I’m a prolific reader of a variety of books. My current favorite author right now is Larry Correia and I’ve been a longtime reader of John Ringo… so when I’d first heard about Monster Hunter books written by Ringo and edited by Larry Correia, I was pretty excited. It was a long wait for me, just under a year from when I first heard about the books.
I wasn’t really sure quite what to expect: the quirky humor of John Ringo, the snarky humor from Larry Correia, the impressive gun fights from Larry or the bombastic, over-the-top action that you find in a John Ringo book. Both of them tell excellent stories, so that certainly wasn’t something I was worried about.
In the end, I’m still not really certain what I came away with. There is humor and action and a story… but it all had a sort of manic energy to the writing that made it feel uneven. Yes, there are hilarious sections and good action, but overall I’m not sure it fully pulled together. It felt more like a series of “hey, cool, you’ll like this” scenes that only loosely followed a narrative. The hints at future events both within this series and in the mainline series were entertaining but also jarring.
To be clear, it’s written as a journal, set before the events of the other MHI books. It removes a bit of the tension, in that you know the main character will survive (until he finishes writing those journals at least). The quips and references to future events are part of the “Unreliable Narrator” theme and they work… mostly. The story jumps forward, from section to section and in parts the writing is brilliant and in others…
Well, I don’t want to spoil things, but there was a section that was clearly meant to be very moving and it didn’t have the profound impact it was meant to have. The main character is so centrally focused that the other characters in the book aren’t fully fleshed out. This is what threw me, I think, in that normally both authors put a lot of work into their characters and in this book, the side cast were utterly forgettable. The main character is so over-the-top, so central to the story, that the others just fade out.
It isn’t a bad book by any margin. There’s action, excitement, and Ringo and Correia fill in a ton of backstory that I loved to see. It just didn’t hit the level of awesome that both authors can hit on their own. By all means, I recommend picking up a copy. I enjoyed it and I’ll read the other books in the series.