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The Monstrumologist


The Monstrumologist

mon*strum*ol*o*gy   n.

1: the study of life forms generally malevolent to humans and not recognized by science as actual organism, specifically those considered products of myth and folklore

2: the act of hunting such creatures

Will Henry has been indebted --- or enslaved, depending on how you look at it --- to Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, the famed monstrumologist, since his parents died tragically in a house fire. Will followed in his father’s footsteps by continuing to assist the troubled monstrumologist, and much of his work consists of keeping the doctor fed and nourished while he flits from one project to the next. The people in New Jerusalem, New England tend to shy away from the mysterious and rumored crazy doctor, but an inexplicable horror brings a grave robber with a strange bundle knocking at an ungodly hour. Wrapped haphazardly in a burlap sack are not one but two bodies caught in an obscene embrace.

One is a young girl dressed in her burial shroud with half of her face missing. The other is a large male with one distinctive feature --- no head. Its black, lifeless eyes are located on its shoulders, and its mouth full of sharp teeth is located in the center of its stomach. The monstrumologist carefully deduces that the creature is none other than the fabled cannibalAnthropophagi and that it died choking on the girl’s pearl necklace as it began to devour her. The rumored Anthropophagi, normally found in Africa, had mysteriously made their way to the Americas at the turn of the 20th century, and Dr. Warthrop is determined to find out why and how before any more lives are lost.

The monstrumologist and Will’s journey lead them back to the graveyard where an unprovoked attack from the Anthropophagicoven sends them scrambling for their lives and answers. A fruitless visit to the insane asylum turns up another dead body and even more questions. It isn’t until the coven slaughters the local preacher’s family in gruesome fashion that Dr. Warthrop is forced to ask for help from someone who is more of a monster than a man. The local authorities also get involved, and where there is artillery there is bound to be a good old-fashioned shootout. Motives are put into question, however, as unconventional means are used to eliminate the Anthropophagiand everyone’s lives are put in danger.   

It only makes sense for Will’s journal to include as much detail as possible seeing as he is an apprentice to a thorough monstrumologist, but readers beware! THE MONSTRUMOLOGIST is not for the faint of heart. The descriptions of theAnthropophagi’s attacks upon humans will turn your stomach. If those cause nothing more than a slight discomfort, than surely the descriptions of the worm-infested bodies or the gory death scenes will initiate your gag reflex. The best part, though, is that you’re compelled to keep turning pages to see what happens next. Are Will’s journals simply a work of fiction? After all, the names, places and dates don’t match up with anything in New England’s history.

Author Rick Yancey is determined, however, for the public to see them. Known for his equally enticing Alfred Kropp books, Yancey has created a glorious start to what looks to be another promising horrific series.

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on September 22, 2009

The Monstrumologist
by Rick Yancey

  • Publication Date: July 20, 2010
  • Genres: Gothic, Horror
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 1416984496
  • ISBN-13: 9781416984498