Sunday, July 31, 2011

Monster Hunter Vendetta

If you have not read Monster Hunter International. Stop. Go read it. You can buy it here. MHI is an origins story and a lot of characters get introduced with a lot of mystery about their backstory. This is good.

One of the characters in that story is Agent Franks. One thing Larry Correia does well is maintain tension between different characters on the same side. And Agent Franks is someone everyone on the side of goodness loves to hate. It is easy because he represents the soulless, amoral US Federal Government agency the Monster Control Bureau. The avatar of this agency is Agent Franks.

Monster Hunter Vendetta is set up at the end of MHI when the Feds nuke one of the elder gods (you know those unpleasant beasties from H. P. Lovecraft). And that makes him mad. And he blames the protagonist of MHI, Owen Pitt, and he puts out a contract on him.

In the course of MHV we learn a lot of back story. Why Agent Myers hates the hero's boss. Why the hero's father-in-law unleashed hell. All this courtesy of "the shadow man," a necromancer who is the elder god's hitman. There's a lot of betrayal in MHV and manipulation.

But the thing I found most entertaining was learning about Agent Franks and HOW we learn about Agent Franks. Imagine an atom smasher. What's its purpose? To disclose the essential nature of atoms. How does it achieve this purpose? By throwing things at atoms with more and more energy. Then study what flies off the high-energy impacts. Such it is with Agent Franks.

After the Feds realize they've got a problem with a necromancer who's taken the contract on our hero, they assign the job of bodyguard to Agent Franks. Every time something really bad goes after the hero, Agent Franks steps up and gets trashed by it. Since we don't like Agent Franks, we don't mind much. Though, as we grow to understand him better and after he saves the hero's life a few times, we're willing to cut him some slack.

Betrayal is a big theme in this novel. Who's spying on whom? Some guys we hate come off more sympathetically. And some guys we sympathized with turn out to be less honorable than we'd wish. Sort of like life.

Larry Correia puts a lot of humor into his stories. I loved his one-liner about the Stig. If you liked the trailer-park trash in MHI, you'll love the ghetto bangers in MHV.

All in all I recommend this novel to everyone who loved MHI.

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