I look at this book with mixed feelings. On one hand, it’s a fantastic read, full of nonstop excitement, crazy ideas and page-turning action. On the other hand, it’s probably the last book in the Monster Hunter International Universe by John Ringo—and that is a sad thing.
As the story goes, MHI author Larry Correia picked up the phone one day and established writer John Ringo was on the line. He’d written a bunch of books in Correia’s MHI Universe and wanted to know if Correia was interested in having them published. Not being dumb, Correia happily accepted the offer and now we have Monster Hunter Memoirs: Grunge (See my review here), Monster Hunter Memoirs: Sinners (ditto here), and now the final book in the trilogy, MHM: Saints. Correia is very clear that he does some editing and streamlining to make sure the books fit smoothly with the MHI Universe mythology, but this is mainly Ringo’s rodeo. To me, that is a very gracious author.
I can see why Correia was so open to the Memoir series; they’re great. The protagonist, Chad Gardenier, is a working-class genius, ladies man, sword/gun nut and all-around tough guy. Someone you would definitely want on your side in a fight. Ringo perfectly chooses the elements of the MHI Universe he wants to work with; fighting monsters of course, as well as MHI’s ongoing battles with their main nemesis, the U.S. government’s Monster Control Bureau. Here, after a harrowing experience, Gardenier actually brings a personal lawsuit against the MCB—and the results are spectacular!
Taking place in the 1980s, this last book in the spinoff series (for now), brings a definitive close to Chad’s story. Forshadowed in the first book, it's an ending we dreaded but all knew was coming. How it happens is the important thing, and Ringo provides an epic ending. Chad is his usual lovable self (unless you piss him off, which can be deadly), killing monsters in New Orleans and trying to avoid the MCB. When he ends up on their **** list, he decides to leave town and investigate a nefarious plot they claim he is part of. He finds evidence of a Lovecraft-level threat existing under New Orleans, one that will take an army of MHI team members to fight—and even that won’t be enough if he can’t figure out how to dispatch it! Along the way, Chad meets and romances many beautiful ladies, finds new monster species (both friendly and not so much), obtains a doctorate from Oxford and kills a lot of evil creatures. Then he writes it all down, which is the basis for this memoir. The final pages are written by another, filling in readers on Chad’s (possibly) last mission. The final sentence in the book is a triumph and gives readers hope for a bright future for the Gardenier family.
Are these books better than the mothership series, Monster Hunter International? Who cares, both series are the best modern fantasy has to offer. Let’s just say I can’t wait to read every new MHI book by Larry Correia and they are extremely satisfying. And I couldn’t wait to read every new MHI Memoir book, and each one in the series was extremely satisfying. All MHI books are highly recommended. Now I go in search of everything John Ringo has ever written.
Rating: ***** out of 5 stars.