Monster Hunter Legion — Monster Hunting At Its Finest

I opened the file for Monster Hunter Legion (I got the electronic Advance Reader Copy from Baen Books) to refresh some of my earlier opinions and thoughts on the book…

…and immediately found myself on Chapter Ten, deeply engrossed in the book, wondering just how this had happened. Somehow I had lost track of two hours and countless pages in my “refresher reading”.

Yeah, that’s a sign of a great book.

Fans of Larry Correia (Monster Hunter International, Dead Six ,Hard Magic) are probably rejoicing at the latest Monster Hunter book. Owen Pitt, slayer of gods and combat accountant, returns after a brief hiatus from the Monster Hunter series (his boss, Earl Harbinger, was the star in Monster Hunter Alpha) and is in Las Vegas meeting with other professional monster hunters from around the world at the first-ever expo of its kind. Naturally, things are supposed to be top secret, so the “convention” is being held in the yet-unopened Last Dragon Hotel. Owen and other members of MHI (Monster Hunter International) are enjoying the buffet when a competing group of montser hunters arrive. Sparks fly when Owne accidentally bumps a Newbie who was a late arrival and recognized him from his last illegal pit fight — Jason Lacoco, the brooding giant who assisted Earl Harbinger in Monster Hunter Alpha. They fights, they break stuff, they end up in jail… a good time for all to be had.

After he gets bailed out of jail by his boss, Owen is forced to attend the conferences and panels the following day, wishing the entire time that he could be at another convention in town. However, things get interesting as the professional monster hunter community begins to chat one another up and realize that something very big seems to be happening all over the world. Contacts are made, maps are drawn, and a pattern begins to emerge. However, before the pieces can be put fully together, they are called in by Special Task Force Unicorn (which I absolutely cracked up over when I made it into an acronym, STFU… the author likes his jokes, as do his readers) and offered a bounty: the first monster hunter organization which kills a mysterious creature in northern Nevada gets $10 million, as well as first dibs on standing protective contracts, which translates to a lot of money. Owen and the rest of MHI are roped in when Stricken, who leads STFU (heh), lets Harbinger in on the little fact that his girlfriend Heather is missing in the region as well. MHI mobilizes and arrive on the scene soon after a German company, who kill… a giant spider. Both teams are confused but the Germans aren’t about to turn down $10 million for an easier-than-expected kill.

Owen, meanwhile, tags along with Agent Franks as they drive out into the wild wastes of the Nevada desert. Owen and Franks arrive at a top secret government storage facility where Franks guides Owen down to a small, formerly sealed off hole in the ground which looks as though it could have been a tomb. Owen is shocked: this is the exact same door and tunnel he saw in a dreams of his the night before. After a brief encounter with a monster, Owen and Franks return to Vegas, with many unanswered questions in the back of our protagonist’s mind.

Meanwhile the other monster hunters have packed it up, so everyone heads back to Vegas, where much celebrating and drinking occurs. However, once they arrive back, some very strange things begin to go down within the confines of the Last Dragon Hotel. As in “end of the world” things.

I’ll admit, I’m a little biased towards this series, because the first book was simply brilliant. The author hasn’t lost his touch while writing about Owen and his adventures, keeping the humor, action and plot all tightly together as he takes the reader for one hell of a ride. It’s exciting, thrilling, and the mystery behind the monster which continuously comes to chew them up and spit ’em out keeps the entire novel engrossing. As always, Correia forces you to care more about the characters and story than anything else, something I find a lot of writers tend to forget.

One of the best parts is how the author also connects each of the characters to novels past, instead of blowing them off as though they don’t matter. For example, in the first book of the series Albert Lee mentions his dreadful fear of spiders and how he was forced to pretty much torch a library to kill a bunch of oversized ones out to devour him whole. Fast forward to MHL and someone mentions that Albert, despite his past history with spiders, should know what type it is exactly and what makes it so special. Small things, but for a fan of the series, very important, because it keeps a cohesive approach to every story and novel in the Monster Hunter series.

This is a fun, fun book, filled with lots of clever rejoinders, massive explosions and B-movie horror monsters that will both terrify and entertain the reader.  The author really knocked it out of the park with this one, and once again leaves the reader salivating for more. Definite must-buy for all the monster lovers and hunters out there.

Reviewed by Jason

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