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Audiobook Review – Monster Hunter Guardian

Sarah Hoyt and Larry Correia, two of my favorite story tellers, have come together to bring us Monster Hunter Guardian, a story centered on Julie Shackleford.

When Owen Pitt and the rest of the Monster Hunter International crew are called away to mount a month’s-long rescue mission in a monster-infested nightmare dimension, Julie Shackleford – Owen’s wife and descendant of MHI founder Bubba Shackleford – is left behind. Her task: hold down the fort and take care of her new baby son Ray. Julie’s devoted to the little guy, but the slow pace of office work and maternity leave are starting to get to her. But when a routine field call brings her face-to-face with an unspeakable evil calling itself Brother Death, she’ll get more excitement than she ever hoped for.

Julie is the Guardian of a powerful ancient artifact known as the Kamaresh Yar, and Brother Death wants it. In the wrong hands, it could destroy reality as we know it. Julie would die before giving it up.

Then Ray goes missing, taken by Brother Death. The price for his safe return: the Kamaresh Yar. If Julie doesn’t hand over the artifact it means death – or worse – for baby Ray. With no other choice left to her, Julie agrees to Brother Death’s demands. But when you’re dealing with an ancient evil, the devil is in the details.

To reclaim her son, Julie Shackleford will have to fight her way through necromantic death cults, child-stealing monsters, and worse. And she’ll have to do it all before Brother Death can unleash the Kamaresh Yar.

It’s one woman against an army of monsters. But Julie Shackleford is no ordinary woman – she’s one tough mother!

I attended Sarah Hoyt’s reading of the first chapter of this book a couple of years ago at LibertyCon, and I’m very happy to see how it came together into a full length novel.  Julie is expertly painted as a young mother desperately searching for her child.  Between the writing and exceptional narration by Bailey Carr, the listener feels her anguish, anger, and determination in every word.

Guardian moves quickly, only occasionally slowing down to let you catch your breath.  Where MHI stories usually center around a team of people with a few principle heroes, Julie spends the vast majority of the story on her own, with not much more than her wits and a gun to aid her in her search.  Hoyt and Correia used this to develop her as a character, and I hope that they continue this in more MHI novels.

Ms. Carr’s narration is excellent.  Her voice and pacing keep the listener riveted as the plot moves along.  She was a perfect fit for Julie Shackleford.

Guardian is definitely a great addition to the MHI series and makes for a wonderful listen during morning commutes and long summer evenings.

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