Sunday, October 10, 2010

Monster Hunter Vendetta

Larry Correia (make that New York Times Bestselling Author, Larry F. Correia) may be the best writer of action sequences I've ever encountered; but that's only where he starts. Not everyone can do it and of the authors who can, not all of them can make the action advance the plot on multiple levels. You won't find a lot of fight scenes in Asimov or Clarke; Heinlein did them well but they didn't dominate. F. Paul Wilson -- possibly the closest genre match to Correia -- does 'em but it's usually Repairman Jack solo. And some (by no means all) of the .mil SF writers can come close. Still, about the only other writer I've found who would happily take a cast of characters, throw them into a huge fight and manage to push the narrative forward in leaps and bounds would be pulp writer Lester Dent. And Dent rarely bothered with a second pass through the typewriter.

Me, I am generally not so fond of the melee-in-fiction. At least I thought I wasn't; turns out what bugged me is they're often tossed in 'cos Captain Hero needs to trounce somebody and the kids love blood, period. Barrels of gore later, the dead are buried (or pushed over the edge of the world, or sold for scrap or whatever) and the story picks up, almost with a "before I was so rudely interrupted..." feel.

Well, forget that. Correia grabs the reader fast, hangs your disbelief up out of the way and writes in such a way that you never miss it. By page two of Monster Hunter Vendetta, the team is hunting chupacabra about like my Dad hunted ducks. By the time you're nine pages in, Owen Z. Pitt and his peers are fighting for their lives and it's all meat: every line of it furthers the story. These are characters with depth, people you know, like and want to see prevail. (I'm reminded, a little, of Terry Pratchett's gift for making unusual persons and personalities engage the reader).

My only complaint is that 612 pages spent alongside MHI (and allies) is over too soon. It's like a roller-coaster: once that train leaves the station, it just doesn't stop. And it is one helluva trip!

Buy this book. Read it with your favorite shotgun by your side, just in case. --And learn the terrifying truth about trolls. (Use Tam's Amazon link and help two struggling artists at the same time!)

Please write more soon, Larry.


Justthisguy said...

I always thought Doc Smith to be pretty good at that kind of thing.

RobertM said...

I work in the neighborhoods/cities where the trolls and gnomes live. I love that these books have been set in Alabama!

Tango Juliet said...

My copy's on order.

Alan J. said...

I agree with you, Roberta, that this is a terrific book with awesome action sequences. This one reminded me of another favorite author, Jim Butcher, in that he's always finding great scenes to make the hero's life so much harder and that much more exciting. I think that Larry has really found his narrative voice here, and if all of the rest are as good then I hope that MHI will be a twenty book series and TV show rather than just a trilogy. The only thing that would worry me about this being a TV show is that unless Larry really had a hand in it, then Hollywood would undoubtly F*** it up as they've done to so many other great books. One thing that I love about Larry's books is that it takes a real gunnie to write about using guns in action scenes and making it believable. No Hollywood never-needs-reloading, never-has-recoil guns in Larry's books; thank you, very much!

Montie said...


Oh yeah, it was waiting in the mailbox two days after Amazon released it. I had to wait until my off days to read it, because I knew from the first book, that I would want to read all 612 pages in as close to one sitting as I could manage, even if it meant staying up to the wee hours. (something I have chastised Larry about over at his own site).

You are absolutely right about his ability to draw you into huge fight scenes that move the narrative along. I have never been much interested in the particular genre that MHI falls into but I LOVE these books.

The wait for "Vendetta" seemed excruciatingly long after the first book. Now that I've read the second, I'm with you, WRITE MORE LARRY.

Bubblehead Les. said...

I'm kinda like Montie, but I'm waiting for my Winter Break from school, when it's nice and snowy and my hot chocolate is steaming by my side, with some light jazz playing softly in the background. Plus I have to read some gorawful "Scholarly Tomes" to make some Profs happy before then.

Montie said...


I had to come back to comment on your mention of Lester Dent. I agree with you. I first became acquanted with Dent through a family friend introducing me to "Doc Savage" and I have EVERY one of the Bantam Books reprints of the series. I spent many hours in Jr. High study hall with one of those paperbacks nestled behid a textbook.