The Monstrumologist - Rick Yancey
The Monstromologistpresents itself as the purported diary of William James Henry, former apprentice to “monstrumologist” Dr. Pellinore Warthrop. Will Henry’s story begins on a dark night in 1888, when a grave robber delivers the corpse of one the Anthropophagi, headless, man-eating monsters based on the mythical cannibals known as “Blemmys.” However, these monsters are not native to New England, and it is up to Warthrop and 12-year-old Will to investigate and eliminate the infestation.

In Will Henry’s world, Anthropophagi and other monsters are animals with no supernatural origin, although they are no less horrifying. Yancey does not shy away from the gory details when describing monster attacks, festering diseases. The novel even opens with a detailed description of a monster dissection.

The writing is wonderfully atmospheric, with the settings coming straight out of a Victorian gothic novel. Warthrop and Will’s investigations take them from dark basement laboratories, to graveyards at night, a dank asylum, and claustrophobic tunnels. The Monstrumologist is a fantastic horror story, although some may be turned off from the gore.

The book design itself even features bizzare anatomical drawings on the endpapers, with engravings of surgical tools within the pages of the text. Unfortunately, the book also reflects a recent trend of YA hardcovers being of a lesser quality than those of “adult” titles. The pages of the book are glued directly to a flimsy spine, which annoying bent in multiple parts as I was reading. The book also lacks a decorative “headband” near the edges, which detracts aesthetically from an otherwise nice book design.