In a departure from the first two books in Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter series, Monster Hunter Alpha is told from the perspective of Earl Harbinger. Interspersed with the main story are flashbacks which give Earl’s character added depth and help the reader better understand Earl’s motivations.
Earl was born Raymond Shackleford II in 1900, and he became a werewolf in the early 1920s (no specific date is given, but the book references the early 1920s). Despite the odds, and through the efforts of Father Santiago, a member of an 800-year-old monster hunting organization, Earl learned to better control the werewolf inside him. This allowed him to use the curse to help people instead of destroy them (for the most part).
After returning to the States following his time with Father Santiago, Earl was drafted into Special Task Force Unicorn (humorously shortened to STFU) and used to combat supernatural threats during World War II, Vietnam, and other events, earning his PUFF exemption (meaning monster hunters could kill him for the bounty offered by the government).
We also meet Heather Kerkonen, a deputy sheriff in Copper Lake, Michigan who was turned into a werewolf by followers of the Alpha. Earl then helps her learn how to control the inner beast, especially since something is causing her body to implement the change more quickly. Heather also plays an important part in Monster Hunter Nemesis, the fifth book in the series.
Monster Hunter Alpha is one of my favorite books in the series because of how it explores Earl’s life and thoughts. Correia is extremely good at building characters and drawing you into their lives, making them much more than just words on a page. This book offers no exception to that. It moves along at quick, but measured, pace, and it kept my attention throughout.
I appreciated how much information Correia shared about Earl and the struggles he goes through. Learning more about him helped me to better understand Earl’s actions in the first two books and to gain an appreciation for why the people at MHI are so loyal to him.
Correia is very consistent in turning out stories which grab your attention and don’t let go until you reach the end of the book. Monster Hunter Alpha (as well as any of the other books in the Monster Hunter series) would make an excellent film or TV series due to the imagery they evoke as you read them. Highly recommended!
Release Date: July 26, 2011 (USA)
ISBNs: 1439134588 (9781439134580)
Publisher: Baen Books
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (Earl is always smoking, some social drinking)
Language: 3 (somewhat regular weak and strong expletives)
Sexuality: 1 (some innuendo, mentions of characters being naked)
Violence: 4 (some brutal and/or graphic descriptions of violence, monster fights, death)