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The Final Descent (The Monstrumologist) Hardcover – September 10, 2013

4 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews
Book 4 of 4 in the Monstrumologist Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—After his parents died, William James Henry became the ward of and apprentice to eccentric Dr. Pellinore Warthrop. One of the last of his kind, Warthrop is a practitioner of "aberrant biology," a monstrumologist. During the years of his strange education, Will has been exposed to the monstrosities of both humanity and nature and has come to resent the mutually destructive nature of his relationship with his aging mentor. Unfortunately, his dissatisfaction could not have happened at worse time. There is a mysterious threat to Warthrop's career: an attempt to steal the last living specimen of a rare species with venom that could be used either as a destructive weapon or a powerful drug. This supernatural, noir-like thriller effortlessly builds intrigue as Will contemplates the past mistakes that have lead him to his current situation. The premise of the book is that Yancey is an editor who is trying to decipher Will's journals; he is unsure whether the incredible events he reads about actually occurred or if he is the victim of an elaborate hoax. This device makes the story less narrative and more contemplative, with many of its short chapters devoted to poetry and philosophy. Overall, Yancey's latest installation in the series is strong enough to stand on its own.—Ryan F. Paulsen, New Rochelle High School, NY

From Booklist

*Starred Review* It can now be said with assurance that The Monstrumologist series is a landmark of modern YA fiction. Even given the remarkable Printz Honor–winning first book, who could have predicted the haunting, profound developments of the subsequent titles, none more so than this penetrating, devastating coda. Yes, there is a monster: the T. cerrejonensis, a dangerous reptilian creature thought to be extinct for 100 years. But the true monster is Will Henry himself, now 16 and becoming “the most aberrant of aberrant life forms.” Though his upsetting maturation is logical, even inevitable, fans will be shocked to see their beloved Will surpass the cruelty of his master, Warthrop, as he fights, in gruesome manner, a crime organization for possession of the monster. Will goes too far; some readers might wonder if the author goes too far as well. This, however, is Yancey’s finest hour, as he juggles—no, melds—three time frames and stares unblinking into humankind’s darkest heart. It is a work of tremendous courage; both Yancey and Will are forced to consider the void: “The innocent perish. The stupid, the banal, the wicked—they go on and on.” Beyond a simple finale, this is a brave statement about the duplexity of good and evil, and the deadly trap in which all of us are snared. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Yanceys a big best-seller now, thanks to the The 5th Wave (2013), and all that new attention should rub off on this final volume in a critically adored series. Grades 9-12. --Daniel Kraus

Product Details

  • Series: The Monstrumologist (Book 4)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (September 10, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 144245153X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442451537
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #348,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rick Yancey is the author several books for adults, including The Highly Effective Detective. He is also a produced playwright and former theater critic. He lives in Gainesville, Florida with his wife and three sons. Visit him at www.rickyancey.com.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#21 in Books > Teens
#21 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The world of Pellinore Warthrop and Will Henry almost ended before the fans of the Monstrumologist and his apprentice fought back and demanded an ending. The Final Descent might not be the ending you pictured or hoped for, but was there any other way to end their story? Rick Yancey ends this phenomenal series with more devastating heartbreak than I was ready for. But for the life of a monstrumologist, you have to be ready for anything.

When a man seeks out Warthrop to sell him the greatest find in generations of the field of monstrumology, Warthrop assumes it is a fraud. But Will Henry takes it upon himself to check it out. What he finds is quite possibly the most terrifying and most ground breaking creature they have ever seen: the last of its kind. While still unhatched, the egg, stolen from its seller, must be cared for with the utmost of precision. Warthrop and Will Henry are brought back together through the care for the egg and the future implications such a find could bring them. But the damage to their relationship is too big for one find to cure.

Flash forward years. Will Henry finally returns to the man who made him what he has become, but what he finds is not the strong, confident, aloof Warthrop. Instead he finds a broken man surrounded by the horror he has wreaked upon himself. For all of Warthrop's determination in his field has left him broken and determined to find the end that he deserves- one without the love of another human being. The story of Will Henry and Warthrop didn't end with that egg, but the connection between them had never been so fragile. Warthrop's created the Will who now stands before him, but he can't bring himself to take credit for the man Will Henry has become.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
**Never any spoilers!!**

I wouldn't exactly classify this as a new Monstrumologist book in the same vein as the other three, but I think if you go about reading this book expecting an ending to a magnificent series, you'll enjoy it. Really, it's a capstone to three marvelous, masterful works, more than it is a story in an of itself--hence the shorter length is fitting. The Final Descent is more of a character study, where we get the inevitable conclusion to the story of these characters as they face their own monsters, more than any external one as in the three pervious books. Mr. Yancey has created such vivid characters in the series, characters that have faced every darkness and horror, that now that I'm finished reading this final book, I can't imagine a different way to wrap it all up. It all goes down in a very haunting, stunning and memorable way.

This series is astounding--by far my favorite that I've read. The prose is really unmatched, and that continues in this fourth book. I'm sad to see the series end, but the ending was appropriate, and I know Will Henry will remain with me for a very long time.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wish I'd never read this final Monstrumologist book. It was horribly different from the first three, the charm and humor was completely absent, and the ending was -- not to put too fine a point on it -- a /huge/ let-down. If you liked the story through the first three books, you might just do yourself a favor and not read the last installment.

Spoilers to follow, so don't continue if you don't want to know.


I've read other reviews wherein the writer stated that this was the only ending the books could possibly have. I certainly beg to differ. The fact that Will Henry basically ends up a serial killer was overblown and unnecessary. What's the problem here ... he could not interpret the Doctor's actions as "love"? He thought his upbringing was so incredibly awful? Will Henry's upbringing reminded me of a farm kid's: having to do things to animals that non-farmers would surely look upon as cruel and "harmful to a child's delicate nature". Ringing the noses of hogs, castrating the males not needed for breeding, slaughtering animals ... in Will Henry's case it was monsters, but still. The comparison remains.

The way the Doctor ended up was horrible. His demise at the hands of Will Henry (despite the too-little, too-late kiss on the head) was absolutely, shockingly unnecessary. When we find out Will Henry wasn't even really Will Henry ... words can't describe the sense of something very close to betrayal. My feelings as I read it: shock, grief, dismay ... directed mostly at Mr. Yancey for dragging me down a hole I did not want to enter.

I was crushed by the way Mr. Yancey ended his story.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really love the Monstrumologist series. I was glad that the audience got one more book, but I have to admit I was disappointed by it. For me, I really didn't like the format of the book. I know that there was an explanation for this in the beginning, but it is hard to adjust to it especially since the previous three books were not set up like this in terms of being kind of all over the place and incoherent at some points. It makes sense in terms of what the editor says at the beginning, but as a reader and a fan, I found that to be hard to deal with at points. Also, I found the relationship between Warthrop and Will Henry to be really upsetting. I don't know about other fans of the series, but I always enjoyed the relationship between these two in terms of Will Henry being extremely devoted and loyal to the doctor and Warthrop loving Will Henry in his own strange way. Seeing how angry and horrible Will Henry was to Warthrop just didn't fit to me. It just didn't make sense, at least not to me, and I found myself completely disliking Will Henry at some points. It seemed strange to me that he would change into this cold, angry person in just a matter of a few years, which seemed to be the span of time between the third book and this one. This was something I really didn't like, and I didn't feel like it made sense in terms of the series. Lastly, I wish that the literal monster, the snake creature, had been expanded or that a different monster had been chosen because I felt like the monster aspect of the book was really in the background this time, and I felt like the plot was a little thin because of it. There was no quest of sorts as there had been in the previous books. I want to say that I am glad I read this book and I am glad that the series got to be finished out.Read more ›
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