Thursday 9 June 2011

Book Review- The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

Title: The Monstrumologist-The Terror Beneath
Author: Rick Yancey
Series: The Monstrumologist #1
Published: September 22 2009 by Simon & Schuster
Length: 448 pages
Warnings:gore, monsters, references to prostitutes, very gory deaths.
Other info: There’s two more books in the series- Curse of the Wendigo and The Isle of Blood.
Summary : To most people in his Victorian-era town, Dr. Warthrop is an odd recluse who roams cemeteries and frequently visits lunatic asylums. But Dr. Warthrop's 12-year-old apprentice Will knows the truth. The doctor is a monstrumologist-someone who tracks and studies real-life monsters.

Late one night, a grave robber brings Dr. Warthrop and Will a hideous creature without its head. The wretched animal is an Anthropophagus, a terrifying beast that devours human flesh. And where there's one, there are sure to be others. Soon Dr. Warthrop and Will are on a thrilling quest to destroy an entire pod of Anthropophagi before every human in the community becomes food.

Review: We open with a prologue in the present day explaining that the following is a diary and the only adjustments that have been made are those that make the story easier to understand. Fair enough. But isnt that what most historical first person novels are? Leaving the prologue, onto the story.
Will Henry is an orphan who now works for Doctor Pellinore Warthrop, the titlular Monstrumologist. And Warthrop has Will Henry doing quite a lot of fetching and various errands etc. And quite soon, as promised by the blurb, a graverobber comes along with two bodies, one of a monster which is vaguely humanoid minus a head,  and one which is a pretty young woman which has been half eaten. And so they dissect the monster and so on, and come to the conclusion that there are many more monsters living in an American graveyard, outside their normal habitat, and that they plan to eat the population of the town and go from there.
In order to stop this Will Henry and Warthrop go various places such as a lunatic asylum and the scene of a slaughter of a family carried out by these monsters. And finally them and some people they pick up along the way plan to venture into the monsters' lair and attempt to kill the monsters. Fun times.
The first strong opinion of this book (and last) I had with this book is the prologue and epilogue are pointless. Both are present day and seem to add very little to the  story, the rest of which is set in Victorian-era America(where exactly in America I'm not sure).
Then theres the story. It starts off quite fast paced,  with the graverobber bringing in the bodies and Dr. Warthrop examining it quite soon. And then it all seems to slow down, with each part of the story taking too long to get through.
The characters can be split into two groups: one with characters like Will Henry and Warthrop and Malachi and most that appear in the first third of the book that I remember and have distinctive personalities, and the rest that all seemed to merge into one character as it was impossible to tell them apart.
The imagery was good for things like the setting and of the monsters and of the atmosphere.
The prose was too long winded and annoying. And what was wrong with saying woeful instead of saying acheronistic (or something like that-i've forgotten exactly what it said), or saying his soul instead of his psyche? If I'm reading something written in the 21st Century, I don't particularly want to come across words that come out of some book of Greek Myths (Acheron is the River of Woe and Psyche is a goddess of souls and soul mates).
The layout was slightly annoying. Every now and again there would be a picture behind the text of bloody scissors or other tools. And while it broke up the monotony of a lot of text, to have these little drawings randomly appear is annoying and just makes you wonder what the point of it is.
Overall:  Strength 2 tea to this book which had a good concept but got boring


  1. I very much agree with your review, especially your point of view that the long words and occasional flamboyant passages of fanciful philosophic description are more suited to the adult reader. I like Yancey's writing, but find his plots a little tedious sometimes, however on the whole, I enjoy his books.

  2. I agree very much with your review. I am 63 but read teenage fiction with a view to writing some of my own. I think adult readers like Yancey for his use of words but the plotlines are a little thin. I can't imagine too many teens enjoying his long words and occasional esoteric rambling prose.


Thanks for taking time to read this!
Comments are much loved.
Nina xxx

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