The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
“These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed. But he is dead now and has been for more than forty 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, orphaned assistant to Dr. Pellinore Warthorpe, a man with a most unusual specialty: monstrumology, the study of monsters. In his time with the doctor, Will has met many a mysterious late-night visitor, and seen things he never imagined were real. But when a grave robber comes calling in the middle of the night with a gruesome find, he brings with him their most deadly case yet.
A gothic tour de force that explores the darkest heart of man and monster and asks the question: When does man become the very thing he hunts?”
Goosebumps. Queasiness. Shivers. Those are just some of the things I felt while reading this young adult horror story by the talented Rick Yancey.
Now, although there was plenty of splattered blood, spilled guts and gnashing teeth, there was also plenty of story. When I wasn’t cringing and shuddering, I was laughing (Snap to, Will Henry! Snap to!), pondering and grieving. I thought each character was solidly written and constructed, the dialogue snappy and witty, and the story itself intriguing and terrifying.
Above all, I enjoyed the gradual evolution of Dr. Warthorpe and Will Henry’s relationship. Although they never reach that father/son status, a definite bond forms between them as the book progresses–an endearing, protective bond that connects the quirky monstrumologist and his reluctant assistant. “Oh, Will Henry. After all we have been through, how could I send you away now, at our most critical hour? You are indispensable to me.” Both man and boy prove to be equally determined, courageous and moralistic, giving the reader a reason to cheer and love them both.
With the month of October nearly upon us and Halloween just around the corner, I highly recommend this chilling yet touching read.
“Yes, my dear child, monsters are real. I happen to have one hanging in my basement.”
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