Baen Books, 2010, 656 pages
Accountant turned professional monster hunter Owen Zastava Pitt managed to stop the nefarious Old Ones' invasion plans last year, but as a result made an enemy out of one of the most powerful beings in the universe. Now an evil death cult known as the Church of the Temporary Mortal Condition wants to capture Owen in order to gain the favor of the great Old Ones. The Condition is led by a fanatical necromancer known as the Shadow Man. The government wants to capture the Shadow Man and has assigned the enigmatic Agent Franks to be Owen's full-time bodyguard, which is a polite way of saying that Owen is monster bait.
With supernatural assassins targeting his family, a spy in their midst, and horrific beasties lurking around every corner, Owen and the staff of Monster Hunter International don't need to go hunting, because this time the monsters are hunting them. Fortunately, this bait is armed and very dangerous.
Monster Hunter International was Larry Correia's first book. This second book in the series is better, as Correia builds on the history and mythology of his world, packs it with more jokes (like the gangsta gnomes, and the Internet troll who is a... troll, straight out of the AD&D Monster Manual), and develops several long-term subplots to be continued in future books.
Owen Pitt, who joined the for-profit secret monster-hunting outfit Monster Hunter International in book one, is now burdened with a Destiny to Save the World, which comes with the power to experience "flashbacks" of other people's memories when he touches them at plot-convenient moments.
I found this a somewhat crude expositional device, and Pitt's role as super-special predestined savior of the world with a smoking hot girlfriend, if Gary Stu-ish in the first book, is over the top now.
His fiancee's parents are vampires, his boss is a werewolf, Pitt has come to the attention of a Great Old One who blames him for having a nuke dropped on it, his brother is a rock star (named "Mosh Pitt" — yes, really), and his father has been grooming him since childhood to die saving the world because dad also had prophetic dreams.
Like the first book, Monster Hunter Vendetta is a big cheesy action thriller. I think Correia overuses certain plot devices just to keep the story moving, but it does move briskly and entertainingly. There is still a fair amount of anti-government axe grinding, but there are some interesting good guys and bad guys on the government's team.
While the audiobook was fine to listen to on a long car ride and I may read more books in the series, it seems like each book will involve saving the world from an ever bigger, ever badder Big Bad, which kind of reminds me of Star Wars — how many times can you blow up a frikkin' Death Star before it gets old?
I prefer Correia's Grimnoir series, which seems to have been conceived from the beginning as a complete story arc, whereas MHI seems more like an RPG where the GM makes it up as he goes.
Also by Larry Correia: My reviews of Hard Magic, Spellbound, Warbound, and Monster Hunter International.
My complete list of book reviews.