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The monstrumologist : William James Henry
Book
2009
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Trade Reviews

  Booklist Review

*Starred Review* With a roaring sense of adventure and enough viscera to gag the hardiest of gore hounds, Yancey's series starter might just be the best horror novel of the year. Will Henry is the 12-year-old apprentice to Pellinore Warthrop, a brilliant and self-absorbed monstrumologist a scientist who studies (and when necessary, kills) monsters in late-1800s New England. The newest threat is the Anthropophagi, a pack of headless, shark-toothed bipeds, one of whom's corpse is delivered to Warthrop's lab courtesy of a grave robber. As the action moves from the dissecting table to the cemetery to an asylum to underground catacombs, Yancey keeps the shocks frequent and shrouded in a splattery miasma of blood, bone, pus, and maggots. The industrial-era setting is populated with leering, Dickensian characters, most notably the loathsome monster hunter hired by Warthrop to enact the highly effective Maori Protocol method of slaughter. Yancey's prose is stentorian and wordy, but it weaves a world that possesses a Lovecraftian logic and hints at its own deeply satisfying mythos. Most effective of all, however, is the weirdly tender relationship between the quiet, respectful boy and his strict, Darwinesque father figure. Snap to! is Warthrop's continued demand of Will, but readers will need no such needling.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2009 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

Herodotus, Shakespeare and other writers have noted the hulking, headless, cannibalistic creatures called Anthropophagi. In 1888, these beasts, originally from Africa, have begun attacking a New England village. Documenting the gothic horror in his diary ("discovered" by author Yancey while researching one of his Alfred Kropp titles) is 12-year-old orphan William James Henry, assistant to monstrumologist Dr. Warthrop. Having made the study of monsters a career, the aloof yet just doctor must solve the origin of the Anthropophagi in America and stop their widespread and extremely violent and bloody carnage, which may not rest easy with readers of any age. With numerous nods to H.P. Lovecraft and other literary and historic figures, Will's intelligent diary captures their page-turning, nightmarish adventures and the constructs and evolving scientific theories of the time as well as his budding independence. Together, Will and the doctor also explore human relationships, especially that of father and son, and the dilemmas between science and morality. The ending hints of a sequel, but can readers stomach it? (Horror. 14 up) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
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. <br> <br> 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 feeding on her, Will's world is about to change forever. The doctor has discovered a baby Anthropophagi--a headless monster that feeds through the mouthfuls of teeth 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.<br> <br> 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.
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