Monster Hunter Alpha

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Back to reviewing books, and before I get to anything non-fiction, here’s a brief review of Monster Hunter Alpha. Warning, possible spoilers, etc etc.

For this book, the focus is on Earl Harbinger, and for the most part, it isn’t first person. Earl isn’t on MHI business — he’s going after an old nemesis, and it’s personal. This means he’s on the road alone, without the supporting cast built up over the first two novels. This is obviously a big change after the first two books, but… it really works out.

The Good

I enjoyed getting more into Earl’s background, and I enjoyed him flying solo. It’s impressive the departure from the previous two carried itself so well. The action was pretty constant. There was less of the constant big gun talk (I like guns a lot, but the first two books were really, really descriptive — Correia knows his stuff), but it was still there — and I enjoyed Earl’s take on guns.

The characters were well fleshed out, even a few relatively minor one-offs that I doubt we’ll see again (and some, I know we won’t).

The Bad

The constant action sometimes makes me want to take a breather. If you connect with a character it gets intense — Correia is like GRRM in his enjoyment of putting characters in tough spots, but without the icky BDSM vibe. If I have to throw another one out there — the constant throwing under the bus of the government. This is something I get and agree with Correia about (and I have no doubt the government would suck at monster hunting), but it does get a whole lot of play.

The Ugly

Agent Stark. Without OZP around to be physically ugly, someone had to be ugly, and this asshole lost the character lottery. This guy is easily the most repulsive character Correia has thrown our way, and this is a universe where there was a psychotic worm demon thing.

Honestly, I’ve already started the next book in the series: I enjoy them that much. I started Alpha yesterday (I am a fast reader). Like I’ve said in the other two reviews this stuff makes me happy to read again. Correia’s heroes are heroes, his villains are villains. He doesn’t try to use any cheap tricks to get sympathy for anyone — but they’re all well developed. There’s never a feeling that the narrative is dishonest. Like I said the first time around: Pick it up if you have a pulse.

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