Spotlight is a film that won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2015. It won “over 100 industry and critics awards and nominations“. I never heard of it until today and I don’t know of anyone else who has seen it. Compare this to John Wick, an action movie that came out in 2014. As far as I’m aware, John Wick did not win any major awards. And yet, I know many people who have seen and thoroughly enjoyed John Wick. I can’t say the same for Spotlight; like I said, I never even heard of the movie until today.
Monster Hunter Alpha is the third book in the Monster Hunter Series by Larry Correia. This book (and the series as a whole) is the John Wick of books. It may not have won any fancy literary awards, but it was some of the most fun I’ve had with a book in months. It’s got action, humor, mystery and romance that doesn’t make me roll my eyes.
*POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD*
In this outing, we leave Owen Zastava Pitt behind and follow everyone’s favorite ass-kicker, Earl Harbinger. Harbinger leaves his team behind and travels to a small town in Michigan to square off against an old nemesis. Once there, things unravel quickly and become a lot more complicated as multiple parties converge on this small town with their own agenda, including a sleazy government agent and a rival monster hunting company. Each of these parties start out as parallel storylines that converge and intertwine as things get messy. And finally, we’re also given a view into Harbinger’s past through his journal. At the beginning of every chapter, we have a few pages that detail parts of Harbingers past, from his beginnings as a werewolf to his role in the Vietnam War.
A lesser writer would have great difficulty juggling the various plot lines, but Correia handles them with ease. Each plot line is interesting, well-written and memorable. I especially enjoyed the antics of the rival monster hunting company as they sink in over their heads very quickly. It’s all extremely entertaining.
A minor nitpick is that practically every female character is simply different versions of the same ass-kicking, amazon warrior woman. They’re all tough, strapped and ready to kill. Besides a few superficial details, the female characters in the series don’t feel all that different from one another. However, this isn’t to say that Correia sucks at characterization. Correia excels at giving most of his characters distinctive and nuanced personalities and this continues in MHA. The government agents, the rival monster hunting corporation, Harbinger’s nemesis all have enough backstory to make them feel alive without bogging the reader down *cough cough* Stephen King’s characters.
I wish I could say more about the novel and the characters but that will likely spoil the fun. It’s much more fun going into the novel without knowing too much ahead of time. Just buckle in and enjoy the ride because it’s a fantastic one.
4.5 out of 5 stars