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You know what the difference between me and you really is? You look out there and see a horde of evil, brain eating zombies. I look out there and see a target rich environment.—Dillis D. Freeman Jr., as quoted in foreword
It turns out that monsters are real. All the things from myth, legend, and B-movies are out there, waiting in the shadows. Officially secret, some of them are evil, and some are just hungry. On the other side are the people who kill monsters for a living. Monster Hunter International is the premier eradication company in the business.
And now Owen is their newest recruit. It’s actually a pretty sweet gig, except for one little problem. An ancient entity known as the Cursed One has returned to settle a centuries old vendetta. Should the Cursed One succeed, it means the end of the world, and MHI is the only thing standing in his way. With the clock ticking towards Armageddon, Owen finds himself trapped between legions of undead minions, belligerent federal agents, a cryptic ghost who has taken up residence inside his head, and the cursed family of the woman he loves.
Business is good…
Welcome to Monster Hunter International.
MHI is a contemporary fantasy/horror/GunPorn novel written by Larry Correia about a group of professional monster hunters. Correia's stated goal was to combine B-Movie monster tropes, but have the characters not be complete idiots. Consequently, in order to still present a threat, the monsters are much more powerful than in most B-movies, and the Hunters respond in kind. Grenade launchers? Check. Fully-automatic shotgun? Check. Claymore mines? Check.
MHI was originally self-published in 2008, but high sales through word-of-mouth advertising, especially on gun-related forums, attracted the attention of Baen Books, which picked up the series.
The sequel, Monster Hunter Vendetta, focuses on the aftermath of the climax of the first book. Owen is now at the top of the Old Ones' Most Wanted list, and they have promised great power to whoever can bring him to them. Now the Sanctified Church of the Temporary Mortal Condition, a necromantic cult with a mysterious leader, is hell-bent on catching him. The Monster Control Bureau has been tracking them for years, and thinks that using Owen as bait is just the break they need. But the Hunters have other ideas...
The third book in the series, Monster Hunter Alpha, picks up some time after Vendetta, with a change of pratagonist. Earl Harbinger heads to a remote town in Michigan, to settle some old scores with one of his oldest foes, a vicious werewolf who served the KGB, and take him down for good. But there's another force waiting in the darkness, working to bring about a new breed of werewolves, and the only thing in their way are a handful of locals and a Determinator Earl Harbinger who won't die.
MHV cracked the New York Times Best Sellers list at #27 for mass-market paperbacks. Correia has some other series in the works: The Grimnoir Chronicles, an Urban Fantasy set in an Alternate History 1930s; Dead Six, a military thriller; and an untitled project co-written with John Ringo. Sample chapters of his work can be found here.
If you're looking for a completely different Monster Hunter, which is a video game, check here!
This work uses the following tropes:
- Ace Pilot: Skippy
- Action Girl: Julie and Holly.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: Jerome Jermaine Jones, aka Trip to friends.
- All of Them: Milo's answer when asked how many gun laws Abomination breaks.
- Always Save the Girl: Played with. At the big climactic showdown, Koriniha cuts Julie's throat to encourage Owen to use the artifact's power. Owen realizes this would fubar the whole world by letting in the Old Ones, so he doesn't. As he's carrying Julie past what's left of Captain Thrall, Thrall uses the last of his appropriated artifact juice to heal her.
- Artifact of Doom
- Angels, Devils, and Squid
- Author Appeal. From the "About the Author" page: "Larry Correia is hopelessly addicted to two things: guns and B-horror movies."
- BFG: Abomination is a fully automatic shotgun with attached grenade launcher, which gets a more detailed description than most of the human (or otherwise) characters.
- Badass Normal: The bulk of the Hunters are normal humans who undergo Training From Hell.
- Badass Abnormal: Earl Harbinger, who is the only werewolf in the world not covered by monster bounties.
- Badass Bookworm: Albert Lee, former librarian, and former demolitions expert for the United States Marine Corps.
- Badass Grandpa: Raymond Shakelford III, Julie's grandfather. Being Ray III's dad, Earl's one too, though he doesn't look it.
- Banging for Help: A French Hunter team trapped on the Antoine-Henri communicates this way with the MHI teams. Well, they were a French Hunter team before the vampires got 'em.
- Black Dude Dies First: Intentionally subverted, as the black guy, the Asian, and the stripper all survive to the end.
- Cool Guns: Abounds with plenty of them, many with Gun Accessories. Subverted by Earl, who uses a basic M1928 Thompson submachinegun.
- Chosen One: Lord Machado, the villain, and Owen, the hero, are both described in an ancient prophecy as being able to control an artifact that can grant power over time itself.
- Church Militant: A reference is made to the Vatican's own team of Hunters.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Holy symbols have power over undead monsters by virtue of the belief placed in them. However, the biggest act of faith-based ass kicking comes from Milo, who shares the author's Mormon beliefs.
- Crazy Prepared: Most Hunters become this in the course of their work. The combat suit Hunters use is designed to be prepared for as many situations as possible.
- Dark Is Not Evil: The orcs wear mostly black, have warty green-grey skin, yellow eyes and tusks but are definitely good guys
- Dragon with an Agenda: Koriniha, priestess to the Old Ones.
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Pretty much every monster myth known is true. Most can be killed with sufficient application of dakka, explosives, fire, or combinations of the above.
- Friendly Sniper: Being team sharpshooter, and an all-around nice girl, Julie is this.
- Gorn: Few people/things just die in Monster Hunter International, mortal or otherwise.
- Government Agency of Fiction: The Monster Control Bureau.
- Implacable Man: Captain Thrall is very durable.
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Subversion with Trip. He is twenty-seven. Holly likes to playfully needle him about this.
- Mayincatec: The unnamed South American civilization which Lord Machado conquered five hundred years ago fits the mold. Mordecai says it is for the best they have been forgotten; considering their patrons are Eldritch Abominations, there is something to that.
- Meganekko: Julie.
- More Dakka: Much, much more Dakka.
- Named Weapons: Abomination, as noted above. Being a Saiga-12 shotgun, it's probably a Shout-Out to Firefly.
- Noodle Incident One team is unavailable when Earl calls all Hunter Teams to Alabama to deal with the threat, due to hunting a luska in the Bahamas. Owen is told he's better off not knowing what it is; the very name of the thing makes Sam Haven shudder.
- Nuke'Em: The MCB's backup plan for taking care of Lord Machado. It misses him and instead annoys an Old One.
- Older Than They Look: Harbinger is actually over one hundred but looks middle aged.
- Our Elves Are Better: Subverted. The elves live in the Enchanted Forest, a trailer park in rural Mississippi, and Queen Ilrondelia fits every White Trash stereotype in the book to a sickening degree.
- Our Orcs Are Different: They work for MHI as healers and as the pilot for their Mi-24 Hind; each has a special skill that makes them the best at what they do (Gretchen = Ultimate Healer; Skippy = Ultimate Hind Pilot). In Vendetta, Owen's brother speculates that this is the true origin of TheStig.
- Proud Warrior Race: The Orcs
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: MHI is not allowed to recruit openly, so most of their new hunters are the survivors of monster attacks. They come from all sorts of backgrounds; the Amazing Newbie Squad, for example, has a stripper, a teacher, a librarian, and an accountant.
- Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: Sort of subverted. Most of the important characters end up being killed in a battle with demons in chapter 22, but Owen finds a way to rewind time by five minutes and bring them all back. They all remember dying, and are grateful for the second chance at life.
- Silver Bullet: Julie explains them to Owen in their first meeting. Silver is too light and hard to engage barrel rifling properly, resulting is a fast, light bullet with low damage and poor accuracy. Instead MHI uses a modified Corbon Pow'r Ball design: a hollowpoint round with a silver ball inside the cavity. As it's also expensive, it's only available in .45 ACP and .308 Winchester Magnum. The MCB uses a different design that relies on powdered silver in a polymer matrix, available in 9mm Parabellum, 5,56mm NATO and 7.62mm NATO.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: Zig-zagged; Owen's personal shotgun is better, but most Hunters prefer rifles or carbines, with an occasional submachinegun.
- Shout-Out: From Earl Harbinger: "You can know that of a surety, and I swear upon all that I hold holy, I will track you down to the ends of the world, reach down your throat, and pull your spine out your mouth."
- Those Two Bad Guys: Agents Myers & Franks. Myers is the polite, educated one, and Franks is the quiet, brutal one who's quite capable of curb-stomping the hero, Owen Pitt.
- Training From Hell: In addition to the standard MHI training, the borderline-abusive training Owen got as a child was the only reason he survived his initial werewolf encounter.
- In Monster Hunter Alpha, it's revealed that Harbinger spent his days throwing himself off cliffs to control his werewolf side.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Not married, but Julie is described as much more attractive than Owen. Correia claims this is autobiographical, but hasn't provided any sexy pictures of his wife to confirm.
- By Vendetta, Owen and Julie are married.
- Also, Milo and his wife, who is much prettier than he is.
- Was Once a Man: Lord Machado used to be a Portuguese conquistador. By the time the book starts, he's a walking mass of evil and hate.
Monster Hunter Vendetta adds the following tropes:
- Achievements in Ignorance: Crossing over with Children Are Innocent, a young Julie Shackleford befriends a shoggoth.
- All Trolls Are Different: The trolls here seem to conform to the classic Dungeons and Dragons template, with the addition of being internet-savvy, and having several million dollars that they need your help to get out of Nigeria.
- Badass Abnormal: Agent Franks is shown to actually be Frankenstein's Monster.
- Defeat Means Friendship: Owen earns the respect of the gnomes after fending off a swarm of them.
- Dead Guy, Junior: Milo's newborn daughter, named after Sam Haven.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: One of the Old Ones is killed when the protagonists use a doomsday weapon against it.
- Ditch the Bodyguards: Owen is instructed by the Monster Control Bureau to stay at MHI's compound as bait for the Church of the Temporary Mortal Condition. However he's a pro-active kind of guy, and prefers to take the fight to them.
- Chekhov's Gunman: The aforementioned shoggoth, who pulls a Heel Face Turn when ordered to kill the only person who has ever loved it.
- Continuity Nod: Milo built Leviathan as a dedicated anti-luska weapon, a callback to book 1.
- Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Owen earned the ire of the Old Ones because they blame him for the thermonuclear warhead that was launched through the inter-dimensional portal (and slightly injured one of them) at the end of the first book.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Old Ones.
- Everything's Worse with Bears: Armored zombie bears, to be precise. Grant briefly freaks out and complains that it's "unfair" to armor zombies.
- Groupie Brigade: When Owen Pitt's brother Mosh, a Heavy Metal guitarist of some renown, is brought to MHI headquarters, he's followed by a gaggle of adoring Orcs, who refer to him as "Great War Chief."
- Frankenstein's Monster: Many of the zombie creatures that attack MHI headquarters are amalgams of various animals. Also Agent Franks.
- Knuckle Tattoos: A truck driver that's an innocent victim of a monster rampage has "LOVE" and "HATE" tattooed on his knuckles. Later, Agent Franks is seen with "HATE" on the knuckles of his left hand. The arm and its attached hand was taken from the dead trucker, Franks replacing a limb lost earlier in the chapter.
- Living on Borrowed Time/The Last Dance: After Owen is bitten by a zombie, he uses his last couple of hours to trade himself for his brother, and lead a one-man assault on the Condition's inner sanctum.
- The Mole: Much of the first two-thirds of the book is spent trying to root out a mole at MHI headquarters.
- Monster Protection Racket: It's revealed that Hood used to work for MHI, and was secretly using necromancy to cause zombie outbreaks for his team to put down during slow periods.
- Mugging the Monster: The Condition sends a trio of human Mooks to kidnap Owen's father. Said father is an ex-Green Beret who earned the Medal of Honor in Vietnam and earnded the nickname "The Destroyer". Cue offscreen Curb Stomp Battle.
- My Suit Is Also Super: Earl Harbinger reveals that he survived an assassination attempt because his leather jacket is made of "100% Minotaur hide" and is therefore bulletproof; also counts as a Chekhov's Gun as it'd been mentioned earlier.
- Named Weapons: What do you use to take down an armored zombie elephant? Leviathan, a Kraken-sized harpoon gun!
- Necromancer: That's what serving the Old Ones will get you.
- Our Gnomes Are Weirder: They live in the Projects, and will bust a cap in yo' ass if you call them lawn ornaments.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Type F.
- A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: The Condition's leader used to be a Hunter on Harbinger's team. But it turns out that he was really a Deceptive Disciple, as he only joined MHI as part of a long plan to continue his father's work with necromancy.
- The Quisling: The leader of the Condition reveals (or at least claims) that he's only working with the Old Ones so that they won't be as angry when they inevitably take over.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Invoked literally. The heroes have to defeat a pair of rampaging oni, one stronger and the other more devious, who attack a heavy metal concert.
- Religion of Evil: The Sanctified Church of the Temporary Mortal Condition serve the Old Ones, and want to deliver Owen to them to curry favor. Oh, and they're necromancers.
- Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: Invoked repeatedly while the team tries to beat some information out of a Doppelganger.
Monster Hunter Alpha adds the following tropes:
- And Now For Someone Different: After following Owen's 1st person perspective for 2 books, Alpha shifts to Earl, with a 3rd person perspective for events in the present, and 1st person for Earl's diary.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Earl's diary reveals that he's been trying to return human after being turned into a werewolf. Unfortunately, after it happens... things get worse, and being a werewolf would really have been useful. Being a Badass, he just grits his teeth and keeps on fighting.
- Brought Down to Normal: Earl is temporarily turned human by the Macgruffin.
- But for Me It Was Tuesday: Earl doesn't recall having killed Nikolai's wife Lila, asking that Nikolai be a little more specific, Earl having killed "a mess of folks". It turns out that Earl hadn't killed her. Another had, and planted evidence to pin the blame on him.
- Call Back: Earl recounts in his diary that as a young werewolf, he once fought and killed a luska. And then ate it.
- Cerebus Retcon: Earl's bulletproof minatour hide jacket, which was assumed by readers to be the spoils of a hunt. It turns out that the minotaur - or bullman, as he preferred to be called - was a New Meat in the black ops team Earl served with in Nam. When he was killed, his last request was that his hide be turned into a coat for Earl.
- Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: The special Babba Yaga magic rounds for a Mosin-Nagant that Earl finds. One round causes werewolves to explode.
- Finns With Fearsome Forests: Heather's grandfather, and much of the town, are from Finland. The grandfather was a werewolf-hunting sniper who passed the MacGuffin on the Heather. Another Finnish resident of Cooper Lake, Aino, comes along to the final battle despite being well into his seventies.
- Fish Out of Water: Earl, born and raised in Alabama, in Michigan, where it is snowing.
- Fun with Acronyms: Special Task Force Unicorn, aka STFU.
- Gorn: Taken Up to Eleven when Earl and a local drive a snow cutter (think a combine-sized snowblower) through a mass of undead werewolves. Earl pronounces the resulting slurry of werewolf as the most disgusting thing he ever seen
- Heroes Want Redheads: Heather, who ends up retaining most of her humanity despite being a new werewolf, and Earl's new love interest.
- Kill It with Fire: Earl uses a hospital's oxygen tank to set a fire to kill a newly turned werewolf who is immune to the effects of silver, quoting the trope name when setting it up.
- Mundane Utility: Heather, a junk-food adict whos mother had diabetes, is thrilled to learn that werewolfs burn enough calories that she can eat anything she wants without gaining weight.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Heather's reaction to learning that the first thing she did as a werewolf was eat her dog. Heroic BSOD ensures.
- One-Man Army:
- Several werewolves were employed by their national governments as this. Sam Haven is also shown to have been this, single-handedly clearing a cruise liner of monsters after his SEAL team got killed and his Neidermeyer CO hid.
- It's also subverted: Earl quickly realises that the situation is too big for him to handle and tries to call in his team, but the phones are down. He ends up rallying the locals and gaining a few allies along the way.
- Shout-Out: The luska is finally revealed, and it's a Sharktopus.
- The Southpaw: Earl is right-handed, but shoots a sniper rifle left-handed so he can maintain his sight picture and work the bolt faster.
- Tastes Like Chicken: Averted with the luska. Earl doesn't care for the taste, but he was ravenously hungry on a full moon.
- The Vietnam War: Elaboration is given to hints in Monster Hunter Vendetta that Earl and Owen's dad served in the same black ops team in Nam.