; there is not a boring character in this whole book. The plot is crazy fast and keeps you guessing.
This book is probably more of a horror than an urban fantasy; although it could belong to either genre. Vampires, ghouls, werewolves, etc. are not humanized in this book...they are monsters right out of an old horror story. The characters are amazing. All of them have some brutality in their pasts and it makes for interesting issues. Owen is a huge, dangerous man; yet somehow he is very human and easy to relate too. He comes off as kind of sweet at some points, and very intelligent. The same can be said for the rest of the characters; they are complex, intriguing, and wonderful to read about.
The plot moves at a fast clip and there are a ton of action scenes. The action scenes are very well done and make it easy to picture what is happening. The plot is almost epic in scope. It starts with Owen's training (which I love since I believe heroes need to learn how to fight the bad guys from somehwere), goes on to individual hunts, and then ties in to a huge plot that is bigger than this world alone. I loved how the plot tied everything together and was happy with how the book wrapped up.
There are a couple things to note about this book that set it apart from other urban fantasies/horror. This book is told from Owen's perspective so at times it gets kind of macho. There is posturing between the men and stupid things done to impress the ladies. This didn't bother me, but it definitely gives the book a male flavor (as opposed to many urban fantasies out there that are targeted at women). That being said it does have very strong female leads as well and Owen does have a love interest throughout. The other thing is the detail put into the description of the weaponry. Correia definitely knows his guns and this is apparent throughout the book. I like reading about guns, so for the most part, this didn't bother me. If you don't like weaponry and don't like reading about that this may not be the book for you...because a lot of words are spent describing weaponry.
Overall I absolutely loved this story. I loved the characters, loved the plot, loved the action, and loved the guns. I will definitely be reading future books in this series. If you are a fan of monster hunters, high action urban fantasy, and guns you will love this book. Keep in mind in this book the monster are clearly monsters (no sympathetic vampires here). I will be picking up Monster Hunter Vendetta as soon as I have to chance to do so.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges: