The Isle of Blood (Monstrumologist)

by Rick Yancey | Horror |
ISBN: 1416984526 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 10/18/2011
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This book is in a Controlled Release! This book is in a Controlled Release!
3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Tuesday, October 18, 2011
I enjoyed the first two books in this series very much indeed; The Monstrumologist introduced the characters (and sent them through a hellish adventure), and Curse of the Wendigo dealt with the "is it supernatural or not" issue and an even more hellish adventure... I became very fond of the main characters, young Will Henry and his eccentric, dedicated, and troubled boss, Dr. Warthrop, and was delighted when I saw that another book was coming out.

The series premise: a set of "found" journals contain the account of a professional monster-hunter and his young assistant in the late 1800's. The story presumes that some varieties of mythological monsters really do exist and are studied by a small group of scientists who call themselves monstrumologists. [They deal in creatures that, however fantastical they may appear or behave, are still natural creatures; Dr. Warthrop, young Will's employer, is especially disdainful of attempts to discover supernatural beings such as vampires.] The story is told by young Will, who, having lost his parents in a singularly awful accident, has taken his father's place as assistant to Warthrop, who tends to treat him like a machine when he isn't ignoring him. (He's not deliberately cruel, just so focused on his work that he doesn't seem capable of normal human interaction; we learn a bit more about his background during the course of this and the following book.) Will doesn't like him - in fact, in his journals he goes to great lengths to repeat that he does NOT love the doctor - yet he seems bound to him, and is unwilling to leave him even to be given a home and schooling more suitable to his age.

This volume adds another layer to the existing literary-agent setup - after dealing with "editor" Yancey's latest investigations into the journals, the book opens with Will Henry, after "several years" of service under Warthrop, asking his master for permission to submit an account of a particular case to the journals - only to have Warthrop refuse in no uncertain terms. So the story Will proceeds to tell only comes to light after Warthrop's death, it would seem, though it takes place in the early years of his and Will's acquaintance.

The story deals with a new and different type of creature, one that makes its nests in remote regions - and out of human remains, and which is considered the "Holy Grail" of monstrumologists, elusive, deadly, and (so far) impossible to capture. Warthrop gets caught up in the pursuit when a former friend, the rather psychotic Hearns, sends him a piece of the creature's nest, under circumstances both tantalizing and dangerous.

But when Warthrop begins making plans for a new expedition, his mentor von Helrung urges him to get a new apprentice and spare Will the hazards - and he has a candidate in mind, one who immediately impresses Warthrop. Will winds up staying with the Bates family, including Lilly, von Helrung's niece, whom he'd met (and argued with, and been picked on by) in the previous book. At first it seems that a normal life, regular meals, respectful treatment, all might conspire to lead him away from his former master, but then he gets news that shocks him into action...

There's a lot going on in this story, including a rather elaborate series of ruses (by the villains of the piece and then by the heroes), but eventually the quest reaches the remote island that is supposedly the home of the mysterious monster - by way of a trip to Venice, where we see a different side to the good doctor.

On the island itself - well, this series often gets very grim and terrible, and this one's no different; while it took a long time in the setting up of the situation, once we get to the climax it's unnerving in the extreme. And while I had deduced part of what was going on, there were still bits that surprised me.

I find these books rather harrowing, much like the touchy relationship between Will and Warthrop, yet I find I can't look away...

[There's a TV Tropes page for the series, rather brief so far but it may be of interest. And the series is available on unabridged audio, narrated by Steven Boyer, who does a fine job. Oh, and the author has a web site here.]

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Monday, October 20, 2014

Released 6 yrs ago (10/20/2014 UTC) at Nashua, New Hampshire USA


I'm sending this to BCer hyphen8 in Hawaii as a bonus wish-fulfillment; enjoy!

*** Released for the 2014 Spook-tacular Halloween Challenge. ***

Journal Entry 3 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Wednesday, November 05, 2014
This book hitched a ride to Honolulu with a wishlist tag book - thank you again!

I love all the little drawings in these books...

(Larger photo here.)

Journal Entry 4 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Sunday, March 29, 2015
Another wild adventure with Will Henry and the doctor: in many ways this one is more stressful than ever for poor Will.

The relationship between the two main characters is indeed a complicated one: even Will can't figure it out. On the other hand, it was good to see some characters from earlier adventures make a reappearance (and perhaps not so good that one name turned up again). We get to learn a little more about the doctor's youth, and get a few more clues about Will's later life, but not really enough of either: I'll have to wait & see what the next volume brings.

I'll count this for kiwiinengland's 2015 Around the World Reading Challenge, since much of the story leads up to the eventual climax in Socotra (politically part of Yemen these days).

I've yet to find an origami model by someone from Yemen, so I'll toss in a representation of their flag instead. (Larger photo here.)

Journal Entry 5 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Sunday, March 29, 2015

Released 5 yrs ago (3/23/2015 UTC) at Honolulu, Hawaii USA


Headed out as a wishlist tag - enjoy!

Released for Secretariat's 2015 Never Judge a Book By Its Cover Challenge (week 12), eponine38's 4 Elements Challenge, and Secretariat's Oh, the Places We Can Go Challenge.

Journal Entry 6 by wingHI77wing at Fort Myers, Florida USA on Wednesday, April 15, 2015
The wings are out,

spread bright and red
pumping against the sky.

Journal Entry 7 by wingHI77wing at Fort Myers, Florida USA on Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Released 5 yrs ago (8/18/2015 UTC) at Fort Myers, Florida USA


Well! I haven't read this one yet, but by some weird twist, I wound up getting another copy of this set. So I didn't want to hold onto these and let them collect dust.

Of course, it's only too easy to find someone who wants to read them. So off they go! ;)

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