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The Monstrumologist Paperback – July 20, 2010
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"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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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 --Este texto se refiere a la edición Mass Market Paperback.
"Yancey takes...gore and violence...to thrilling new levels in this sophisticated tale."--"School Library Journal"
"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"
"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"
"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"
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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.
Yancey expertly tells the story of Will Henry through a series of journal entries detailing an infestation of monsters in the fictitious New England town of New Jerusalem. Orphaned by a father who also apprenticed to driven monstrumologist Dr. Warthrop, Will Henry has inherited his father’s line of work. It is not an ideal situation. Young Will is often left to his own devices by the fanatical doctor and seems little more than a slave to the doctor’s passions. But Yancey clearly portrays the doctor as an unwittingly bad parent, not a bad human being; he knows much about monsters but little about human interactions which makes him a tough boss and an even harder father figure.
Together this mismatched duo will face down a herd of monsters known as Anthropophagi. Make no mistake, monsters these be, with mouths like sharks with rows upon rows of teeth in the middle of their stomachs, eyes black as night in each shoulder blade, razor like claws ten inches long and legs that propel them to incredible speeds and leaping heights of thirty feet, these beasts eat one thing…man. How a herd of thirty remained undetected and in the same town as a man whose sole job it is to study such creatures is a mystery at the epicenter of the plot.
Broken into three folios each with about a half dozen chapters, Mr. Yancey does a wonderful job of propelling this fantastically gruesome tale to a very satisfying conclusion. A sure footed writer, Yancey is more than capable of juxtaposing the gruesome, the beautiful, the profane, and the profound in admirable ways. There are philosophical musings on mortality, about man versus nature, and about human abandonment that stand in stark counterpoint to the numerous vivisections, beheadings, and brain matter. And while the plot veers towards the serpentine as the pieces of the puzzle fall into place to explain the origins of the monsters, Yancey never loses the reader to careless plotting.
That is not to say that there is not a misstep or two in this first outing. As a one star reviewer noted the characters are a little cliché and at times one dimensional. You have your usual crazed monster hunters, bungling gentlemen constables, the mad scientist, and the orphaned apprentice. However, Yancey more than makes up for these common set pieces with the most fantastical of monsters that are at once foreign and familiar and whose ruthless pursuits are described in gore soaked detail that will appeal to the most jaded of horror fans.
There is much to like in this first outing. I cannot say it is a must read, but it is a solid story told with extraordinary skill. Definitely not for all audiences, but if you are at all curious I suspect you will find it worthy of the price and will be looking forward to the next installment.
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!