By Alexander Ringgold
A short story behind me finally reading The Monstrumologist, by Rick Yancy.
I was reading another book, which, honestly, was terribly written and seemed rushed and confused. So, my little brother suggested The Monstrumologist, and at first, looking at how thick the book was, and glancing back at the bland pages that sat in my hand, I replied, “No, thanks.” Finally, after I finished the seemingly stack of blank pages called a book and I was so disappointed in humanity that a book could be so transparent, my eyes fell upon The Monstrumologist and I opened it and I read it and, by god, I enjoyed every last word and punctuation.
Before this review, I insist (and now I’m begging) if you like horror books, if you like books, go get this one.
It is literally perfect. (Note. Reviewer’s opinion)
The Monstrumologist is set in two time periods: After William Henry, our main character, dies in 2007, and before he died in 1876. The story is told as an author has found Will Henry’s journals and edited and published them as he reads through the volumes. The diaries start when Will Henry is twelve and in the care of Pellinore Warthrop, as his assistant, due to losing his parents in a house fire. Will Henry is in his care because James Henry, his father, worked under and adored Dr. Warthrop, but Will never knew what the doctor and his father studied or researched. Until now.
I’m proud of myself, that summary could be on the back of the book.
Moving on, The Monstrumologist started off with a poor grave robber, Erasmus Gray, bringing a corpse of a girl with half of her face missing and her throat torn out to the monster hunter and his young assistant. The girl died of natural causes and so did the thing that dug itself into her coffin and choked on her necklace. The monster brought about interest to the doctor and what follows is the most harrowing, dark, gory, but fantastically told story of Will Henry and Dr. Warthrop.
The world of The Monstrumologist is told in a dark and monochrome tone, which isn’t bad because it gives that back-in-the-day feeling; like a long flashback almost. There’s an overlay of mystery behind every line that makes you want to read more; the enigma makes you crave for an explanation, but doesn’t leave you confused just curious.
The interactions between Will and Dr. Warthrop are funny, if not interesting, to a point that neither one of them wants to admit the awkwardness of the situation of them being stuck together. The creepiness and vivid details of the scenes involving the monsters invoke a sense of fear and urgency for the human characters and, even though there is not a character for the reader, you still feel as if you are facing imminent death as well.
The language is of Will Henry’s thoughts, so it is as realistic as it could get. Sometimes you’ll read Will asking questions you yourself may be wondering, or instead of saying he’s scared Will could be thinking of how every shadow jumps at him out the corner of his eye. His thoughts easily transcribe what he’s feeling and how he interacts with his surroundings and situations. I have read many books told from the perspective of a log, or a journal or diary. This one actually feels like a diary, like I am reading the thoughts and experiences of someone who once lived.
Overall, The Monstrumologist is a one-of-a-kind book that I never imagined running into. The only problem I have with the book is that I don’t have the others in the series. A problem some readers may have with the book is the amount of gore that that is described during the monster’s rampage.
Which I could point out how this isn’t a normal monster hunting book where the character is set with an arsenal of weapons and friends and experience. The fact that this fated duo went to hunt monsters puzzled me while reading, the entire time I was fearing the safety of Will Henry and Dr. Winthrop because they were most certainly ordinary people.
But, I highly recommend this book, if blood and guts do not easily turn you off, because there is plenty of that between these pages.