The Monstrumologist


Author: Rick Yancey

Publication: 2010, Simon & Schuster

Pages: 464

Overall Rating: bth_5-star-rating_zps467d5332[1]

Rating for Action: bth_5-star-rating_zps467d5332[1]

Quantity of Action: bth_35_zps7a173504[1]

Age Category: 13+

Brief Summary: Twelve year old Will Henry is apprenticed to Pellinore Warthrop, a brilliant and utterly self-absorbed monstrumologist in 1880’s New England.  When a grave robber shows up at their house bearing the body of a young girl, it kicks off a dark and bloody hunt for a pack of  Anthropophagi  – headless, shark toothed, nocturnal predators whose prey of choice are human beings.   The adventure will move from cemetery to nightmarish asylum, to a set of underground catacombs where death hides around every corner, as Will and his mentor work with a dangerously deranged monster hunter to put an end to the grisly threat.

Age of Main Character: 12

What I Liked the Most: Yancey writes with a rich sense of language reminiscent of the best gothic horror novels, and his characters are beautifully drawn.  Will Henry shines as the orphaned apprentice whose fierce loyalty to Warthrop is matched only by his hatred for the man.  And Warthrop is a whirlwind force – utterly self-absorbed and laser focused on his studies, as each up and down of the pursuit sends him pinballing from manic to depressed.  And then there’s the monster hunter – all bright teeth and jaunty attitude with the cold calculation of a murderous psychopath underneath.  Even the most minor characters here are brought fully to life.  And towering over all of them is the haunting presence of the Anthropophagi, the soulless predators of the night that I couldn’t help comparing to Alien.

What I Liked the Least: This is probably one of those rare books where the answer is, nothing.

How Good was the Action?  The Monstrumologist is more horror than action, but don’t let that fool you.  The scenes where Will finds himself facing off against –or running from – the Anthropophagi are spine-tinglingly good.  It’s a mad rush of darkness and adrenaline-soaked fear that will keep you up late into the night.   

How Engaging was the Story?  Given the combination of rich characters, beautiful language, terror, and heart-pounding action it should come as no surprise that this is one book you won’t want to put down.  And it’s not just a monster hunt.  It’s also a mystery, a desperate search for how and why the Anthropophagi  – who are native to Africa – came to be in New England.  And the search for answers will force Warthrop to confront his own darkest demons.

Profanity: None

Sex: None

Violence: Absolutely.  This is more horror than action, and while Yancey’s main character may be twelve, is has all the blood, gore, and dark terror of an adult horror novel.  The Anthropophagi literally tear their victims apart, and Yancey doesn’t shirk from describing the carnage in all its gory detail.  This is not a book for the faint of heart.

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