Friday, July 18, 2014

Steph Reads Baened Books: Larry Correia's Monster Hunter Nemesis

At the moment, I'm sitting in front of my laptop cackling madly. Why? Well, this always happens after I've read a book by Larry Correia. And you know, I've really done this blog a disservice by failing to publicly review any of Larry's work (besides Monster Hunter International, which I capsule reviewed back in 2011) until today. After all, everyone should know why Larry's been able to quit his day job and write full time after only a few years in the business -- and no, it's not because he's appealing to a rising swell of fascist/racist/homophobic/misogynistic/whatever-ist urban fantasy fans. It's because Larry Correia is one of the best action writers alive. Seriously: The people who produce our standard crop of summer blockbusters need to hire the hell out of the man. Movie-makers would rake in millions not because Larry is a purveyor of brainless gore, but because he writes violence with smarts.

This summer, Larry's blockbuster is Monster Hunter Nemesis, the fifth book in the MHI universe and a novel that focuses on the life and times of Agent Franks. For those readers who are, sadly, not acquainted with this character, Franks is Larry's version of Frankenstein's monster: a reanimated mass of cadaver parts inhabited by a demon. Franks doesn't grasp human concepts like compassion and mercy; indeed, he thinks Mary Shelley's version of his life was insultingly emo. He triple parks in handicapped spaces, loves killing things, and doesn't really worry about collateral damage. But Franks has also made a deal with God: If he protects humanity by destroying all the unholy monsters who are even worse than he is, he gets to stay out of Hell.

Now, I'm certainly not going to insult Franks by claiming that Nemesis "humanizes" him. Oh no! Those of you who heard Larry was writing a book about Franks and immediately thought "Yay! Cue destruction and mayhem!" will not be disappointed. The promised bloodshed is all there, and it's all Franks; indeed, one of the advantages of making the POV character a ridiculously overpowered, almost immortal demonic being is all the opportunities that provides for humorous understatement of the "the demon shot a bullet through one of Franks' hearts and it really threw off his aim" variety. But Nemesis - like all of Larry's other novels - isn't just about the violence. Larry also fills in Franks' back story, and it's really damned interesting -- and wholly deserving of the "violence with smarts" label I used above. (True: The cosmology is a little theologically suspect, but - hand wave, hand wave - I think the Rule of Cool applies.) Additionally, Nemesis rewards established readers by following up on Stricken's clandestine schemes at Special Task Force Unicorn (or STFU; don't think I don't see what you did there, Larry!) -- and by continuing to drop hints about the even bigger threats to mankind that loom on the horizon.

Overall, Larry seems to be ramping up to an epic climax, and I for one can't wait to see what happens next!

Final Verdict: Highly Recommended.

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