Monday, August 17, 2009

I did love the book.

I should let my fellow bloggers dictate what I read a lot more often, I guess.

There was a time when I picked my books solely based on how large they were. MHI is 700+ pages. Took me five days to read it.

Think about that. It means I put my computer down and stopped checking my e-mail pathetically in order to read this book. For a little while, I liked Larry Correia more than I do Fred. OK, not really. But since Mr. Correia found that last post Googling his book, I figure I better suck up.

Seriously, it's a really, really, really good book. And I say this as a bookworm. As someone who was/is always "the chick with the book." As someone whose preferred genre for the past decade or so has been urban fantasy.

Before buying this, I had just finished reading a book called Stray, which was so mediocre I'm not even going to bother looking up the author's name. Hey, it was half price, and I really like the author who did the cover blurb, I was desperate at the time and it didn't sound totally bad. Last Wednesday, though, I needed a book to read while I waited for The Hurt Locker to start (see my post about being manly), and in Borders I remembered that everyone was talking about Monster Hunters International and since I was already going to go see a movie based on a blog's recommendation, why not pick up a book based on the same thing.

I am so glad I did.

Know what one of my greatest pet peeves is in books? Plot points based on the stupidity of the main characters. In Stray, the main character got kidnapped by the bad guys because she went wandering around in the dead of the night alone, even knowing that she was in danger.

Know what the best part of this book was? There was none of that shit. The main character had a prophetic dream, saw portions of it coming true, and told his fucking boss about his dream. He continued to do this throughout the book. So there were setbacks, but no setbacks due to stupidity. I mean, come on. You know you've watched a movie and said to yourself "You know, if they'd just opened their mouths and told someone, none of this shit would have happened." Owen Pitt opens his mouth and tells someone. Shit still happens, but the people in the book are better prepared because of what he's said, and the whole thing is like a zillion times more real because of it.

Now, it's a stretch to call anything 700 pages long tightly written, but there was very little padding here. Yeah, the battle scenes were more detailed than I really care about and honestly my eyes glazed over a little with all the gun talk, but that's not a problem with the book, it's just a matter of taste. The book was fairly obviously written by a man for men, so I expect things like that. If I had more knowledge of guns, I doubt I'd have even noticed all the gun talk. I think it's significant, though, that at no point did it seem like more shit was being shoveled on just to make the book longer. Never once did I wonder if he was getting paid by the word. (If you've ever read Robert Jordan, you know exactly what I mean.)

Also, another really good point: The characterizations were nice. Mr Correia took a lot of characters that could have been utter stereotypes and put just enough of a spin on them. I mean, yeah, I'd like to take exception to the ex-SEAL Sam, but dammit I'm from Texas and I was married to a sailor for seven years. I can't argue that shit. His take on the monsters was similarly just enough of a change to make it interesting, and the MHI guys in general struck me as pretty real. (Oh, and a government bounty on monsters? Genius. And funny.)

The only quibbles I have:

The whole withering/writhing thing. Some stuff, spell check will not help. When something is withering, it's turning brown, shrinking, and dying back. When it's writhing, it's moving sinuously. It was obvious what he meant, but in something so well-written (and here I speak of mechanics--there were no stupid misspellings, and only a comma splice or two) it really stuck in my craw.

The romance thing was just a wee bit too pat. Julie's switch didn't make much sense, given the circumstances, and even her explanation of it later on didn't really work. But hats off for the fade-to-black thing, dude, because almost no one does that anymore.

Overall, great book. I'm glad I grabbed it, and I'm probably going to start hunting his website to see when the next one will be on the shelves.

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