Review: The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

The Monstrumologist (The Monstrumologist, #1) by Rick Yancey

How did I get it: The library.

Why did I read it: I’ve been meaning to for a long time, and I really wanted something scary and unique for car rides to and from work. After awhile though I had to switch to print because I needed to know what happened and couldn’t come up with enough excuses to drive around the block for hours on end. (The book will also count towards my Horror & Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge for 2011)

How I would rate it: 5 out of 5 stars.


“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 threatenning to overtake and consume our world before it is too late.

Review: I cannot believe that this book was never ever recommended to me. I suppose no one who knows me well enough has read it, but this is basically the ideal Horror novel for me in every concievable respect. I laughed, I got misty-eyed, I felt incredibly nauseous, I possess an irrational fear of something that doesn’t exist, and I still occasionally contemplate sleeping with the light on.

There is nothing better than a new twist on the familiar coupled with a large dose of originality. Yes, there is a lot here that reminds me of other great books or entertaining authors who also specialize in Horror, but only because The Monstrumologist achieves the same sort of wonderful, terrifying uniquenesss that left me salivating for the next installment. The Anthropophagi in of themselves are probably the creepiest monsters I’ve listened to and eventually read about in a long time. Hearing of their brutal actions and appetites will probably take hours out of your regularly scheduled sleep cycle, but if you’re a fan of being scared out of your wits, you will definitely wish you could thank Yancey for it. And I am beyond impressed by just how Lovecraftian the story was in terms of its themes without ever becoming a lousy imitation or knock-off.

Although Will Henry has probably the most amazing recollection of events ever possessed by a narrator, and there was a bit of unnecessary repetition from time to time, it hardly mattered to me at all in comparision to what was done right in terms of plot, details, and characterization. There is so much going on here, and all of it is just so engaging and enthralling. I loved Will Henry and his mentor/tormentor/guardian, Pelinore Walthrop who is exactly what you would get if you put Sherlock Holmes, Lord Byron, Herbert West, Randolph Carter, and Severus Snape into a blender. So imagine putting such a person in charge of a very young boy who lost his family in the most traumatic way possible and what you get is a fascinating, heart-wrenching disaster with more than its far share of nauseatingly disgusting monsters. Their relationship is as moving as it is haunting and decidedly frustrating since both Will and Pelinore are incapable of truly understanding one another.  I also hope to see more of Jack Kearnes who was as charming as only a psychopath could be.

In conclusion, what the heck is wrong with me and what rock have I been living under since 2009? On a more serious note, if you read or listen to only one book in celebration of the Halloween season, read The Monstrumologist. It is amazing, and I am not surprised that the near-reality of not getting the rest of the series created such a tremendous uproar. I will be buying the entire series for myself as soon as possible, and for others who may or may not thank me for it later.

About April

I'm a librarian, reader, and writer whose main goal in life is to be able to swim in books the way Scrooge McDuck swims in money. Although my reading choices will always be wildly eclectic and I never plan on leaving any genre unexplored, my favorite reads tend to be Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Gay Romance, or Historical Fiction. You can e-mail me at inspector[dot]librarian[at]gmail[dot]com.
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8 Responses to Review: The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

  1. Noel. says:

    Great review! This book sounds pretty awesome. =3

  2. Paul D. Dail says:

    And again, I am thoroughly impressed by your reviewing abilities. You note the small details that most other reviewers would miss (such as Will’s “amazing recollection of events”) but keep them in perspective for your review. Still waiting to get my book in a trade paperback so I can send it to you in hopes of getting a review. While it is different than this book (which sounds like a lot of fun, especially given the hints of Lovecraft), based on the first paragraph of your review, I think you would enjoy it.

    In the meantime, thanks for this new recommendation.

    Paul D. Dail A horror writer’s not necessarily horrific blog

    • Thank you! I really loved this book and I’m still very excited to read yours once print copies are available. I just finished the second book and it was a little less awesome, but still really great. I’ll probably get a review for it up later this week.

  3. Pingback: Review: The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey | CSI: Librarian

  4. Pingback: Reader’s Progress #40 | CSI: Librarian

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