I was excited when I heard that John Ringo was going to be writing books in Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter series. Monster Hunter Memoirs – Grunge is set in the early to mid-1980s and follows Oliver Chadwick Gardenier (or just “Chad”) as he goes from being an active United States Marine to monster hunting. After training at the main Monster Hunter International headquarters in Alabama, he is assigned to the team working out of Seattle, Washington.
Chad made a great main character, and most of the book is told in first person from his perspective. I especially enjoyed the references to Japan and its culture as I am a huge Japanophile. I found him to be very smart and entertaining as a protagonist, though he did too much philandering for my tastes. Having read some other Ringo works in the past that had a lot of that, I am glad the philandering was toned down significantly (to merely “suggestive” instead of outright explicit) in this story. I know some enjoy that in a story, but it’s not something I prefer.
Learning about MHI from a different time than in the main series was fun. Getting to meet under different circumstances Ray Shackleford III and IV, as well as the ever-charming Earl Harbinger and Agent Franks, made for a fun story. Julie, who plays a significant role in the main series, gets a brief cameo as well. Even Agent Myers, who was working at MHI at the time of Monster Hunter Memoirs – Grunge, plays a brief role. And Milo…well, he was just as crazy brilliant back then as in the main series.
Reading the introduction and learning how Ringo originally came to write these stories was interesting. It mirrors my experience a little bit (minus the writing stories part). When I first discovered them, I read through all the available books (only two, at the time) and then quickly devoured each new volume as it came out. Just the like those written solely by Correia, this book is a fun ride the entire time and has great pacing throughout the story.
One of my favorite parts in Monster Hunter Memoirs – Grunge was how Ringo incorporated obvious jabs at existing companies. My favorite of these scenes was the one involving the software company Microtel. Ringo had great fun skewering the software giant and how it really came up with all its innovations. All kidding aside, the way Quality Control works at Microtel is not all that different from reality. Sometimes it is literally hell.
This is a great addition to the Monster Hunter canon. Everything I expected in it was there, and both Correia and Ringo did a great job capturing my imagination and running with it till the end of the story. I read Monster Hunter Memoirs – Grunge within 16 hours of receiving it (I did have to sleep partway through so I would be functional at work). If you have liked previous works by either author, you will enjoy this one. Great fun all around!
Release Date: August 2, 2016 (USA)
ISBNs: 1476781494 (9781476781495)
Publisher: Baen Books
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (occasional smoking and drinking)
Language: 3 (frequent minor, deity, f-bombs, other strong language)
Sexuality: 2 (frequent mentions, main character is a playboy)
Violence: 4 (horrific monsters, human sacrifice, explosions, brutal violence, death)