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Book Review

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Dave vs. the Monsters


Author: John Birmingham
Publisher: Titan Books
RRP: £7.99
ISBN: 978 1 78116 625 3
Publication Date: 26 June 2015

The world is in danger of being overrun with monsters, but monster slaying Dave is not going to let that happen. Discovering that he is not the only person who has acquired superhuman attributes, Dave partners up with Russian spy Karen Varatschevsky in an attempt to push the Hoarde back into the hell from whence they came. But in a world under siege Dave has to choose between competing responsibilities; the protection of the world or the protection of his family...

Dave vs. the Monsters: Ascendance (2015. 390 pages) is the third in the ‘Dave’ series of books, written by John Birmingham.

In the third novel there appears to have been a shift in the focus of the book. The sections which detail Dave and Karen’s fight against the Hoarde are a lot more muted, comedically speaking, than the previous two novels. Dave used to be the man with a rude comeback and quip on every page, but now his outlook seems grimmer. The vast majority of his story felt like it had been taken up with one long protracted fight, where much of the vocal sparing is between Karen and Dave. Overall, the novel felt more like part two of Resistance than it did a standalone novel, especially as it starts, literally at the point where Resistance ended.

Fear not though lovers of levity, whilst the Hunter S. Thompson inspired lawyer may have been relegated to the far background, Threshy, not only comes into his own, but walks away with the prize for being the best character in the book. Threshy, is an empathic monster who absorbs memories and abilities by eating his victims brains. The problem with this is that, as a demon, he has few ideas which brains to consume. He hits pay dirt with Compton’s brain giving him a real live genius, as well as a navy SEAL, very useful for military tactics. Unfortunately for Threshy his most dominant absorbed personality is that of a mall rat slacker, which lends itself to a large amount of amusing passages as he tries to deal with his uptight and proper monster boss.

Like the previous books in the series, this is an entertainment novel, and the author knows it, so the pace is fast and furious. The descriptions of death and dismemberment are alternatively gross or funny.

The introduction of another main character, in the form of Karen, allows Dave to develop from the utter idiot he was in the first two books, to an idiot with regrets and a conscience, it not much of a move for most, but for Dave it’s a serious change.

This is still a book for those not easily offended, with it liberal smatterings of good old Anglo Saxon swear words and a penchant for spending too much of Dave’s time contemplating the female form. The book sets out and succeeds in giving you action, as the military combat the monsters; uber action as Dave and Karen go all super powered on Demon arse, all told with speed and humour. If you’re fourteen in either body or mind, you’ll love this series.


Charles Packer

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