Inverarity (inverarity) wrote,

Book Review: Monster Hunter Files, by Larry Correia & others

Short stories from the Monster Hunter universe.

Monster Hunter Files

Baen Books, 2017, 336 pages

For well over a century, Monster Hunter International has kept the world safe from supernatural threats small and large - and, in some cases, very, very large. Now, join us as MHI opens their archives for the first time. From experienced hunters on their toughest cases to total newbies' initial encounters with the supernatural, The Monster Hunter Files reveals the secret history of the world's most elite monster fighting force.

Discover what happened when Agent Franks took on the Nazis in World War II. Uncover how the Vatican's Combat Exorcists deal with Old Ones in Mexico. And find out exactly what takes place in a turf war between trailer park elves and gnomes. From the most powerful of mystical beings to MHI's humble janitor, see the world of professional monster hunting like never before.

Featuring 17 all new tales based on Larry Correia's best-selling series, from New York Times best-selling authors Jim Butcher, John Ringo, Jessica Day George, Jonathan Maberry, Faith Hunter, and many more.

Larry Correia's Monster Hunter books are pleasant brain candy if you feel like reading half-baked urban fantasy with lots of guns and action. "Half-baked" because, like Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series, Correia throws the entire supernatural kitchen sink into his world, but doesn't craft it in as much depth as Butcher does. On the other hand, Butcher's protagonist is a whiny secret bad-ass wish-fulfillment character, while Correia's protagonist is a loud-mouthed, blustering bad-ass wish-fulfillment character. I kind of like the less wimpy version.

Monster Hunter Files is basically Baen cashing in on the popularity of Correia's monster-killing gun-porn and inviting their entire stable of writers to contribute to this anthology. Some of the stories introduce new characters, but most are about the minor characters that have shown up in Correia's books, like Owen Pitt's hot wife as a teenage monster hunter (yes, of course her prom date is going to turn out to be a monster), or the ever-popular grim, immortal killing machine Agent Franks, in Jonathan Maberry's tale of golems and Nazis. Yeah, Jews creating a golem to fight Nazis... there are not a lot of original concepts here, so you read it mostly because you really like the world, or you just want some action-packed high-explosive fluff. There's a kitsune, and a Vatican monster hunter made immortal by having the bones of a saint (supposedly) grafted into him, and a rather weak story by Brad Torgerson featuring Ben Franklin spouting anachronistic dialog.

Honestly, most of the stories were mediocre. Faith Hunter's Jane Yellowrock character makes an appearance just because, I guess, but John C. Wright writes a story in his own inimitable style — which meant it didn't quite fit with the other stories, which I guess is why he made his about a monster-hunting MI6 agents during the Cold War. I also liked John Ringo's story, and the one with the turf war in a trailer park between gnomes and elves was probably the funniest.

Entertaining but, I'm afraid, mostly forgettable, as this anthology really contributes little to the Monster Hunter universe or its canon.

Also by Larry Correia: My reviews of Hard Magic, Spellbound, Warbound, Monster Hunter International, Monster Hunter Vendetta, and Son of the Black Sword.

My complete list of book reviews.
Tags: books, fantasy, larry correia, reviews

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