The Monstrumologist

by Rick Yancey | Horror |
ISBN: 1416984496 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 3/19/2011
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, March 19, 2011
I bought this trade paperback at the Borders closeout sale - I'd read and enjoyed the book in hardcover, but wanted another copy to release. The premise: a set of "found" journals contain the account of a professional monster-hunter and his young assistant in the late 1800's.

I really enjoyed this book! It 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 story opens with the presentation of a bizarre corpse to the doctor in the middle of the night - a graverobber has found something so weird that even he can't set it aside. It turns out to be a monstrous creature with gaping jaws in the middle of its torso, a legendary species that came from Africa - so how, asks Warthrop, did this one wind up devouring a body in a New England graveyard?

The answer to that question will lead Warthrop and Will on journeys to scenes of carnage and to halls of despair, and will reveal some very dark secrets indeed. And the cost in lives will be considerable...

I enjoyed the difficult relationship between Will and the doctor, the lovingly-described details of the doctor's investigations, the description of a legendary being as a living creature with its own behaviors and habitats - it almost made me believe such things could exist {wry grin}, the detective work necessary to track down the creatures, and the tactical maneuvers needed to try to contain them before they killed again. The supporting characters included several interesting ones (though it doesn't do to get too attached to anyone but the main characters, as you never know how long they'll survive). And there's a guest appearance by a dashing, disturbing fellow who might just have had an infamous career in Whitechapel, London, a few years later...

Creepy and terrifying, fascinating, darkly humorous, sometimes touching - I want to read more about Will Henry and Dr. Warthrop.

[There's a TV Tropes page for the series, rather brief so far but it may be of interest. And I enjoyed the unabridged-audio version of the book, narrated by Steven Boyer. Oh, and the author has a web site here.]

Released 7 yrs ago (10/29/2014 UTC) at Corner Of Massachusetts Avenue And Beacon Street in Boston, Massachusetts USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I finally paid a visit to this little phone-box/OBCZ. No books there when I arrived, so I added a few of mine to the little bracket inside. Hope the finder enjoys them!

*** Released for the 2014 Spook-tacular Halloween Challenge, for the full moon on the cover. ***

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