Series: The Monstrumologist #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on September 22nd 2009
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Horror
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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?
I read this book in late October and early November because I was still craving a Halloween-themed read (The Diviners hadn’t satisfied me!). This one was recommended to me by a few book friends I trust (Crini, Maraia, and Sebastian – I’m looking at you!) and I’m so glad I listened to them because this was a perfect Halloween read for me. I was a little apprehensive at first because I haven’t heard the greatest things about Rick Yancey’s 5th Wave series, but after enjoying this book so much I plan on giving The 5th Wave a try!
Plot and Writing
I say this was a great Halloween read, but it didn’t make me jumpy or scared to be in the dark or alone. It did give me some creepy vibes (it’s about monsters after all), but the way it really got to me was by grossing me out and making me picture things in my mind that I wish (to this day) I never imagined. The writing is very descriptive and I was seriously disgusted multiple times in this book (almost threw up a little in my mouth at least once). A few of my deepest fears were imagined through the descriptive writing in this book and I still can’t get some of the images out of my mind. You would think this would be a reason to NOT like this book, but I feel quite the opposite. It was so much fun and I’m so impressed that a book could make me feel this way.
The story is from the perspective of a 12 year old orphan who is apprenticed to a (slightly crazy) doctor of monstrumology. I found the whole concept of monstrumology to be fascinating, although I didn’t immediately connect with Dr. Pellinore Warthorp. My feelings towards the doctor did change by the end of the book though. View Spoiler »It became clear to me partway through the book that the doctor is actually bipolar – which I really appreciated from a diversity standpoint – and that he has a very practical view of the world. There are times where he shows he truly does care for Will, despite keeping those feelings hidden through most of the story. I’ve seen someone on Twitter say they had a huge crush on Pellinore Warthorp, so I’m very interested to see his character arc through the rest of the series! Maybe I’ll grow to love him too. « Hide Spoiler Will Henry, on the other hand, I fell in love with immediately. Will’s situation is touching and he’s just a kid trying to survive in a crazy world full of monsters. He grows as a character in this story and I look forward to seeing his continued growth in the rest of the series.
Despite the fact this book wasn’t the type of scary I was expecting, I enjoyed the experience immensely! It was just what I needed. I recommend this book for those looking for a creepy read with a historical and paranormal setting – just be forewarned that it might make you want to throw up haha. I’m now very intrigued to read more of Rick Yancey, including The 5th Wave series (especially with the movie coming out!) but also the rest of this series. I look forward to reading the sequel this October – I think I’ll make it an October tradition.