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Review: Monster Hunter Files
Larry Correia's Monster Hunter International has been going strong for over a decade now. He's built up a solid world, and had made enough money to buy himself a mountain stronghold... which he has done.
So the next step was to do what every other successful author does with a world: invite other people to join the party.
This is the first review of an anthology on this website. While the book is still good, We're are compelled to largely throw out the format. But we'll make it work.
“Thistle” by Larry Correia Owen and his team take on a new kind of monster in Arizona -- This first story in this particular volume is by Larry himself, starting with our usual main character, Owen Z Pitt. It starts as your usual, straightforward monster killing story. Then Larry does a twist at the end of this one that makes Rod Serling proud. I didn't see it coming, but I should have. The action is solid, and it's Larry playing in his own universe.
“Small Problems” by Jim Butcher MHI’s new janitor has to deal with some small problems -- This short story is brought to you by Jim Butcher. Do I have to say this one was awesome? However, I will say that this feels like he hadn't recovered from all of his Roman legion research from Codex Alera ... while watching The Secret of NIMH.
“Darkness Under The Mountain” by Mike Kupari Cooper takes a freelance job in Afghanistan-- The Chinese have dug too greedily and too deep... and that's a line in the story. And this time, there really are a lot of older, fouler things in the earth. It's almost a Monster Hunter procedural novel, with a soupcon of MCB BS.
“A Knight Of The Enchanted Forest” by Jessica Day George (Trailer park elves versus gnomes TURF WAR!)-- A straight up comedy from the first page, with the redneck elves versus a collection of hippies. It's straight up funny
“The Manticore Sanction” by John C. Wright (Cold War era British espionage with monsters) -- This one was dark. Very British. Also very Universal monster movie... the black and white version, not the new crap with Tom Cruise. This one was ... surprisingly powerful. The conclusion had a twist that hit so hard I'm sure it left a mark.
“The Dead Yard” by Maurice Broaddus Trip goes to Jamaica on some family business-- It was okay. It needed more meat to it. It was awkwardly paced, and finished very suddenly. I think it needed more room to work.
“The Bride” by Brad R. Torgersen Franks wasn’t the only thing Benjamin Franklin cut deals with-- This one was awesome. In MHI lore, we know that Benjamin Franklin made a deal with Frankenstein's monster, but here is something else again. And yes, Ben Franklin is a point of view character, and Brad writes him perfectly. I can hear the actor from 1776 when I read the story. Also, Franklin's bit of a badass. Who knew? Though this one pissed me off ... it was over too soon. I wanted it to run another ten pages. Dear Larry: Can Brad write a novel on the Revolutionary War history of monster hunting? Please?
“She Bitch, Killer of Kits” (a Skinwalker Crossover Tale) by Faith Hunter Jane Yellowrock teams up with MHI -- This was okay. I have seen Faith Hunter on panels at DragonCon, but having read her work here, I honestly think the author is more interesting than the story she wrote. Which is odd, because the inverse is usually the case. If you're a fan of her work, this one may be for you
“Mr. Natural” by Jody Lynn Nye An STFU mission in the 70s has to deal with plant monsters and hippies! -- The government's Special Task Force Unicorn has assembled a dirty dozen of mythological creatures to take down the Not So Jolly Green Giant. It was hilarious and fun as heck. Though the bunny ex machina ending threw me.
“Sons Of The Father” by Quincy J. Allen Two young brothers discover monsters are real, and kill a mess of them -- Quincy is apparently a newb author, but I couldn't tell from the story. It was very Supernatural, if they focused more on being badass than soap opera. Had Quincy Allen wrote Supernatural, it wouldn't have become boring.
“The Troll Factory” by Alex Shvartsman Heather gets some help from MHI for an STFU mission into Russia -- Yeah, this was fun. A post-MHI: Siege story. It has a nice setup of a newbie hunter, and it has an awesome, awesome punchline.
“Keep Kaiju Weird” by Kim May A Kitsune may have already earned her PUFF exemption, but she’s not going to let some monster squish Portland -- I really enjoyed this one. I was having flashbacks to the better episodes of Grimm, though. This one stars Franks, his government sidekick Grant, and taking on Godzilla.
“The Gift” by Steve Diamond Two of the Vatican’s Hunters from the Blessed Order of Saint Hubert the Protector on a mission in Mexico -- I wanted to like this one more. It felt like someone condensed a novel with a lot of background information left out. Perhaps this would work better as the first five chapters of a full novel.
“The Case of the Ghastly Specter” by John Ringo While studying at Oxford, Chad takes a case -- Was Ringo watching old Sherlock Holmes movies? There were moments when Chad sounds like Basil Rathbone. I might like this one better in the full novel of Sinners, as downtime in an action packed novel. But here, in this anthology, it just feels like "the slow bit." The difference is jarring. It's still good.
“Huffman Strikes Back” by Bryan Thomas Schmidt & Julie Frost Owen’s vacation gets interrupted for some monster revenge-- This was part comedy, part action scene. Either way, it was awesome. Owen's first kill was his fat slob of a boss that Owen threw out the window of the 14th floor of his office building. The fat slob was a werewolf. The fat slob also had a brother.
“Hitler’s Dog” by Jonathan Maberry It is WW2 and Agent Franks really hates Nazis-- Prisoners in a concentration camp make a golem to fight the Nazis. However, there's only one available animating spirit that can make this clay man walk. And everyone's favorite monster, Franks, is cranky on a good day. When he's hijacked to animate their golem, he's as friendly as ever. But at least has has Nazis to take it out on. Good story, but I think it needed a little more fleshing out.
Each story does a nice job fleshing out Larry Correia's world just a little bit more. Some more than others.
Monsters need to be squashed, and to do that, you need guns, lots of guns.
Sexual situations. Horror elements. There should probably be a language warning tagged on here, if only for the dick pic mentioned in one short.
Who is it for?
This is for anyone who likes the part of Supernatural where they hunt monsters, or for anyone who likes a good fantasy action world
Why read it?
It's a fun collection of playing in Larry Correia's world. You should try it if only for the best of the bunch, which stand all on their own.