Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter series has been a fun experience for me. His stories feature heroic monster hunters battling the unalloyed evil of the world’s varied monster population. The Shacklefords and their associates have turned wholesale slaughter of the undead into a lucrative enterprise but one that has taken its toll on the family. Included in this attrition are three recent victims who have been turned respectively, into a werewolf and two master vampires. But what makes it a pleasure is that none of the monsters and none of the hunters ever seem tempted to wax poetic on the need to increase the world quotient of social justice. The diversity of the characters is measured in species of monsters dispatched or the variety of allied supernatural creatures such as trailer-park dwelling elves, death-metal loving orcs and gangsta gnomes who get featured in a story. Correia never once discusses the need to ascertain the correct gender fluid pronouns of any zombies before blowing their heads off with a rocket propelled grenade. So, the books are very much action oriented. Shooting monsters is their forte.
But I am happy to relate that Larry’s storytelling abilities are definitely becoming more nuanced. In Siege one of the highlights of the book is a sustained dialog between the protagonist (Owen Pitt) and his nemesis. In this scene Correia gives the devil his due. In fact, I think his evil character may actually seal the show. Of course, there is still plenty of combat and monsters being blown up. And Larry further clarifies the mythology of his universe. So never fear, there’s plenty of explosions to warm the heart of all Monster Hunter fans. But Larry is definitely steering the series into a more complicated plot. Larry has shown that he is not averse to killing off some of his characters. And some of that goes on in Siege. But what is also clarified is that he is braiding at least five separate strands of supernatural intervention and even some of the “good guys” may not get along together. So, we shouldn’t expect any imminent resolution of the larger threat that has been growing in the background. If anything, the details at the end of Siege further complicate the future for Owen and his family. But that’s alright. Larry seems in control of his material and expanding the scope of the story to epic proportions.
So, if you are already a Monster Hunter fan then the good news is that Siege is a very worthy successor to the series. And if you are new to the series then rest assured that your investment will pay off with an already good number of sequels to satisfy your monster killing quota and with every indication that Larry will continue to expand the Monster Hunter saga into an urban fantasy franchise comparable in size and quality to Jim Butcher’s Dresden files. The only shortcoming to the story is that the only mention of Agent Franks is retrospective to the previous book. We’ll have to wait for the next book to see his smiling face.