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The Curse of the Wendigo


The Curse of the Wendigo

As apprentice to Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, the renowned monstrumologist, Will Henry has seen his fair share of creatures that go bump in the night. He has also grown accustomed to the somewhat unusual habits of the doctor, including irregular sleeping patterns, fascination with blood and gore, and troubling nightmares. Will Henry didn’t necessarily choose this life of studying monsters, but his devotion to his master is what keeps him going, even when that devotion leads to trouble.

Trouble, it seems, finds Dr. Warthrop even at his own doorstop. First, he learns that his old mentor, Dr. von Helrung, is planning on presenting a paper at next month’s monstrumology symposium proving the existence of the mythical and legendary Wendigo, a creature that starves even while it eats. What’s more, Dr. Warthrop’s old love interest, Muriel Chanler, shows up at his home begging for help. Her husband, John, is lost in the Canadian wilderness after searching for the Wendigo. With deep conviction, Will Henry and the doctor set off to find Chanler and prove, once and for all, that the Wendigo does not exist. 

After enlisting the help of a Canadian Mountie, Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry search to find clues to Chanler’s whereabouts. Nothing, though, can prepare them for what they do find. Not far from one of their campsites, a body is found. Its skin has been ripped from its torso, save the face, and everything remains intact except for a large hole in the middle of its torso. Will Henry soon discovers that the heart has been ripped out and left with a small chunk bitten from it. Wendigo rumors fly rapidly, but the doctor remains convinced that this is the work of a regular mortal.

It isn’t until Will Henry and the doctor meet the local shaman, Jack Fiddler, deep in the Canadian wilderness, that they discover Chanler and the history behind the legend of the Wendigo. Fiddler has been holding Chanler hostage, waiting for him to change into a Wendigo after supposedly being attacked by one. Dr. Warthrop immediately sets out to rescue Chanler and return him to civilization, ignoring all warnings from Fiddler about the curse of the Wendigo.

Through a series of mishaps and a harrowing escape from the vast wastelands of Canada, Will Henry, Dr. Warthrop and Chanler make it back to civilization. Chanler, however, isn’t the same person, and neither is Will Henry. He’s not entirely convinced that the Wendigo isn’t real. As the symposium draws closer, Dr. Warthrop prepares his defense against the existence of such a gruesome creature, and Will Henry remains as loyal as ever. Some thing or some creature seems to be following them, however, and it’s calling Will Henry’s name.

For those of you who enjoyed the first book in this award-winning series, THE MONSTRUMOLOGIST, Rick Yancey’s latest effort does not disappoint. The elements of the story are still not for the faint of heart, and the creatures Yancey creates continue to be gruesome and highly frightening. Seeing the complex world of monstrumology through the eyes of Will Henry only adds to the overall effect of understanding the terrifying and courageous work of Will Henry’s mentor, Pellinore Warthrop. Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry’s relationship continues to strengthen as the series continues, and although they show their concern for each other in unconventional ways, the bond between them is central to the whole book. I, for one, cannot wait to see what Yancey comes up with next.

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on October 12, 2010

The Curse of the Wendigo
by Rick Yancey

  • Publication Date: October 12, 2010
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 141698450X
  • ISBN-13: 9781416984504