Book Review: The Monstrumologist

7 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review

The Monstrumologist book cover Title: The Monstrumologist (The Monstrumologist #1)

Author:Rick Yancey

Summary: [from GoodReads]

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 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.

My Review: When I first saw this book I thought “A scientist who studies obscure monsters in the time of Frankenstein and Dracula? Oh yes please!” The reality unfortunately turned out very different from my expectations. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

The main thing I enjoyed about the book was the monsters. They were incredibly creepy and created enough gore to fill a lake. I would definitely categorize this as a gothic horror, meant to terrify you into next week. I’m impressed that the book managed to do that, even with a much lesser known monster. I hadn’t even heard of the Anthropophagi before reading this book. I’m not even sure now if they’re from some myth I never knew, or if they are actually completely fiction. If they are fiction, then they’re very well done – they sound like something straight out of those ancient Greek myths, or even Gulliver’s Travels.

Beyond that, this was unfortunately a rather disappointing read, mostly due to my own expectations. This book imitates the Gothic Horror style of classic novels like Dracula, and the imitation goes straight down all the way to the style of the prose. I was expecting a historical fiction with contemporary language, and instead ended up slogging through some pretty archaic stuff – it felt like I really was reading Dracula, instead of reading a storylike Dracula. I don’t mind that sometimes, but when I’m not expecting it, it starts to make reading feel like a chore.

Possibly as a result of my surprise at the style, I didn’t ever feel like I really connected with the characters. Will Henry was a pushover and a doormat. He acted more like a third person narrator than as a main character, and I found even though it was in first person, I didn’t really care what happened to him. Doctor Warthrop seemed distant and cruel, and quite frankly an awful guardian for a young orphan like Will Henry. It’s actually kind of funny, because he reminds me a little of the Doctor (from Doctor Who) in some ways, but as a guardian of Will Henry he just made me cringe.

Honestly, I think this book just wasn’t for me. It was too old-fashioned and didn’t hold my interest like I wanted it to. If you really want to read it, then go ahead, but be forewarned – it’s like reading the classics all over again.

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7 Responses to “Book Review: The Monstrumologist”

  1. Alexa says:

    Oh no! I’m sorry this one didn’t turn out like you were hoping. I hate when you got into a book thinking one thing and end up with something completely different. I was going to give this one a chance but now I think I’m going to just pass.
    Thanks for the awesome review.

    • Anne says:

      Yeah, I wouldn’t really suggest this one unless you were really really excited about it. It just was too different than what the blurb sounded like, for me, and that was too frustrating. Ah well, it has to happen sometimes, right?

  2. Chelle says:

    I find it interesting that you felt reading the M. was like reading a classic like Dracula. It actually makes me want to read this book now just to find out because I really did like Dracula. I’ve been tempted to read The M. before but every review I’ve read is a disappointed one. I may have to give a try though.

    On an aside, your font is very difficult to read as it is light. Any chance you could change that? Just some friendly criticism. =)

    • Anne says:

      If you wanted to read it anyway, go ahead! I didn’t mean to discourage anyone, I just felt it wasn’t for me.

      I’m not sure what you’re referring to here, as the post font is set to black against a white background. Perhaps setting your monitor to a higher contrast would help?

      • Chelle says:

        I enjoyed your review. I like hearing what people have to say even if the book wasn’t there cup of tea. I think it’s fun to explore reasons why some books work for one person but not for another… figuring this out is a part of my job as a librarian.

        I find the font looks the same at work and home. While it’s black, it still seems “light.” Perhaps the font is a bit small so it looks fuzzy to my eyes? No biggie.

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