Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Monster Hunter International

Today's post is on 'Monster Hunter International' by Larry Correia. It is 713 pages not including an excerpt from 'Witch Way to the Mall' edited by Esther M. Friesner. It is published by Baen Publishing with great cover art of two of the main characters shooting a monster on it. The intended readers are adults, over 18 because of the violence. Do not be put off by the page count. This is a fast read because everything happens so quick in it. But I will get back to that after my summary of the story so again- There be Spoilers Ahead.

Owen Zastava Pitt is just an accountant, a lowly CPA and the newest guy at his job. At that he is the whipping boy for the boss who needs to blame someone else for his mistakes. Well that is really not the best idea because Pitt is about 6 foot 6 inches and has some interesting things in his past like being a shooting champion. But Pitt is trying to be 'normal' whatever that is until one night he is working late because he is the low man at the job when his boss calls him into his office. The boss then goes on a villain speech before turning into a werewolf. Pitt has to fight it with a .357 Smith & Wesson snub-nose that he has on his ankle and then hand-to-hand combat. With luck, God and just fortune smiling on Pitt he wins. When he wakes up in the hospital being watched by agents of the Monster Control Bureau who tell him that they are going to watch him just in case he turns. While the two agents, Franks and Myers, are scaring him with the thought of killing him right there in the hospital Earl Harbringer walks in. Harbringer introduces himself as a monster hunter from Monster Hunter International. He also tells Pitt that he has made a nice piece of change by kills his werewolf boss. Harbringer tells Pitt and the agents that he is not going to be turn but Pitt should call him when he gets better. Pitt does not turn and he calls Harbringer who visits him with another hunter Julie Shackleford. Pitt sees her and is in love (important to note but I will talk about it more in my response to the novel after my summary). She and Harbringer convince him to join Monster Hunter International. Pitt finishes healing up then he moves to a small town in Alabama where MHI is housed. There is part of about 40 other survivors to learn how to hunt, kill and make money off of monsters. That is the basic plot of Monster Hunter International.

My review of this book is pretty good. It is very fast paced, the dialogue is snappy, the action is good and I will talk about this things one by one. By fast paced the book happens in about two weeks. Most of the chapters happen over the course of hours with time pasting in the blank spaces between chapters. One of my problems is the chapters are very long, with few breaks in the action, so you will be reading 20+ pages with no blank space to take a break with. The dialogue is very natural by that I mean I understand why the characters say what they say when they say it. The action is the real reason why you are going to read this book, that the gun porn. Correia himself says that he writes gun porn and he is not lying. The descriptions of the guns is very detailed. You can google the guns with the specs that Correia gives the reader and you can see just what the guns look like. My other complaint about the book is Pitt and Shackleford's relationship. It moves way too fast for me. It does not help that she is in another relationship when the books starts and still is at the half-way mark of the book. Butif you are willing to believe that normal humans can fight big bads then just go with it, that's what I did.

My overall rating for the book is 4 stars. I get nothing for my review not even the book because I borrowed it from my spouse.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ruby Red

Today's post is 'Ruby Red' by Kerstin Gier, translated from german by Anthea Bell. It is 330 pages long and it is published by Henry Holt and Company. It is Young Adult fiction with young women as the intended readers. Spoiler Alert.

Gwyneth Sheperd is sixteen and from a family of female time travelers. But she does not have to worry about that because the gene skipped her. Her cousin Charlotte is the one who is going to be next. She has been trained for this all her life and Gwyneth feels sorry for her cousin. Because of the training Charlotte does not have any friends only the training. Everyone is just waiting for Charlotte to eslapse for the first time. The start of the story is with Gwyneth feeling dizzy but she pushs that off because she does not get sick and Charlotte is the one who is going to travel. But Gwyneth learns that the gene did not skip her. All the years of training for Charlotte was a waste because Gwyneth is the one. She is last time traveler of her house called the Ruby. She is the one to close the circle not that she or the reader knows what that is. after proving that she can eslapse, Gwyneth is pulled into world where she does not know anyone and her mother warns her to not trust anyone. One of the reasons that the people in power have a problem with Gwyneth is because of her cousin Lucy who stole something very important to their mission. Then she ran away with Paul de Villiers a traveler from a male only line. The people in power will not tell Gwyneth about the real reason for the device that Lucy stole and why it is really so important but as the reader I have some thoughts about it but I will keep my thoughts to myself so that I will not ruin that for others.

The setting is London for this book. The author knows London very well because of the descriptions that the reader gets. Gier keeps the mystery very close to her chest. I have a general idea about where the story is going but I do not have any idea about what Gwyneth's real power is, how she is going to stop the villain and how she is going to safe Lucy from evil people who want to kill her. The prologue and the epilogue just follow Lucy and Paul at different points in the story. I will hold back a rating because it is the first book in a trilogy and I think that sets of books need to looked at together. I will say that this is a very fast read, I sat down and read it in about five hours one Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Princess of the Sword

Today's post is on 'Princess of the Sword' by Lynn Kurland. It is 360 pages long all story (which I love) and it is published by The Berkley Publishing Group an imprint of Penguin Group Inc. This is the wonderful conclusion to the Nine Kingdoms trilogy. It is the first trilogy and Ms. Kurland is writing the second one at the moment. I will be reading it too because I really enjoyed this setting. The intended reader is anyone who likes fantasy with a little romance on the side. I am still getting used to my new review style but by that I mean I feel my reviews are full of spoilers so SPOILER WARNING.

Morgan and Miach are getting desperate to close the well of evil that Gair opened 20 years ago. The evil is not only still leaking out but Lothar the black mage of the north is using the power to make horrible creatures who only have two jobs. One kill anyone with the magic to stop him and to find any descendants of Gair. As Morgan is Gair's only daughter the monsters have been following her for months now. At the start of the story Miach and Morgan are sneaking into the wizards university to search for a spell to close the well. It is not there but they do discover that some of Morgan's brothers survived the opening of the well. So the orphan Morgan is not totally alone. In fact her two eldest brothers are still alive but broken in ways that she cannot imagine. Their father in the opening of the well took their magic for himself but it was not enough to save him when the tide of evil poured over him. Then they have to choose which way they are going to attack both the well and Lothar when Lothar has Miach's king and older brother abducted.

With time running out Maich and Morgan not only have to close the well of evil, stop Lothar's ambitions and rescue the King of Neroche Maich's older brother. It all does end well and happy with Maich and Morgan getting married at the end. There are some funny moments in this one just like the first two. Morgan's grandfather is a delight and the other side characters just make the scenes pop to the reader. I hope to see them again in the second trilogy which is about one of Morgan's brothers. The magic system in the series is interesting because it is a mix of bloodright and natural ability. But it is never really explained that so many classic fantasy magic systems, it just works.

My rating for this is four and half stars.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Naming

Today's post is on 'The Naming' by Alison Croggon. It is 466 pages long and is published byCandlewick Press. This is a lush high fantasy novel in a richly imagined world and I just loved this book. In fact I went out and bought the whole series all in hardback. It is four volumes long, with beautiful covers. This series has been out for a little while but I read things as they come into my life no matter how old. The intended reader is YA but anyone with a love of high fantasy will enjoy this piece. There Be Spoilers Ahead.
Maerad is a slave. That is all she has ever known and after her mother died when she about seven she has been alone in Gilman's Cot. The only thing that saves her the rapes and other brutalities is that she is seen as a witch by the other's 'living' there. All animals she cares for do better, get sick less and give more meat, milk or wool. Maerad also has a great gift of music. She is only one in the Cot who can play the harp that her mother left her. One bitterly cold morning when Maerad has had just an hour of sleep because she was playing for the men all night she is tending the cows when she sees a man walk by. The man is bloody, stumbling and shocked that she could see him. Within a day Maerad is fleeing the Cot with Cadvan the man she saw. He is fleeing some great evil from the mountains to the north. He also tells her that she is a bard and so is he.

Bards the people in this world who have the magic. They help the sick, make harvests better and teach everyone how to read and write. But there is a sickness in the barding, some old evil is making its way into the world again. With the Dark chasing them Maerad and Cadvan have more mystries to solve than where Maered came from. Her history is dark and at the heart of the  troubles in this first book. Along the way she meets people who change the way she looks at the world, the way she reacts to it and she does grow some over the course of the book but not much. Her growth is more like a flower coming into bud not just all at once. It is a little annoying but understandable for Maerad. The pacing is very fast, the writing is wonderful and the characters are memorable.

My personal rating is four and half stars and I read it in eight hours. Not because it is short but because I just could not put it down.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


Today's post is on 'Invasion Book One of the Secret World Chronicle' By Mercedes Lackey with Steve Libbey, Cody Martin and Dennis Lee. It is published by Baen and is 567 pages long excluding a sample of book two. The cover has an iron eagle screaming with flames behind it. The story is told in two parts in 15 chapters. The intended reader is anyone who likes superheros, good writing and saving the world. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

First line is- The blue-skinned, blue-haired woman known by the callsign "Belladonna Blue" leaned into the oval hatch of the captain's cubby.

In World War 2 metahumans were the ones who really won the war. Metahumans are humans with something extra, like being able to fly or throw flames. Well the world is mostly at peace in 2011. Metahumans are the real police force of the world and most countries are happy to just not have another war like WW2. But something strange is going on. At the headquarters of the metahumans called Echo when a soldier from WW2 walks up and demands to see the head of Echo Alex Tesla. He is a famous meta from Germany and he says that he has very important information about a coming attack. Of course no one listens to him until it is too late. All around the world at once all the metahumans are attacked; by gaint mechas with a swastikas on their arms. Everywhere there is an Echo station or in Russia where they house their metas. The battles are short but brutal. In about three hours over twice-thirds of the worlds metas are dead and that is not counting the normal humans. Soon metas from all sides are having to choose which side they want to be on fighting for the nazis or for humanity.

I really enjoyed this book. I grew up watching the X-Men so metahumans and mutants are so my thing. That said before I go on about how much I loved this book and series, I will discuss my problems with it. It is only 15 chapters long and it is almost 600 pages. The chapters are really dense with so much happening that you really need to read it about once a day like I did, or you will forget things. Some of the characters are Russian and sometimes they speak Russian without being translated. Now on to the things I loved about this book. I love that it is based from real characters that the authors played on City of Heros, a pretty good MMO (btw it is free to play so try it I have.). The characters are really heroes, I love heroes. One of characters Red Djinni is both good and bad, he is a great anti-hero, he is an interesting ass. The first part is broken into different character perspectives so the reader goes from Belladonna to Vikky to Djinni. There are angels and there is a great big save the world story. All in all I really enjoyed this book. I cannot wait to get my hands on the second volume.

I give this one a five out of five stars. I get nothing for my review and I bought my copy from my local bookstore.