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The Monstrumologist Hardcover – September 22, 2009
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With a roaring sense of adventure and enough viscera to gag the hardiest of gore hounds, Yancey’s series starter might just be the best horror novel of the year. Will Henry is the 12-year-old apprentice to Pellinore Warthrop, a brilliant and self-absorbed monstrumologist--a scientist who studies (and when necessary, kills) monsters in late-1800s New England. The newest threat is the Anthropophagi, a pack of headless, shark-toothed bipeds, one of whom’s corpse is delivered to Warthrop’s lab courtesy of a grave robber. As the action moves from the dissecting table to the cemetery to an asylum to underground catacombs, Yancey keeps the shocks frequent and shrouded in a splattery miasma of blood, bone, pus, and maggots. The industrial-era setting is populated with leering, Dickensian characters, most notably the loathsome monster hunter hired by Warthrop to enact the highly effective “Maori Protocol” method of slaughter. Yancey’s prose is stentorian and wordy, but it weaves a world that possesses a Lovecraftian logic and hints at its own deeply satisfying mythos. Most effective of all, however, is the weirdly tender relationship between the quiet, respectful boy and his strict, Darwinesque father figure. “Snap to!” is Warthrop’s continued demand of Will, but readers will need no such needling. -- Daniel Kraus
"This gothic thriller will appeal to kids who like scary with high brow Dickensian writing...Yancey builds the action towards the climactic cemetary scene while also deftly handling the changing interpersonal dynamic between the doctor and Will. REaders who enjoyed Yancey's Alfred Kropp series...won't want to miss this one. Recommended."--Library Media Connection
"Yancey takes...gore and violence...to thrilling new levels in this sophisticated tale."--School Library Journal
"This story is gothic horror at its finest and most disturbing. A cross between Mary Shelley and Stephen King, the tale will force readers to stay up late to finish and then remain awake, afraid to shut off the lights...The richness of the language, the strain of wry humor, and the perfectly drawn characters make it a marvelous read...This book is perfect for readers who want their nightmares in a literary package."--VOYA
"This has all the elements of the best Victorian mystery and horror...Readers who like their horror truly horrible and yet archly distant and peppered with ecstatic Victorian-scented comments on the woes of the human condition will jump right in and not emerge until the last relieved gasp."--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Top customer reviews
The surprise was the writing style. I didn't expect eloguent language, talented writing, page-flipping suspense, but it delivered all of that. So don't rule this one because you don't think this would be your cup of tea. It just may be.
The monsters: Wow. Anthropophagi. Ok so I kind of picture this Nickelodeon 90's cartoon monster character who was all shoulders, no head, but at times the narrator describes them as crocodile-like in their viscousness and how they hunt and then I saw them as more horrifying. What they do though-geez! Sick. And this author, Mr. Yancey doesn't hold back! I think that's what I loved about the book. I find in a lot of books, there is mundane, mundane, and then in one big climax there is something revolting or so out there that it makes a 3 star book a 5 star just for it's daringness. Well this whole book is pretty daring. In one point the monsters, the anthropophagi, rip apart a family in their home. One of the victims body is literarily in shreds all over the house, you can hardly tell it was once human, and that's a 5 year-old. I feel a lot of authors keep it safe (or sane) and stay away from child brutalities like that but this book is just honest, if that makes sense at all. It could happen to a kid, it does, it's horrifying and sick and it makes the reader, at least in my case, turn the pages even faster to get to the ending to find if justice is served.
At first I didn't think I would be able to go on with the series, but I finished the book last night and immediately started with the Curse of the Wendigo <3. It definitely picks up and then you can't get your head out of the story.
It's not as gory as I suspected. People described it as extremely disgusting. I think if the murders described were in present tense like "the monster rips off the girls arm", it would of been a lot harder to read, but after the fact, it wasn't so hard to swallow. It wasn't sane but it made for a good read. As for worms being filled in ones body, eh, not so bad for me.
I can't wait to read every book in this series and it may just be a top 5 in my favorite series list!
Don't read it if you are alone.
Don't read it if you are scared of monsters!
Don't read it if you are scared of the grave yards!
Don't read it if you are scared of scary things!
The plot starts with a prologue when a very old man dies and leaves behind his diaries. The diaries include a strange story of Monstrumologist.
The monstrumologists seem to have exists and even have had a society of their own even if nobody knew it.
A young boy called Will Henry tells how a man called Erasmus Gray pulls his horse and cart up to Dr. Warthrop's house (where the orphan boy lives) in the middle of the night. He reveals the body of a young woman and an Anthropophagi, "one wrapped around the other in an obscene embrace." The girl has part of her neck and face torn out..with fangs or something like that.
Dr. Warthrop dissects both the girl and the monster, and finds an Anthropophagi fetus in the dead girl's womb.Warthrop explains to Will Henry that Anthropophagi require a host to grow their young in. Dr. Warthrop theorizes that because Anthropophagi are indigenous to Africa and have never been seen in the Americas before, there could only be one or two more in the area at most...or so he thought...The following night, Warthrop, Gray, and Will Henry go to the cemetery to return the girl's body to her grave.They meet the monsters, one of them loses his live and the other ones need to reconsider their theories and beliefs of these horrible monsters.