Two (2) Dave vs. The Monsters Shorts by John Birmingham

In the first three “Dave vs. The Monsters” books, we meet a hard-living, redneck, jerk of a guy named Dave Hooper, who just happens to gain superhero-like powers after killing a disgusting creature that invades his oil rig. Now, in two new novellas by author John Birmingham, we get to see some of the same events from the first three books through the eyes of other characters, all of whom have their own opinions of Dave.

Protocol2Title:  A Protocol for Monsters
Author: John Birmingham
Series: Dave vs. The Monsters (Dave Hooper) 1.5
Publish Date:  May 18, 2016
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: The much anticipated companion volume to Emergence, the story of Dave Hooper’s superhero embiggening. When an oil rig drills too deep under the Gulf of Mexico it breaks the capstone separating our world from the UnderRealms – home to monsters, daemons and dark magiks. The nightmares of our long ago come flooding back into the world where they are met by automatic weapons fire, heating seeking missiles (they’re hell on dragons, don’tcha know) and one drunken, dissolute son of a bitch called Dave.

But this is not Dave’s story. This is the story of the poor bastards who had to put up with him while he saved the world and acted like a jerk.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

God, I love the description of this novella. Plus, it uses the word “embiggening.” How often do you run across that word?

This novella focuses on the three folks whose job it is to study the daemon problem in the States: Professor Emmeline Ashbury, Professor Raymond Compton, and Captain Michael Heath, of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (Special Programs Division). Each character has a different perspective, a different specialty, and a different challenge.

We meet these three characters just after the fight between Dave and the daemons on the oil rig, as the government responds to the event. Profs. Ashbury and Compton head out to the rig while Captain Heath goes to get Dave. They all end up in New Orleans for the big battle.

badge4v4Though we get to see Dave interact with these characters, the novella isn’t about him, really. It’s about how these three characters respond to the daemon invasion. Prof. Ashbury is dealing with Aspergers; I find it really fascinating to read about her interactions with others from this perspective. Prof. Compton can’t see past his own MASSIVE ego, as we know from the Dave books. And Captain Heath is quietly and steadfastly attempting to deal with the professors, Dave, other goverment entites, and even civilians just to do his job. It’s actually interesting to compare the perspectives of all three of these folks on the same event as well as go “behind the scenes” of the Dave books.

A Soul Full of Guns2Title:  A Soul Full of Guns
Author:  John Birmingham
SeriesDave vs. The Monsters (Dave Hooper) 3.5
Publish Date:  May 18, 2016
Genre:  Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: When monsters and dark magicks came back into the world it looked like Dave Hooper, aka ‘Super Dave’, might be our only hope. Thankfully not. Super Dave is dumpster fire of regret and disappointment for anyone who relies on him.

Colonel Ekaterina Varatchevsky of the Russian GRU doesn’t want to rely on him. A deep cover agent operating in the US as Karen Warat, a successful New York art dealer, Karin is gifted with superpowers courtesy of killing a Threshrend Daemonum which attacks her gallery and eats rather a large number of Manhattan’s 1%. Now she doesn’t have to rely on Dave any more.

She has to target him.

This is her story. Not told by Dave. Because you can’t trust that guy.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Invested_Ivana_100Invested Ivana says…

If you’ve read the Dave books, you know that he isn’t the only one who gained superhero powers by killing a daemon.  A Soul Full of Guns is the origin story for Karen Warrat, a.k.a Colonel Ekaterina Varatchevsky of the Russian GRU.

Posing as a sophisticated art gallery owner in the US, Karen would conduct missions for the GRU. Until a daemon crashes one of her gallery parties and she’s forced to defend herself by killing one. It just so happens that the party was under serveillance by a US government agency at the time.  So now the US knows about her powers, and her own government wants her extracted—keep her away from the US, get her safely to the Russian embassy, give her a new assignment. That new assignment happens to be Dave; but he comes looking for her before she can even start.

badge4v4I really enjoyed Karen’s story. She’s a great character and I hope we get to read more about her in future books. I’m really looking forward to the origin stories of the other “superheros” as well. This novella gets a 4.5.

Our reviews in this series..


About Invested Ivana

I'm currently a freelance line editor, a book blogger at One Book Two, and lifetime reader. I like geeky things. All opinions expressed on this site are my own and do not reflect the opinions of Red Adept Editing or any of my clients, the other reviewers on this site, or this site as a whole.

Posted on June 18, 2016, in Review and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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