The Monstrumologist

The Monstrumologist – Book Trailer

The Monstrumologist

The Book Trailer

I don’t usually like watching book trailers. I find them really cheesy and sometimes they discourage me from wanting to read a book. They aren’t as well made as movie trailers (for obvious reason) and they don’t usually tell me anything about the plot of a book. Sometimes, I’ve found that what I think the book is about (from watching a trailer) is completely different from the book trailer.

I watched the book trailer of The Monstrumologist and found that it was misleading. It’s pitched as a horrific novel when in reality, it’s anything but scary. The doctor and Will Henry are assumed to be creepy but they are completely different.

While the doodles of the anatomy and surgical tools are relevant, I felt like it didn’t really make me feel compelled to read the book. I liked it, but it came off as cheesy. Actually, the entire trailer just came off as cheesy which is extremely disappointing. It’s a good thing that I’ve already read the book because I think that the trailer might have turned me off of reading it.

WHAT COULD HAVE MADE IT BETTER

More blood. Preferably blood that doesn’t look like red paint. More real-action shots. Preferably not blurry. The funny doctor would have made me want to read the book even more. It doesn’t necessarily have to be high budget but at the very least it could have been less cheesy. The trailer also makes Dr. Warthrop sound like he’s going to come onto the scene with a gas mask and a machete to kill all the monsters when it’s actually just a title. But I suppose, they wanted to make the book appear more frightening so that people would be more interested in reading.

I vote that all book trailers have just as much production value as the books themselves. And that they should be run on TV to increase the amount of readers!

Songs and Books

Songs and Books

I don’t know how many of you guys experience this too, but sometimes when I read a book, I end up associating a song with that book. It doesn’t matter if the lyrics end up matching or not, I will have forever attached those two together. And a lot of the times, I end up enjoying it because it either makes my visualization of the scene more dramatic or it makes it really funny.

I know I’m not the only person who has done this. One of the books  I really really want to read is called Since You’ve Been Gone. Sounds familiar? Yeah I’ve seen a large number of bloggers associate that book with Kelly Clarkson’s song “Since You’ve Been Gone” and that includes me. It doesn’t matter if the book has to do with losing a lover, it’s all been linked together.

Recently, I’ve read The Monstrumologist (and I know that all of you guys know this) and I’ve been associating the song “Monster” by Skillet with the book. The lyrics have absolutely NOTHING to do with anything in the book so it doesn’t really match, but again, it’s just one of those surface links because at no point during the book does Dr. Warthrop or any of the other characters say that they feel like a monster.

Another example. In 8th grade, I had to do a group classics project and one of my lovely friends decided that we should read Atlas Shrugged (FYI NEVER READ ATLAS SHRUGGED IF YOU ONLY HAVE A MONTH TO FINISH THE PROJECT). One of the assignments was to use songs to represent emotions that the individual characters all felt. One of the tracks we picked was “Me Without You (All I Ever Wanted)” by All Time Low. And now, any time I hear that song, I am reminded of Atlas Shrugged and the painful relationship between Francisco and Dagny. Guys, just imagine two adults dramatically being separated with punk rock music in the background. It’s kind of awkward but also kind of funny XD

I like the fact that books can be linked to anything whether it be music or life experiences, but I really like that a single song can trigger a memory of a book (Or if you’re a normal person, an actual memory).

The Monstrumologist: Expectations Vs. Reality

Expectations vs. Reality

The Monstrumologist

Expectations

Scary monsters

Creepy, creepy houses

Really creepy scientists

Will Henry to be less spineless

Cooler monsters

For me to actually be scared

More monsters

Work with chemicals

Nightmares

Monster battles

Cool gothic setting

Blood

Dead people


Reality

Scientist with emotional control of a teenage girl

That same scientist is also on the crazy side

Monsters with descriptions that vaguely remind me of vampires

Three floored houses that aren’t scary at all

Shrunken heads

People with daddy complexes

Heavily disguised child labor

Starvation of children

Sleep deprivation (nooooo!)

Bipolar worms

BLOODY monster battles

Jack the Ripper

Human sacrifice

Book that’s about as scary as a chick flick (actually those can be pretty scary when they’re bad)

Jack the Ripper


I know the format of this post is kind of ugly but I will figure out a way to insert a legible table soon.

Anyways, when I first picked up The Monstrumologist, I had thought it would be more eerie. Definitely not the cheerful but gory book it was. I found that it utterly failed at scaring me and I’m a complete wimp when it comes to horror. It was most likely because of the fact that the story talked about emotions quite a bit and that Will Henry was rarely ever scared in the novel.

I also thought that there would be more monsters than just the Anthropophagi and the body-invading worms. Truly disappointing in that aspect. For some reason, the Anthropophagi reminded me of vampires although I know that they are nothing alike. These monsters don’t even drink blood.They were like giant humanoid gorillas with super strength.

And yes! There was Jack the Ripper. Though it wasn’t super obvious until the end. He was placed in the book as more of a side-character.

I have to say that the biggest surprise was the fact that Dr. Warthrop wasn’t creepy in the slightest. I had begun reading the book expecting it to be about a scientist that was experimenting with monsters and had forced Will Henry into being his unwilling assistant. Instead, I read about Dr. Warthrop who didn’t really understand Will Henry’s boundaries and how to raise a kid.

I wasn’t expecting the book to get emotional at all. Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry both had a lot more baggage than I thought they would, considering that the book looks and sounds really creepy. I was pretty surprised when the book started to get into the background of Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry.

So did The Monstrumologist meet my expectations? Kind of. It was good in the aspect of writing and storytelling but I was expecting it to be much scarier.

Should The Monstrumologist Be Made Into a Movie?

The Monstrumologist

Should It Be Made Into a Movie?

I don’t know if they are making this book into a movie but they make a lot books into a movie at some point. The movie rights are snapped up but then nobody ever makes it. In this case, the movie rights have been taken by Warner Bros but I’m not sure the movie will be made anytime soon.

So now I’m wondering, should The Monstrumologist be made into a movie or not?

It would be a different type of film than half of the movies made targeted at the teenage/young adult demographic. It’s set in the past, while most released movies are set in the present or future. It’s a paranormal/horror genre. I think it could be a pretty interesting movie if it was adapted.

But then there are some other issues.

For one, the book explores the relationship between an eccentric doctor and a 12-year-old boy. I highly doubt that any teenager would want to watch a movie where the main character is a 12-year-old boy. Most people only watch these movies to ogle the hot guys. Key case in question, the fact that I’ve HEARD my friends say that they only watched The Mazerunner to stare at hot, shirtless guys. Not a bad reason to watch the movie but it supports the argument that even if this movie was made, that is one less incentive for watching it.

Secondly, the book has a lot of action, but more of it is focused on the down parts. That is, the past of Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry. It’s interesting for the readers, but I don’t know if it would be possible to cram all of the background information into a two-hour long film and also be able to sufficiently portray the battles of the Anthropophagi. Taking out all of these parts would only warp the personalities of the characters.

It’s too juvenile for the adults, too gory for young children, and not relatable enough for teenagers. I hope that even with these technicalities, that the movie will be successful. Besides, Yancey’s book, The 5th Wave, is already in the works to become a movie that’s coming out in 2016. I can just wait for that movie to tide me over until The Monstrumologist comes out.

Here is an article that talk about the movie.

http://thefandomnews.net/2014/06/25/warner-bros-picks-up-movie-rights-for-rick-yanceys-the-monstrumologist-series/

Let’s be honest though. Books are better than the movies 99.9999999% of the time.

The Monstrumologist – Analysis of the Main Characters

Analysis of the Characters in The

Monstrumologist

As readers, there are numerous aspects within books that we find crucial to our enjoyment. Great settings, interesting plots, well-developed relationships, etc. Everything in the book is a part of what we analyze to figure out whether we enjoy a book or not.

But what I find most important to a book is the characters. Characterization can make or a break a book. Whether or not an author adds multiple layers and facets to a character’s personality are evident in their writing. Nobody likes the Mary-Sue characters that don’t have flaws. Nobody likes the characters that have all of the terrible traits layered on like thick makeup. A character has to be realistic. Oftentimes, if the characters are unbearable, I won’t even enjoy a book. They are the people narrating the book and the people that readers learn about. It’s no good if the characters scare away readers.

In the The Monstrumologist, one of my favorite parts of the book were the characters. I loved the quirky doctor and the utterly creepy personality of Kearns. Both Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry were dynamic, changing in their understandings of each other. I loved reading about how the two slowly grew closer to each other by the end of the novel.


Will Henry, Our Protagonist

The novel is from Will Henry’s point-of-view. I presume that he had written it much later, not at the time of the experience, because the doctor would have most likely scolded him for wasting his time that way.

Family and Connection to Dr. Warthrop

Will Henry’s father had been the late assistant of Dr. Warthrop. His father had idolized Dr. Warthrop, choosing to help the man instead of take care of his family. This reverence became a wedge between his father and his mother and was a constant topic in their arguments.

At one point, his father had taken a trip with Dr. Warthrop to Northern Africa. While there, a type of worm had infected his body, causing him to become terminally ill. While ill, he had gone crazy and accidentally caused a fire to spread. Will Henry’s mother had yelled at him to run, so he obeyed, resulting in him being the only survivor of the fire. Following their deaths, Dr. Warthrop took in Will Henry and made him his assistant.

As a result of his father’s idolization of Dr. Warthrop, Will Henry wonders if he is supposed to become exactly like him.

Character Changes Throughout the Novel

Will Henry starts out as a pretty spineless character. He lives and works as the assistant of the doctor, who is definitely not the best caregiver. His lifestyle is one where he is constantly woken up in the wee hours of the morning and he has taken to becoming the person who takes care of the doctor (even though he’s the child). In the beginning of the book, he constantly questions the reasons that the doctor took him in. He wonders if it’s out of obligation, pity, or the belief that he should continue his father’s legacy. He doesn’t understand why the doctor treats him the way he does or even why the doctor has mood swings. It all becomes clear by the end of the novel.

Will Henry is constantly struggling to figure out what are the right things to believe and what the right courses of action. Dr. Warthrop makes life difficult for Will Henry because he’s not exactly the best role model and now that his parents are gone, he doesn’t have any good models to follow (not that his parents were any better).

He’s recovering from the experience of witnessing the deaths of his parents, even though his mourning is not at the forefront of his thoughts. He has a hat that he reveres because it’s the last connection he has to his family.

By the time Will Henry has to kill Anthropophagi, he has become more brave. He feels the triumph of downing them and he no longer feels as if the doctor belittles him. In the life-and-death situation of killing the Anthropophagi, Dr. Warthrop had revealed just how much Will Henry meant to him.

Dr. Warthrop

Dr. Warthrop is a highly confusing character. He’s a little crazy and has the mood swings of a teenage girl. His catchphrase is “Snap to, Will Henry!” He rarely ever eats or sleeps and when he does, it’s because he wants to stay in bed because of some ailment or difficulty in an experiment. He seems to have the personality of a child, yet whenever a serious matter occurs, he instantly becomes composed and difficult. He doesn’t really understand emotions or how to project affection due to the fact that he didn’t spend time with his family as a child. His father was negligent, ignoring his letters in favor of his scientific studies. He hides his past, instead choosing to portray himself as a cheerful man. Will Henry learns more about Warthrop as the book progresses through letters and accounts from others.

As the Anthropophagi matter becomes more and more dangerous, other people come to help with the case, most notably Kearns, a man that specializes in the extermination of Anthropophagi. Kearns has a similar personality as Dr. Warthrop but in his case, his cheerful nature masks a merciless, scientific mind. He contrasts with Dr. Warthrop, making him appear to be less rude. With the appearance of Kearns, Dr. Warthrop quickly becomes more serious. Warthrop realizes the danger of the expedition and wants Will Henry to stay more careful.

At the same time as their adventure, Dr. Warthrop unveils a trunk of memories. It was his father’s. It contains

all his unread letters, artifacts, his father’s journal, etc, and it’s a painful scar of his past. The similarity between Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry is that both are desperately trying to stop clinging to their depressing past lives. Dr. Warthrop’s pain is a result of his father’s abandonment. He had grown up in a boarding school.

Will Henry had sneakily read one of the letters, curious as to why every single one was sealed. It had been written by Dr. Warthrop and sent to his father, who never bothered to read it. This is evidence of neglect which is the reason that Dr. Warthrop doesn’t really know how to act as a parent. He never had one.

Dr. Warthrop doesn’t really know how to show affection. He always says that Will Henry is his “most indispensable assistant”. Will Henry often questions how valid this statement is.

But in the end, Dr. Warthrop does show concern, manifesting in his characteristic scolding tone. It’s clear that Dr. Warthrop cares deeply for Will Henry and this care is shown more freely by the time the story is over. In the final chapter, both of them are shown to have come to a sort of peace with each other. They both understand and respect each other.

A Question in The Monstrumologist

A Question in The Monstrumologist

Yeah I know. This is probably the third or fourth post I’ve written about theme/symbolism/deep stuff. I’m super sorry if it’s starting to get annoying but after I get this project done, I’ll be writing and posting like three book reviews. (I’m really backed up on writing them :/)

This particular “theme” probably doesn’t really fall within the category of a theme. I guess it’s more like a discussion.

“When does the man becomes the monster he hunts?”

Dr. Warthrop is a very unique character, hardly the average person that lived during the late-1800’s. His wacky personality and mindset is what ends up being one of the possible causes of the massacre of Malachi’s family. Ironically enough, Dr. Warthrop had proclaimed that “The unfortunate Mr. Gray should keep them satisfied, at least for another day or two,” just the previous night. While they slept, Malachi’s family had been killed.

During one of their conversations, Will Henry had brought up the question of whether they should contact the town constable. Dr. Warthrop, quite prideful, had proclaimed that they would be able to exterminate the entire population themselves. Clearly he was wrong as the constable quickly got involved with another death.

Does this withholding of information make Dr. Warthrop a monster? Pride is a human emotion but it can often get in the way of someone’s success. But hubris doesn’t necessarily make a person a monster. Although Malachi does call Dr. Warthrop “a monster” at one point in the book, it seems to serve as a foil to Kearns, who is introduced in the next chapter.

“‘If a rabid hound runs amok, what fool looks instead for the creature that made it sick?’ he asked. ‘Shoot the hound first, and then find the source of its madness if you must.’

‘He thought we had time-“

‘Well, he was wrong, wasn’t he? And now my family is dead. Me, too, Will,’ he added matter-of-factly, without a shred of self-pity or melodrama. ‘I am dead too. I feel your hand; I see you sitting there; I breathe. But inside there is nothing.’

I nodded. How well I understood! I gave his hand a squeeze.

‘It will get better,’ I assured him. ‘It did for me. It will never be the same, but it will get better. And I promise you the doctor will kill these things, down to the last one.’

Malachi slowly shook his head, his eyes ablaze. ‘He is your master and rescued you from the bleak life of the orphanage,’ he whispered. ‘I understand, Will. You feel bound to excuse and forgive him, but I cannot excuse and I will not forgive this…this…What did you say he was?’

‘A monstrumologist.’

‘Yes, that’s right. A monster hunter…. Well, he is what he hunts.’…..

He is what he hunts, Malachi had said. I did not believe that but understood how Malachi might judge him, and the rest of the town as well, once it learned of the Anthropophagi onslaught.

I did not think the doctor was a monster who hunted monsters, but I was about to meet a man who did-and was.”

Page 261-262

Kearns, who is introduced in the next chapter, comes off as an odd person. His kind of funny, laid-back personality is similar to the doctor’s. However, the key difference between these two people is that while Dr. Warthrop is cheerful in nature and most likely uses it to hide his pain from being neglected, Kearns is cheerful to masquerade his psychopathic personality. They are two similar characters but their motives are completely different.

In this case, would it be appropriate to label Dr. Warthrop as a “monster”? He might not be good at comprehending emotions but does it warrant a monster? The true monster would be Kearns, would it not? Kearns, who kidnaps women to use as bait and is willing to sacrifice his friends to feel the thrill of killing a monster.

Returning to the quoted question, when exactly does the man become what he hunts? Does it depend on his motives? If he enjoys the work he does?

Personally, I feel as though it depends on the finesse and empathy of the worker. I think that it depends solely on if the person feels empathetic or tries their best to make their job more humane. If they were to hunt in a way that makes the quarry feel every single blow of pain and they enjoyed it, I think I would classify them as a monster.

But readers, what do you think? What is the point in which a man becomes a monster?

The Monstrumologist – Another Symbolism Theory

Another Symbolism Theory

The Monstrumologist

I have a bunch of just random theories that I’ve come up with that may or may not be feasible. Just different ideas of what represented what y’know?

The Shrunken Head/Key Theory

Early on in the book, when Dr. Warthrop opens his father’s trunk for the first time in forever, one of the first objects pulled out is a shrunken head. While Dr. Warthrop isn’t there, Will Henry examines the head only to find a key. He plans on telling Dr. Warthrop before deciding not to because of the fact that Dr. Warthrop appeared to be very angry. He quickly pockets it, vowing to tell him later.

“I flung the head into the box. It ricocheted against one side before dropping down, rolling onto its side, and coming to rest atop the other items in the trunk. The force of the impact must have dislodged the object tucked inside the hollow of its tiny skull, for I glimpsed protruding from the neck a piece of bright red material. I pulled the head out again, grasped the end of the cloth, and tugged at it until the object to which the other end was tied pulled free of its cadaverous cocoon. It was a key – to what I did not know, but it was too large to belong to the trunk or a door.

‘Will Henry!’ shouted the doctor from the basement steps.

I dropped the head back into the box and jammed the key into my pocket. I would show it to him later, I decided……

I thought about mentioning the key, and quickly decided to wait until his mood had improved.”

Page 113-114

Will Henry completely forgets to give the key to Dr. Warthrop. It ends up unlocking the feeding chamber of the Anthropophagi.

Now, on the surface it’s just Will Henry being forgetful. But looking deeper (and possibly over-analyzing it), perhaps the fact that Will Henry is in possession of the key represents that Will Henry was the key to unlocking the lock that’s on Dr. Warthrop’s ability to let go of his past. Maybe the passing of the key symbolizes the moment where Dr. Warthrop comes to realize that he needs to appreciate his assistant more and that he isn’t alone in the world. Will Henry was what essentially caused the doctor to be able to make peace with his past. They were the reasons that both eventually got past their pain and grief.

My theory is spawned from the last chapter of the journal as well as the doctor’s reaction when Will Henry gives him the key. His reaction is one of surprise and wonder. The doctor is incredibly dense and unappreciative due to his childhood. Maybe this key passing represents this moment of realization. It’s certainly represented in the last chapter. Their relationship has evolved to a much closer one (because now they actually know stuff about each other).

The Monstrumologist – Symbolism

The Monstrumologist: Will Henry’s Hat

So here is the first post of my English project. It will discuss the symbolism of Will Henry’s hat within Rick Yancey’s book, The Monstrumologist. If you would like to avoid spoilers, skip this post.


I imagine that it would look something like this, but there was never a description of the hat. It did say that it was mud splattered and washable, so I inferred that it was something like a canvas bucket hat.

Early on within the novel, it is mentioned that Will Henry has a small cap, one that is too small for his head.

“He lifted my tattered little hat and squinted down at my face, a smile playing on his lips, and, despite myself, so comical was his expression of earnest study, I caught myself smiling back.

‘Ack! You’re right, not a child – a fine young man, then! D’ye know what I think it is that fooled me, William Henry? It’s this hat! It’s much too small for a strapping young man such as yourself. A fully grown man should have a man’s full grown hat!'” Page 53

Will Henry had been orphaned a mere year earlier, having witnessed his parent’s death in a fire. His hat is the only artifact he has left from his past life, having lost all of his possessions in the fire. He has a deep attachment to it, due to the fact that it’s the only connection left. The reader doesn’t know this though. Slowly, parts of his story are revealed to show that the only reason he still keeps the hat is because he hasn’t let go of his parent’s deaths. He feels panicky when he loses the hat. During the first expedition to the Anthropophagi’s lair, Will Henry loses the hat in the chaos of running for his life. When Dr. Warthrop returns to retrieve their lost cargo, he does not bring the hat back, must to the chagrin of Will Henry.

“‘No, sir. I mean, yes sir. I mean…I was wondering…That is, I’ve been meaning to ask if you found my hat.’

He stared at me uncomprehendingly, as if I were speaking an exotic foreign tongue.

‘Hat?’

‘Yes, sir. My hat. I think I lost it at the cemetery.’

‘I didn’t know you owned a hat.’

‘Yes, sir. I wore it to the cemetery that night, and it must have fallen off when they…when we left, sir. I was wondering if you might have found it when you returned to… to tidy things up there.’

‘I didn’t see any hats, except the one I gave you to destroy. Whenever did you acquire a hat, Will Henry?’

‘It was mine when I came, sir.’

‘When you came…where?’

“Here, sir. To live here. It was my hat, sir. My father gave it to me.’

‘I see. Was it his hat?’

‘No, sir. It was my hat.’

‘Oh. I thought perhaps it held some sentimental value.’

‘It did, sir. I mean, it does.’

‘Why? What is so special about a hat, Will Henry?’

‘My father gave it to me,’ I repeated.

‘Your father. Will Henry, may I give you a piece of advice?’

‘Yes, sir. Of course, sir.’

‘Don’t invest too much of yourself in material things.’

‘No, sir.’

‘Of course, that bit of wisdom is not original to me. Still, much more valuable than any hat. Have we satisfied your inquiry, Will Henry?’………..

‘I just wanted to know if you found my hat,’ I said.

‘Well, I did not.’

‘That’s all I wanted to know.’

‘If you’re looking for my permission to purchase a new one, get thee to a haberdasher, Will Henry, with the caveat that you do sometime today.’

‘I don’t want a new hat, sir. I want my old hat.’

Page 187-189

Will Henry still aches for his family, even if he doesn’t realize it. His concern for his old, tattered hat shows the first stage of his character development.

Also, throughout the book, Will Henry battles the confusion within, wondering why he listens to the eccentric Dr. Warthrop. He knows that the man is not capable of being a worthy guardian, attributed to his lack of concern for Will Henry’s basic needs. Food and sleep are the last things on his mind and in multiple scenes, he chastises Will Henry for wanting to eat. At one point, Will Henry came to the conclusion that the only reason he continued to work for Warthrop was because firstly, he was the only thing he had left, and secondly, he felt that it was his duty as the successor to Dr. Warthrop’s assistant. Will Henry’s father had been the doctor’s assistant. His reasons for working are connected to his little hat.

However, as the adventure unfolds, Will Henry learns what it means to let go and Dr. Warthrop learns what it means to care for others. In the end, Dr. Warthrop gifts Will Henry a hat, which he accepts. The old hat is burned along with the the remnants of the doctor’s past. This burning symbolizes the two of them letting go of the painful past, together and is a sweet moment where the two have come to understand each other.

“The doctor was sitting on the floor before the hearth, stoking the fire. Besides him sat his father’s old trunk. If he noticed my appearance, he gave no sign of it, as he threw open the lid and, one by one, began tossing the contents into the crackling conflagration…….

‘What have you got there, Will Henry?’ he inquired without taking his eyes from the purifying pyre.

I looked down at the two hats lying side by side in lap. I raised my head and studied his face, turned away from my own, turned toward the fire. Upon his angular profile shadow warred with light, the obscured visible, the hidden revealed. His father had named him Pellinore in honor of the mythical king who quested after a beast that could not be caught, an act of thoughtless cruelty, perhaps; at the least a fateful portent, the passing on of a hereditary malady, the familial curse.

‘My hat, sir,’ I answered.

‘Which one, Will Henry? That is the question.’

The fire popped and crackled, snapped and growled. That is it, thought I. A fire destroys, but it also purifies.

I tossed my old hat into the center of the flames. Warthrop gave merely the slightest of nods, and in silence we watched the fire consume it.

‘Who knows, Will Henry,’ he said after it had been reduced, like the effluvia of his father’s life, to ashes. ‘Perhaps this burden you bear will prove a blessing.’

Page 425-426

The journey of the hat shows the process it took for Will Henry to come to peace with his parent’s passing as well as the relationship he had with the doctor. In a way, the gifting of the hat also symbolizes the new level of respect and understanding that Will Henry had come to develop with the doctor.

The Monstrumologist – Rick Yancey

The Monstrumologist

The Monstrumologist (The Monstrumologist, #1)

Author: Rick Yancey

Series: The Monstrumologist #1

Publish Date: September 22nd, 2009

Genre: Horror, YA, Paranormal, Historical Fiction

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?


Review

Before I start this review, I have to say a few things regarding The Monstrumologist.

Firstly, I picked this book for a school book report and that I read it because every other girl in my English class was reading some sort of contemporary novel (and it was on my neverending to-be-read list). The next couple of posts on my blog will be related to this book because one of the options for the projects were to create a series of blog posts. They’ll cover a variety of topics from symbolism, theme, to other aspects of the novel. Needless to say, there will most definitely be spoilers. I’ll do my best to try to censor or warn but my teacher is going to read this so I’m sorry in advance if you get spoiled.

Maybe I’ll turn this into a sort of book feature. “Deconstructing a Novel” or something like that.

But yes, onto the review.

I was so so so excited to read The Monstrumologist. It had been on my to-be-read list for a while and omigod the premise sounds amazing. It mixes historical fiction (which I love) and monsters and it sounded really good. And I’m happy that I picked this one. I really enjoyed reading The Monstrumologist but there were a few problems here and there that I had with it.

Obviously it’s going to be completely fictional so any qualms I had about how realistic it would be flew out the window. Sure, I questioned the relationship between Will Henry and Dr. Warthrop (*cough child labor cough*) but in a world with monsters, why not?

It’s classified as a horror novel, yet never once did I ever feel scared. The Anthropophagi are depicted as fierce, man-eating beasts with long claws, huge jaws, and the ability to jump forty feet high. While the monsters and setting are fantastically described, the mood and suspense fell flat. The mood did feel historic (as the book is set in the 1800s) but there was a noticeable lack of suspense and fear. In my opinion, had Yancey had this aspect, the novel would have been even better than it was. While this book was missing this one emotion, it did have some pretty gory scenes in which I felt disgust (reading about worms come out of some nasty sores? ew.)

Additionally, the book started to really drag about halfway through. It had already been a slow book but it had really start to become boring at this point. The Monstrumologist chronicles the entire Anthropophagi case, from the moment Will Henry and Warthrop discover the first death to the aftermath of the case. As a result, the moments that are less suspenseful and exciting became extremely slow and were the reason that it took me so long to finish it. Would it surprise you if I said that entire 450ish-page book happens over the course of 2ish weeks? It feels like their expedition would have taken so much longer when you read it but it’s just how slow the plot progresses.

The characters are characterized very well. I have a love-hate relationship with Warthrop at the moment. I adore his eccentric personality but I hated some of the things he did and said to Will Henry. He was portrayed as a hard-working man that didn’t understand people emotionally. His backstory did explain why he was like that though. His change over the course of the book was simply great. He grew to learn how to understand people a little more, especially Will Henry, and I enjoyed reading about the progression and changes in his character over the course of the book.

He had a catch-phrase which some people might have found annoying. Contrary to this, it made me smile every time I read it.

“Will Henry!” floated his call through the open basement door. “Will Henry, where are you? Snap to, Will Henry!” Page 38

The main character, Will Henry, is a 12-year-old boy, orphaned a mere year earlier. He has been taken in as Dr. Warthrop’s apprentice and is the author of the journals. The book is entirely from his point-of-view. Will Henry was an interesting character. Although he isn’t forced to stay with Dr. Warthrop, in fact, he’s been asked many times during the book if he wants to live with a foster home instead, he stays with Dr. Warthrop for reasons unknown to the reader at the beginning of the novel. His reasons and desires for staying are complicated and also related to his back-story. While the writing and language is significantly more mature in terms of vocabulary and word choice than a 12-year-old would have, it can be attributed to the fact that these journals had been penned years after the incidents had happened. His character was also portrayed very well.

I wasn’t satisfied with the ending. The epilogue felt rushed and cheesy compared to the rest of the book. It flashed back to the future, the same setting as the prologue, right after the man (he’s unnamed in the book) has finished reading the journals. It was fine up until the last two pages. Then the events that transpire feel like a cop-out. Yancey ended it with a scene that felt unfinished and a quote! I would have been perfectly okay with it if there had been no prologue or epilogue. I felt that they didn’t contribute to the story of Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry. The ending of the last chapter before the prologue felt like a more appropriate ending.

About halfway through the book, I realized that this was the same author that wrote The 5th Wave. While I haven’t read that one yet, I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about it and after reading The Monstrumologist, my expectations have skyrocketed. I will be picking up the sequel, The Curse of the Wendigo as well.

4/5 Stars