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Dave vs. The Monsters: Resistance
by John Birmingham
Del Rey, mass market pb $9.99, 380pp
Published: June 2015

Click here for review of first book, Dave vs. The Monsters: Emergence.

More plain fun.  Ripping through this one in record time, too.  Wonderfully fun characterizations, simple plot but with twists and turns, and great changing points-of-view.  I like being on the inside with the monsters.  And it’s hard not to sympathize with Dave, even when he’s being an asshole.

Dave is still a sorry excuse for a man.  But it’s getting harder to tell.  He’s being all heroic and shit by kicking monster butt, he’s all trim and fit with muscles everywhere, his hair is growing back and he’s discovered he exudes some kind of pheromone that practically guarantees he can bang any woman who comes within reach.  But Dave is still all about Dave.  And he can have some real dumb moments. He’s real happy when hotels and restaurants open their doors and larders for him, making him feel real good and worthy.  He’s less happy when Captain Heath, of the Navy SEALS protecting him, questions his motivations and then orders him about.  Dave sees himself as a volunteer and not a military grunt to just take orders.  So when the Horde out-maneuvers them and captures his team, Dave is not in the mood to follow Heath’s orders if they don’t mesh with his opinion.  The Horde splits up their prize and Heath orders Dave to follow the group carrying their most important prize.  Dave, on the other hand, doesn’t see it the same way and pursues the group carrying away Emmeline.  He succeeds in rescuing her and destroying the raiding group of Horde but the other group gets away with their captives – the scientist Compton and several SEALS – most of whom go into the bloodpots.  In Dave’s defense, Compton was a bit of an ass-hat and there’s no way that he or Heath could have known to what use the Horde would make of Compton. 

But the ramifications are dire for all humans as Compton will be the one to make the inexplicable humans more understandable to the Horde – and easier to defeat.  The Horde, you see, have their own superhero.  The Horde is popping up all over the world now that their prison is breaking apart but the humans are proving pretty resilient and hard to kill.  This is frustrating to the Horde but armed with Compton’s knowledge they may have a fighting chance.

In a perfectly serious dramatic plot, the hero would step up to a higher moral ground leaving behind his or her weaknesses but this is, most certainly, not a perfectly serious dramatic plot.  This is about an average guy who gets gifted with extraordinary powers but is the same guy inside.  People don’t change that much; so when Dave sees a chance to bang a real-life Princess or even Jennifer Aniston, that’s where his attention and priorities are going to go.  And he’s being bombarded with commercial offers that will be sure to make him rich including a movie deal with Brad Pitt.  But he still agonizes over the IRS after him for not filing and what his soon-to-be ex-wife will do to him.  So along the way he picks up a clever little lawyer who is willing to spend every waking moment making Dave’s life more about Dave.  And that’s some compensation for how shitty he feels when he thinks of the SEALS who died because of his action and of Heath’s rejection of him.  But it’s the lawyer who brings him the deal that will change the course of his life; because there’s another human out there just like Dave! 

It sure doesn’t seem possible for humans to totally defeat the monster horde or even push them back into their prison – since they have no idea what the prison was or how it was even done.  I’m dying to know those details.  One more book to go…  ~~  Catherine Book

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