Obsidian's Reviews > The Monstrumologist

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
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it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, halloween-bingo-2016

WOO HOO! This book kicked butt. It was gruesome and kind of terrible in certain parts to read (it gets bloody and gory) and when you realize some of these characters are just terrible human beings you kind of despair, but it is exactly what you want in a horror book. It took me a minute to realize why this was Young Adult (YA) too (the main character is 12 during the course of the book) since there are so many grown adult things happening in this book. I really would not let a kid under the age of 13 read this though. But this is coming from a woman who snuck read Stephen King novels when she was young and still kept doing it even after having nightmares.

"The Monstrumologist" begins with a prologue and starts in 2007 when the author (Rick Yancey) is provided journals to read from a resident who has died. From there the story is told in the first person by a 12 year old boy named Will Henry. The time is 1888, and Will Henry is an apprentice to Doctor Pellinore Warthrop.

We slowly find out what caused Will Henry to live with and serve the doctor and what has caused Doctor Warthrop to become a monstrumologist.

This book deals with the doctor and Will finding out that a species called the anthropophagi is somehow in New England. The big issue is that the anthropophagi are natural hunters of man and are the stuff of nightmares. The doctor and Will Henry are going to do their best to find them and wipe them out.

I loved Will Henry. I wanted to wrap him up, take him away from the doctor, and home so he can be fed and sleep without be woken up at ungodly hours by the doctor saying "Snap to, Will Henry! Snap to!" He is a smart, brave, and loyal young man. Your heart breaks when you find out his back story and how he is tied to the doctor. A few times in the book we have Will wondering at his loyalty to the doctor, watching his mistakes, and realizing that maybe the doctor does care for him. Will denies in his old age (when he wrote in his journal) that he loved the doctor, but there is enough evidence to suggest that he does.

The doctor in this book honestly reminds me of the absent minded professor who definitely cares, but is trying to show that he does not. At first, I pretty much despised the doctor. He seemed to be heartless and solely fascinated with the anthropopghagi and that was it. But, Will Henry manages to show a different side to him when we find out how the doctor's father abandoned him due to his father being focused on preventing his own death. We also see the doctor becoming defensive when he realizes his reasoning for not doing something causes something tragic to happen. And even though he denies it, we see that he does love and care for Will Henry and does what he can to keep him safe.

Other characters in this book will break your heart or make you wish you had a cross and some holy water with you.

The character of Malachi broke my heart. Man oh man. And it just goes from bad to worse for him. I even felt for the dead girl who Will Henry and the doctor find at the beginning of this book because what happens to her body is disturbing. Even the ill fated captain of the ship that brought back the anthropopghagi I felt for.

The one character that I wholly disliked was Doctor John Kearns. Shudder. I mean the man seems to be without any sort of morals and then I actually liked how he handled some of the people in the book which made me take a hard look at myself too.

Being told in the first person definitely helps the book along. We get to see Will Henry's fright of being toe to toe with a species that caused grown men to run away scared. His recitation of what happened to some of the humans who ran across the anthropopghagi danced all the way towards gruesome though. A few times I felt sick to my stomach because I could picture some of the scenes and the smell.

The flow was great. At first the book starts off slow. But when you get to chapter 6 from there until the end the book just kicks it into high gear.

The setting of the book in the late 1800s in a town called New Jerusalem somewhere in New England made me think of homes far and apart, with tiny towns/villages and fog creeping along the ground. This is definitely a book to read on a cold winter's night with a fire.

The ending was a surprise and we find out something shocking about Kearns. I literally had my mouth hanging open. I then promptly went and put book #2 on hold because I have to see how this ends.
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Reading Progress

September 18, 2016 – Started Reading
September 18, 2016 – Shelved
September 21, 2016 –
28.0% "Someone tell me that Will Henry eventually whacks the doctor upside his head with a shovel or something."
September 21, 2016 –
28.0% "We still don't know much besides Will Henry being orphaned and being forced to apprentice to some mad doctor who is hunting down a thing called the anthropophagi which seems hell bent on ruining New England. This story takes place in 1888 and we have Will Henry who seems on the cusp of something bigger and scarier that is going to alter his path. \n \nRight now I am just about to start Chapter Six."
September 21, 2016 –
40.0% "This book is going to give me nightmares.\n\nHearing about how the anthropophagi came from Benin and then were shipped (the hell with that) to America is not for the faint of heart. It was honestly gross and disgusting after a while reading about what became of the poor men aboard the Feronia."
September 21, 2016 –
40.0% "What I find ironic, is that when I looked up the word Feronia this is what I got:\n \nIn ancient Roman religion, Feronia was a goddess associated with wildlife, fertility, health and abundance. Also as the goddess who grants freedom to slaves or civil rights to the most humble part of society, in fact she was especially honored among plebeians and freedmen. In "The Monstrumologist" the Feronia is a slave ship (or was"
September 21, 2016 –
40.0% "prior to the events that had them carrying anthropophagi across the ocean) and the crew who led people to suffering in the Americas, ended up finding their own suffering in the end.\n\nKarma? \n\nI can see why Will Henry has a hard time forgetting. I would too."
September 21, 2016 –
48.0% "Right now I have no idea how the heck Will Henry has not clobbered the doctor with a heavy shovel and buried him somewhere. At times the doctor does show compassion or something else, but he seems to be an unfeeling man who only cares about the anthropophagi.\n \nAt this point there is a mystery about why the doctor's father wanted them shipped and how is the doctor planning on eradicating"
September 21, 2016 –
48.0% "the nest of them that are in a graveyard waiting to devour dead humans.\n \nShudder.\n \nThese things make me think of headless spiders and I am trying to not run around screeching at work right now."
September 21, 2016 –
74.0% "Reading now how the town of New Jerusalem goes monster hunting.\n\nAt this point I still want to know what the doctor's father was thinking? The man Kearns is a mystery and is giving me the creeps too. The book is moving really fast now."
September 21, 2016 –
100.0% "The descriptions of people and these things are going to give me a nightmare tonight. I'm feeling queasy and want to check under the bed before I sleep, if I sleep tonight. \n\nI'm so reading the second book."
September 22, 2016 – Shelved as: favorites
September 22, 2016 – Shelved as: halloween-bingo-2016
September 22, 2016 – Finished Reading

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