The Monstrumologist

The Monstrumologist

 
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1416984488
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Can You Stomach This?

Theres a lot to chew on in The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey. The year is 1888. Will Henry is awakened in the middle of the night by a knock on the door and Dr. Warthrops cry, Will Henreeeeee. He climbs down from the loft in which he sleeps and answers the door. There stands Erasmus Gray, his horse and carriage barely visible at the front gate because of the dense fog. He needs to see Warthrop immediately for he has a cargo in which the doctor might be interested.

Gray, a grave robber, had uncovered a most unthinkable find, a young girl in the clutches of the most horrible monster, its midriff near her head and its mouth open, teeth gleaming. Warthrop, a monstrumologist (a studier of life forms mostly malevolent to humans) by profession recognizes the monster at once: an anthropophagi, from the Greek people-eater. According to the Encyclopedia Mythica (and The Monstrumologist), They have a little brain located near their reproductive organs, their eyes are in their shoulders and their mouths are in the center of their chests. They were made popular by William Shakespeare in Merry Wives of Windsor (1602) and Othello (1605), but were part of English lore before that. In the 5th century BCE, Herodotus wrote&about cannibalism practiced by tribes inhabiting the region of the Euxine (Black Sea). He called them the Androphagoi, or man-eaters.

Warthrop, whose father had a similar interest, sets about studying the specimen. Of course, it is imperative that Gray and Warthrop return the girl to her rightful resting spot. However, upon their return to cemetery the next night, there is evidence of a tribe of anthropophagi, 25 35 of them, living in the area.

Given that they eat every few days, Warthrop thinks New Jerusalem is safe for a bit but when the next day the local pastors family is found decimated, he realizes that he must re-think his theories. He calls in John Kearns, noted monster hunter, to help exterminate these repulsive creatures before more people are brutally eaten. Kearns unorthodox ways horrify all involved. Meanwhile, Warthrop must find out how this species, native to Africa, made its way to America and what role his father might have played in this macabre spectacle.

The Monstrumologist is my first Rick Yancey book, but will no doubt not be my last. The eerie gothicness of the late 1800s is a perfect setting for the book. He has introduced marvelous characters such as Kearns and Varner, captain of the ship Feronia which transported four specimen from Africa, Will Henrys parents, and Warthrop himself, the stereotypical scientist, not eating for days while in the clutches of his work. Yancey brings emotion to the characters, the distant yet tender relationship of Will Henry and Warthrop, their disgust at Kearns, and Warthrops hidden but genuine humanity. There is action galore and for those less timid, lots of blood and guts. Yummmm! Yuck! The Monstrumologist will grab your interest immediately and once you sink your teeth into it, you will not let go.

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Macabre

I'd definitely recommend it.

Good Points
Will Henry is an orphan that has been taken on as an assistant-apprentice to the monstrumologist, Dr. Warthrop. He is thrust among a life of oddities and the doctor's ill moods but takes them in stride. When a grave-robber brings the doctor a gruesome discovery, horrendous events are set in motion and Will Henry is witness to them all.
This story was pretty amazing. Horrific, but amazing. The thought and scientific process put into creating a species of monster was well worth the read. As I described the characteristics of the Anthropophagi to my fiancé, I wondered if I would have thought they were real if I hadn't known it was a work of fiction. Who knows. If there really are mentions of these creatures in old texts perhaps there once was a creature similar to the ones described in this book. We certainly have enough oddities in this world in this day and age that I can't close my mind to 'monsters' existing in the past. I like to keep an open mind and an even wider imagination.
I really loved how it was written. I've read a couple of Rick Yancey's other novels and they are extremely fast paced and witty with a lot of dialogue. Perhaps it is because this story is set in a past era, but I really enjoyed the old fashioned 'classic' literature feel that this book gave me. It very much differed from 'The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp' or 'The 5th Wave'.
Overall, I found it to be quite interesting but also slightly terrifying. The Anthropophagi are definitely creep-tastic. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys horror and would specifically recommend reading it around Halloween.
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The Monstrumologist (A Room with Books review)

The Monstrumologist was not my typical read. Now, you’re probably thinking “oh, she doesn’t read horror” but the thing is that I do read horror. The Monstrumologist is more in a class of its own, though. I feel it’s important to preface my review with saying it’s not my usual read because it kind of backs my “it was interesting, but not in a bad way” opinion.

Let me start out by saying I’m honestly not sure I’d watch a The Monstrumologist movie simply because the book had me jumping out of my skin at times so what on earth would a movie do for my poor nerves? For some reason, going in I really didn’t think it would scare me that much. I mean, it’s just made up monsters, right? Oh, but that’s where I was wrong. Yes, the monsters are fictional (as far as I know), but the book is set up in such a way that you really start to believe it’s real.

The story starts with a preface from Rick Yancey himself. He tells of how he came to have in his possession the journals of Will Henry and that the journals are in fact what the story is made up of. The fact that the story is introduced by the author coupled with the journalistic writing makes everything feel all the more real. I kept imagining I could see shiny black eyes staring back at me out of the dark, for goodness sakes!

At times I found myself cringing from the bloody gore, but it was so much more than just gore. All the characters were so complex from Will to the Doctor. Will was such a deep character struggling with some serious stuff on the inside. I mean, he often questioned whether his guardian was also the killer of his parents. I can’t even imagine what that would be like, especially coupled with such a gruesome job as the apprentice to the monstrumologist.

The Nutshell: There is blood, guts, and gore all up in The Monstrumologist, so if that’s not your thing, turn away now. On the other hand, if you think you can soldier through all the grossness then by golly please do so. This story is so much more than a bedtime horror story. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty of horror, but it also has feelings, just not the lovey-dovey kind :P

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Not Scary Enough

To start off, this book is the opposite of something I normally would pick up. In fact, when I first heard of it, I never considered reading it. Because of that the whole reason I read this book was because I fell in love with the cover. I don't know what exactly it was that appealed to me, but there was something about it that caused me to be enamored by it. So, I finally borrowed it from my library and read it.

I don't know what I think of it. Like I said, it is completely different from books I normally read and that appealed to me a lot. I enjoyed the characters, I didn't "love" any of them, but I don't think that was what the author was trying to do. I enjoyed them, their quirks and for some of them, their insanity and obsessiveness that made them so intriguing. Will Henry was a perfect narrator and I garnered much amusement from his conversations with the monstrumologist. The monstrumologist was just as I would expect him to be, the mad scientist type fully devoted to his cause and of course very forgetful of mundane things but an excellent memory for anything that might pertain to his field of study. Together they made an excellent pair and were quite enjoyable to follow.

The plot was....average. The Anthropophagi(or poppies as Kearn's called them) were interesting and horrifying and the mystery interesting, but the plot was often times rather predictable, especially with Will Henry's purposefully obvious foreshadowing. Despite that I found it enjoyable and I definitely want to read the next books. As for the horror and gore. It was definitely scary and gory, though not as much as I expected(on the scary side of things, there was plenty of gore). I wasn't so much scared as repulsed most of the time. I think part of it was the complete absurdity of the Anthropophagi's appearance. I just had a hard time building a description of them in my mind that was scary, I mean I know they should be fearsome but I just couldn't see it. So that made things less frightening in my opinion. So basically all that was left was the blood and gore, described in detail and more than once causing my stomach to turn.

All in all, I liked the book and will definitely continue the series, but it wasn't as frightening as I hoped.

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Not My Cup of Tea

Reader reviewed by The Library Lurker

Well, I'm not really sure about this book. There's no denying that it's
extremely well written, but I didn't really connect with it. It was very
vocabulary heavy, and there were a lot of times where I thought that
something was being explained unnecessarily, or that parts could be cut
out. Basically, I found it boring.



I know, how could I find a book about human eating monsters boring?
Well, I'm not really sure. I just know that it took me four days to read
it, and that's because I had trouble picking it up after I put it down.



If The Monstrumologist were a movie, it would most definitely be
rated R. There are quite a few scenes of gore, and they are described
down to the last detail. It's not a book for someone with a weak
stomach. The imagery in this book was fantastic. Everything was
described to the last detail, which may be a reason why I found it
boring.



The story picks up with the arrival of the mysterious Dr. Kearns, a
monster hunter, who came to exterminate the monsters. Oh, and might
possibly be Jack the Ripper.



This book wasn't for me, but I'm sure that there are people out there
who would enjoy it immensely. Don't let my review keep you from picking
it up.

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