Supernatural Fiction Readers discussion

Common reads > The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

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message 1: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1324 comments Our common read for this month, by group vote, is The Monstrumologist, written by Rick (short for Richard) Yancey, an IRS agent from Florida turned writer, who has several previous novels for both adults and YA readers to his credit. This particular book is a series opener, with two more recent installments already published. Participation is, as always, voluntary, but I'd say it looks like scary reading well in keeping with the Halloween season!

I haven't got my copy yet; I do hope, this week, that I'll be able to get back to a normal reading schedule (I should know tomorrow), but the local branch of our county public library doesn't have a copy. So, I'll have to have one sent here from another branch, and that'll take a few days. But anyone who wants to can comment, pose questions, share reactions, etc. in the meantime! For all those who post, at any time during this discussion, I'd suggest that if you want to share something that's in the nature of a spoiler for those who start late or read more slowly (or both), you enclose that part of your post in a hypertext spoiler sign, which uses the < and > marks the same way you do to italicize something, except that instead of i and /i, you use spoiler and /spoiler. That will hide that part of your post behind a "view spoiler" link that has to be clicked on to be read; and it'll save us from having to start a spoiler thread in addition to this regular one!

message 2: by Werner (last edited Oct 06, 2011 10:00AM) (new)

Werner | 1324 comments Things didn't develop as favorably as I'd hoped earlier this week, and it's now looking like it'll be longer than I thought before I can get back to reading seriously. So, I might not get to take part in this read after all. :-( That being the case, it'll be up to the rest of you to keep this thread lively! I'm sure you will; i know there are quite a few of you who are anxious to read it, and some who already have.

At least two of our group's members have posted thoughtful reviews of this book here on Goodreads: a five-star one ( ), and a three-star one ( ). Maybe these will provide some provocative opinions or insights to help get discusion going!

message 3: by Robert (new)

Robert (slorob) | 11 comments Just because I didn't want Werner to think nobody was listening....

Seriously, I started a couple of days ago and am three or four chapters in. I like what I'm reading so far. Imaging a cross between Sherlock Holmes and Kolchak the Night Stalker. Okay, don't--probably not wise.

Anyway, so far it's been entertaining, with a little bit of dark humor and one pretty suspenseful scene in a graveyard.

Looking forward to reading some more soon!

message 4: by Andy (new)

Andy Downs (AndyDowns) | 17 comments I received my copy yesterday and am a few pages in (slow reader). Too early to have much to say yet, but it is a good start.

message 5: by Robert (new)

Robert (slorob) | 11 comments About two-thirds in, and I am enjoying the story and the characters. Very Lovecraftian, and also pretty gory in spots. The more flamboyant characters ane enjoyable, and the short bits of humor and irony are well-placed.

Backstory is unfolding well, and there is more than I would have expected, bringing the characters of the monstomologist and his assistant to life.

As a side note, there isn't really anything supernatural here (unless there will be a surprise later); just nasty creatures that no one has ever heard of. Definitely horrrific, though...

message 6: by Dana * (new)

Dana * (QueenofEgypt) The creature sounds familiar to me, has this been a referenced creature in other stories?

Also, I could not help but picture Domo.

message 7: by Karen (new)

Karen Katchur | 12 comments I'm not sure how far I am in the book since I'm reading it on the Kindle and I'm not good with %'s(how I miss page numbers!). But I'm enjoying the read and the characters.

I agree about the creature being familiar. Is it me or do you get a cartoonish image? I know it's supposed to be scary, and parts are, but I keep imagining a creature from a Scooby-Doo episode. :-)

message 8: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) (last edited Oct 12, 2011 08:59AM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) (Gatadelafuente) | 295 comments The creature (view spoiler).

message 9: by Robert (new)

Robert (slorob) | 11 comments Strange--the Tasmanian Devil (Taz) from Looney Toons was what I was picturing as I read....

message 10: by Robert (new)

Robert (slorob) | 11 comments By the way, I finished this last night. I really did enjoy it. Part of the reason for my enjoyment may have to do with the fact that I am a big fan of H.P. Lovecraft, and this novel definitely had that Lovecraftian feel to it.

Also, I had no idea this was considered a young adult novel, either before or during the reading. Aside from the POV character being twelve years old, I can't really understand why the author or his publisher would limit the readership by pigeonholing it as such.

One of the reasons for the surprise was the amount of gore, especially to victims of a very young age. I guess part of this is that I always envision YA novels to target teens rather than twenty-somethings.

message 11: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1324 comments In the book trade, "YA" novels are targeted at teens. Of course, some teens like gore in their books.

New England was Lovecraft's stamping ground, too (though he usually --but not always-- set his work in his own time), and he also preferred to have naturalistic, science-fictional explanations for his horror, rather than supernatural ones. What other features of Yancey's work here did you find Lovecraftian, Robert? (I'm a Lovecraft fan myself!)

message 12: by Robert (new)

Robert (slorob) | 11 comments Those you mention are definitely reasons. The narrative style as well is reminiscent of Lovecraft, although it went beyond the "solitary account of what made the madman mad" type of story.

The creatures are horrific by themselves, but unlike Lovecraft's works, the bloodiness is almost--if not more--horrific. And the quirkiness of the monstrumologist is a bit humorous, unlike Lovecraft.

message 13: by Karen (new)

Karen Katchur | 12 comments @Robert funny about picturing Taz. I'm pretty sure this mythical creature has turned up in a cartoon. After reading the description on the link Lady Danielle posted (thank you!), I'm sure of it!

Funny you mention the book being marketed for YA. It didn't feel YA to me for the same reasons you pointed out. My guess is because the YA market is huge right now and the publisher may have thought it would sell more copies in that market. Some say books like Carrie by Stephen King would be considered YA in today's market. I admit I wouldn't have bought this book if I wasn't in this group. I typically stay away from YA...too much angst for me! lol

I'm still reading so no spoilers! plus I'm reading The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian. It's a contemporary ghost story and very good so far.

message 14: by Andy (last edited Oct 16, 2011 01:12AM) (new)

Andy Downs (AndyDowns) | 17 comments I didn't notice the resemblance with taz, but it did strike me early on that Dr. Warthrop reminded me of the slightly mad professor in ‘Back to the Future’.

message 15: by Robert (new)

Robert (slorob) | 11 comments Andy wrote: "I didn't notice the resemblance with taz, but it did strike me early on that Dr. Warthrop reminded me of the slight mad professor in ‘Back to the Future’."

Yeah, I enjoyed his eccentricity. Made the read that much more fun.

message 16: by Karen (new)

Karen Katchur | 12 comments I finished the book the other day. A fun read, but definitely a lot of blood and gore. I didn't mind, though!

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) (Gatadelafuente) | 295 comments Some parts were very sickening, but I found the book riveting and I couldn't put it down.

message 18: by Dana * (new)

Dana * (QueenofEgypt) I enjoyed the Kearns character, and how he was alluded to in many other 'odd incidents'.

I liked the story narrator. I found him very sympathetic. Which made the story more objective. He seemed too smart for a kid though. I thought it was more believable, also, that the Doctor did not have a 180 turnaround in character at the end.

message 19: by Werner (new)

Werner | 1324 comments Well, today should theoretically wrap up our common read, though this thread will stay open for comments whenever anyone wants to make one. We've had a good discussion (a warm thanks to everyone who contributed!) and it spounds like everybody who posted enjoyed the book. (Though there's still time for a dissenting voice to be heard, if any. :-) )

Since this common read was a success, I'd like to make it a group tradition to have one each October (though that doesn't mean we can't do them at other times, too). There's something about the month of Halloween that seems especially appropriate for supernatural reads!

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