Review: The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Monstrumologist by Rick YanceyThe Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
Series: The Monstrumologist #1
Also in this series: The Curse of the Wendigo
Also by this author: The Curse of the Wendigo
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on 2010-07-20
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Horror & Ghost Stories, Legends, Myths, Fables, Young Adult
Pages: 464
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed. But he is dead now and has been for nearly ninety 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, orphan and assistant to a doctor with a most unusual specialty: monster hunting. In the short time he has lived with the doctor, Will has grown accustomed to his late night callers and dangerous business. But when one visitor comes with the body of a young girl and the monster that was eating her, Will's world is about to change forever. The doctor has discovered a baby Anthropophagus--a headless monster that feeds through a mouth in its chest--and it signals a growing number of Anthropophagi. Now, Will and the doctor must face the horror threatenning to overtake and consume our world before it is too late. The Monstrumologist is the first stunning gothic adventure in a series that combines the spirit of HP Lovecraft with the storytelling ability of Rick Riorden.

I am pretty sure orphans have all the fun. I mean, Anne Shirley, Oliver Twist, the Boxcar Children. Fer realsies. Aside from the whole dead parent thing, being an orphan is awesome. Well, for pretty much every fictional orphan EVER except Will Henry. His parents die in a fire and he is sent to live with Pellinore Warthrop, resident Monstrumologist. You see, monsters are real and therefore studied by a branch of science hitherto known as monstrumology. What ensues in The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey is Stephen-King quality macabre. FYI coming from me and my tastes, that is a compliment of the highest order. (SK, ILY!!).

I often lament the lack of horror in YA. For serious, I just want to see some blood and guts, and some brave kids taking down a monster, not making out with the monster. I mean, sure you have your RL Stines and your Christopher Pikes, but I wouldn’t put those on the gruesome level of King. Thank you Rick Yancey, for writing the Monstrumologist. It legit creeped me out. The monsters in this book aren’t the type you make out with, because they WILL EAT YOUR FACE OFF with their thousands of teeth. Mmm girl, these monsters are fierce in a non-Tyra sort of way.

Young Will Henry, orphan of the moment, as you may have gathered is the main character of The Monstrumologist. He is obedient, always at Warthrop’s beck and call. He’s thoughtful, often remembering to eat and sleep and fix some food when Warthrop is off being eccentric. He’s also got some nerves of steel since he sees some serious business, and doesn’t go running for the hills. OH and we see such a character evolution for Will Henry. I like it when my coming of age reads have monsters. Also, throughout the novel, I just had the urge to pat Will Henry on the head.

Pellinore Warthrop. Ah, I cannot read your name without thinking of the legend of King Arthur, and the Pellinore who chased a dragon all over God’s creation. Well, this Pellinore chases the mystical anthropophagi all over the place, and let me tell you, those dudes are bad. Anyways, I really went through the gamut of emotions with Warthrop. You see, at first I really did not like him. From the surface, he seemed a callous, single-minded man, caring for nothing but his work. Then, of course, the layers get peeled back and what emerges is a complex character with a complex relationship with the main character Will Henry. I quite enjoyed this. I liked seeing the relationship unfold.

The style of the Monstrumologist harkens back to Victorian horror classics with a flair of the modern. It is awesome. I mean, yay literary YA. Yes, Virgina, YA can BE literary. I liked how different this book felt. I liked that there were a few words I had to look up. I loved that it trusted the intelligence of the reader. Granted, the Monstrumologist took me quite a bit of time to read (a week) BUT, I like to take my time with a complex read, plus I got slightly sucked into 30 Rock.

Here’s a few quotes so you can get the gist of the writing style and also see what spoke to me in The Monstrumologist:

“Yet in all those years hardly a day has gone by without my thinking of it with wonder and ever-blossoming dread, the awful dread of a child when the first seeds of disillusionment are planted. We may delay it. We may strive with all our might to put off the bitter harvest, but threshing day always dawns. “-pg 47

“Perhaps he understood–as I have come to, much to my regret– that onces we set forth upon certain lanes of our memory, there is no turning aside or doubling back. They must be traversed unto their bitter terminuses. It is that same compulsion that forces us to look at the terrible accident or stare with shameful curiosity at the pitiful victim in a circus sideshow.” -pg. 155

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Sounds like one to add to the list (although damn I won’t be able to stop thinking of the knights when I read Pellinore’s name). If you’re looking for horrow MG and YA you might like this little group: dedicated to putting the horrow back into UK YA fiction.

  2. Rick Yancey says

    Thank you for the very nice review of my book.

  3. Sounds awesome! I need to add this one to my list, I like a good scary story. Thanks for the review! =)

  4. I like how you put it, the book is about “taking down a monster, not making out with the monster.” I would love to read a book like that right now 🙂

  5. Oh, I really thought this book was good horror. It made me sick to my stomach, and really scared. I think that’s rare — at least for me. If your teens really want gutsy horror — then this is the book! Thanks for the review.

  6. Friends of mine refuse to travel to anyplace where there is something THAT CAN EAT YOUR FACE OFF! so I had to laugh when I read your review 🙂

  7. I love your post! I have long been a fan of this book and am excited to read its sequel, which just came out. This is the best kind of old-fashioned spooky suspenseful horror with a kind of Stephen King twist. Yancey writes his characters superbly. I highly recommend it.

  8. I just loved your reviews, I saw you visited my blog and nice blog and reviews. I’d seen this book in many bookstores and once I almost bought it, but now I’m sure next time I buy a book I’ll try to get this =D


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