GrogHeads Reviews Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge

What if the monsters were real?  And who said they weren’t?! ~

Avery Abernethy, 25 August 2016

Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge is in the Monster Hunter International universe. In the Monster Hunter universe monsters are real. Teddy Roosevelt ran into monsters in the Cuba invasion with the Rough Riders. When he became MHMG-coverPresident he put Federal bounties on dangerous monsters. Bring in evidence of killing a deadly monster, get paid a bounty. More dangerous monsters yield bigger bounties. But monster hunting has a high casualty rate. And high bounty monsters are especially deadly.

Monsters want to eat us. Monsters are not boyfriend material for lonely high school girls or strong independent women. Vampires suck your blood and eat your soul. Vampires and other monsters are enemies of humanity and deserve killing. Monster Hunter International is the premier private monster killing outfit in the world.

This is a collaboration between Larry Correia and John Ringo. Correia is a former gun store owner and competitive shooter. Ringo is a vet of the 82nd Airborne. Both are among the best active writers of military science fiction. Both know guns, explosives and how to write a great combat scene. Many wargame players are interested in weapons and the idea of killing evil monsters and collecting large bounties is something which appeals to gamers from D&D, to Call of Cthulhu, to Warhammer.

Chad is gifted with extraordinary language talents, intelligence, and combat skills. Chad knows how to use a katana, a .45 handgun or a rifle. Both to enrage his birth mother and honor is adopted parents; Chad enrolls in the US Marine Corps. Chad and his entire platoon die in the 1980s truck bomb attack in Lebanon. Except Chad meets St. Peter and is given the opportunity to go back to Earth to use his talents to fight for Good. Peter explains that if Chad returns life will not be easy and that he will undergo much suffering. But Chad is a Marine who knows his duty and returns to literally fight the “good fight.” Peter tells Chad to look for a sign from God, “57” where he is needed to fight evil. One problem, every Heinz Ketchup package in the world has “57.”

This is a very fast paced fun read. If you liked the other Monster Hunter books you will enjoy this one. I read it in one setting finishing up at 3:00am.

Grunge is different from the other Monster Hunter novels. The obvious difference is John Ringo is a co-author with Larry Correia. The protagonist is not a Shackleford, Owen Pitt, or Franks. The setting is not the modern day but instead is the 1980s to the early 1990s. But those are obvious differences.

Grunge is a set of short stories organized as major diary entries containing tips for other monster hunters. There is no single antagonist within the multiple short stories. This is not a bad thing, but is quite different from the other books in the series. After Chad is developed and becomes a monster hunter, the action is very fast paced.

Other MHI books either do not delve into sex and dating or do so in the context of the protagonist is searching for their one true love to settle down with. But Chad is an artful skirt-lifter who is always on the make for an attractive single female. Chad’s philosophy is: “I’m a monster hunter. My life could end tomorrow. Enjoy life, fight for good, and don’t leave a widow with children to suffer after you die.”

Grunge explicitly considers morality and Christianity. Excepting Nemisis, this is not a major theme of the other MHI books. In Grunge Chad goes from an atheist to a formal conversion to Catholicism. Morality shapes Chad’s actions. But Chad believes that if you fight to protect the innocent and good while treating people well, that God will forgive your sins of the flesh. This is worked into Chad’s character and motivation – so this is a positive thing from a character development standpoint. As an active and practicing Christian, I did not feel the treatment was heavy handed and it was necessary to develop the character. But Chad hits on every attractive female he encounters – and he encounters a lot of attractive females. Chad is a multidimensional character with considerable flaws. But you will root for him to succeed and crush evil.

Chad hates evil. Chad hates commies. Chad thinks we should understand our weapons, treat them well, be brave and fight evil. Being an active wargamer for my entire adult life, these values are common wargamer virtues.

It is the first collaborative novel in Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter International world. John Ringo, another prolific author of action science fiction co-authored Grunge. Grunge is the first of three novels in this series. The second novel “Sinners” is already written and will be published in early December. A third novel in the series has been written and is being edited by Correia and will appear in Summer, 2017 if my memory of the session at Liberty Con is accurate.

In sum, highly recommended for lovers of fast paced action-horror. If you are short of funds, you can pick up an ebook version of the Monster Hunter International, the first book in this universe for free from the Baen Free Library or from www.amazon.com. But remember, pushers give away free drugs for a reason. You have been warned about this free book.

 

Avery Abernethy is a Professor of Marketing at Auburn University.


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