Title: The Monstrumologist (#1)
Author: Rick Yancey
Genre: Young Adult; Gothic Horror
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
Release Date: September, 2009
Acquired: Purchased from Amazon
Read Dates: Oct. 6-8, 2013
These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed. But he is dead now and has been for more than forty years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets. The one who saved me . . . and the one who cursed me.
So starts the diary of Will Henry, orphaned assistant to Dr. Pellinore Warthorpe, a man with a most unusual specialty: monstrumology, the study of monsters. In his time with the doctor, Will has met many a mysterious late-night visitor, and seen things he never imagined were real. But when a grave robber comes calling in the middle of the night with a gruesome find, he brings with him their most deadly case yet.
A gothic tour de force that explores the darkest heart of man and monster and asks the question: When does man become the very thing he hunts?
I didn’t quite know what to expect with The Monstrumologist. I didn’t do my normal research before I starting reading. I typically read the description on Amazon, go check out the rating and reviews on Goodreads and then purchase it if it jumps through all the hoops I’ve devised. I wanted something a little scary/gruesome for Halloween so I jumped in head first and was pleasantly surprised. To tell you the truth, the cover got me with this one. It looked too “Poe-esque” to pass up.
The story is told from young Will Henry’s point of view. Will, a 12-year-old orphan, has been taken in by Dr. Pellinore Warthorpe, Monstrumologist extraordinaire, and acts as the doctor’s maid/cook/keeper/assistant/protegé. Dr. Warthorpe is the mad scientist type who has the “emotional range of a teaspoon” to quote Hermione Granger. Will is attempting to fill his father’s shoes as Dr. Warthorpe’s assistant while also trying to deal with his feelings about his parent’s deaths and the good doctor. The setting is New England in the late 1800s and while the language seemed authentic to the period, it was not so over the top as to be distracting.
Overall the book had just the right mix of creep and gore. A grave robber delivering mangled bodies in the foggy moonlight, monstrous Anthropophagi running amok in the graveyard and teenage girls incubating monster babies are just a few of the macabre twists and turns in The Monstrumologist. The story does lull in spots as Will waxes on about his psychoanalysis of the doctor, but it was easy enough to skim through his verbage. The cover did not lead me wrong about the “Poe-esqueness” (I’m pretty sure I just made up that word) of the story. It definitely had that gothic horror feel to it. It was not really scary, but it did have its creepy parts.
I’m rating The Monstrumologist 4 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed all of its gory goodness and would definitely recommend it as a great read just in time for Halloween. This is the first of The Monstrumologist series and I do plan to read the next book.
WARNING: This is a YA novel, however, I would recommend parents read it before you let your kids dive in. It is quite gory in spots and the depth of the subject matter could be too much for some young readers.
COMING NEXT: Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor