Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Monstrumologist, By Rick Yancey- Review

The first time I saw this book on the shelves, days after it was first released, I knew it would be right up the hubbies alley.  The cover and interior art was super cool and the subject matter was unusual, creepy and perfect.  I was right (aren't I always?!) and he ate it up, but the gory passages he kept reading off to me totally put me off reading the book forever, which, it turns out, was totally my loss.

From Goodreads:
These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed. But he is dead now and has been for nearly ninety years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets. The one who saved me . . . and the one who cursed me.

So starts the diary of Will Henry, orphan and assistant to a doctor with a most unusual specialty: monster hunting. In the short time he has lived with the doctor, Will has grown accustomed to his late night callers and dangerous business. But when one visitor comes with the body of a young girl and the monster that was feeding on her, Will's world is about to change forever. The doctor has discovered a baby Anthropophagi--a headless monster that feeds through the mouthfuls of teeth in its chest--and it signals a growing number of Anthropophagi. Now, Will and the doctor must face the horror threatening to overtake and consume our world before it is too late.

The list of Awards that Rick Yancey took home or was nominated for is probably a good indicator of the caliber of writing (he took home the 2010 Printz), but somehow it still blew me away.  Written in language you expect from a classic like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and filled with horror usually reserved for adult books, The Monstrumologist was one of the most unique YA books I've ever read.  Sure the protagonist is 12, but that would be the extent of it's pandering to a younger age group, and the story is so sophisticated I'm amazed he found a publisher willing to risk marketing to the YA audience. But these elements are what make it such a wicked YA story, finally someone is giving kids a serious horror novel to cal their own. 

What I especially appreciated about The Monstrumologist was the depth of the story.  This wasn't a cheap scare.  Will, and the doctor have a complex relationship involving not only themselves but their parents and their pasts, and as you uncover how they came to be together it's inevitable that you come to care about them but also to be as interested in them as the monsters.  And they weren't the only characters with secrets I was dying to unravel.  Between the hair raising build up, the intrigues an mystery about the various characters and the down right ghoulish horror this story really had it all.

The even better news is there are more of them! Yes, that's right, this is an ongoing series with two more published books out already, The Curse of the Wendigo and The Isle of Blood, and at least one more book to come!

The Monsturmologist, by Rick Yancey
Published by Simon and Schuster, paperback July 2010
Check out Rick's site
Buy The Monstrumologist on Amazon


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