Yep. That’s right. Sometimes I dig on YA lit. Sometimes that stuff is pretty good. A recommendation for Sci-fi/Fantasy fans is The Maze Runner series by James Dashner. But don’t watch the movie first!
by Rick Yancey
Published 2009, Simon and Schuster.
This is a YA book. However, it is filled with gore, scary stuff, higher level vocabulary, a higher level writing style, monsters, and did I mention the gore?
Here is the summary of the plot taken from Amazon. I’m not sure who wrote the summary, but it was not me.
“A monster-hunting doctor and his apprentice face off against a plague of monsters in the first book of a terrifying series. Publishers Weekly says “horror lovers will be rapt.”
These are the secrets I have kept. 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 in nineteenth-century New England, 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 eating her, Will’s world changes forever. The doctor has discovered a baby Anthropophagus—a headless monster that feeds through a mouth in its chest—and it signals a growing number of Anthropophagi. Will and the doctor must face the horror threatening to overtake and consume the world…before it is too late.
The Monstrumologist is the first stunning gothic adventure in a series that combines the terror of HP Lovecraft with the spirit of Arthur Conan Doyle.”
Yes. HP Lovecraft meets Arthur Conan Doyle meets Edgar Allen Poe meets Sam and Dean Winchester. It is monster hunting at its best. And the monsters themselves are quite terrifying, even if the they are portrayed in a way to gain some sympathy to an extent. The way Yancey describes them actually makes them more of a character in the story rather than just the monster to be hunted. There is a personality and a back story to the monsters that make them seem sympathetic and yet still the man-eating beasts that they are.
Speaking of characters, each one is developed and dynamic. Even the characters that seem to play a minor role or even dead are brought to life very well for the certain ways they do things or the ways they speak. Yancey is excellent at character development as well as dialogue, both of which are important to this reader. The main character, Will Henry, is an extraordinary 12 year old orphan who is “indispensable” to the doctor. And while their relationship can not be said to be based on love, there is definitely an affection between the two. Dr. Pellinore Warthrop is a combination Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Who with a little bit of other obsessive doctors thrown in. Although he seems a bit removed from most emotional things, there is a back story to him for explanation and he proves to be more sensitive than one would think. Will Henry and other characters also have back stories which add tremendously to the understanding of the motivations of the characters including the monsters. But I think my favorite character is James Kearns. He is a scoundrel, a murderer, a thief, and has seemingly no conscience. However, he is clever, and charming, and has a way with words. If I was to compare Kearns to other characters I would say he is a little Raymond Reddington (The Blacklist) and a little Lucifer (Supernatural). All the characters are credible, sympathetic, and relate-able.
The action sequences were fantastic. Fighting monsters is always a thrill, but the way Yancey writes them, they are truly heart-pounders. He will take you to the edge of being lost then sum it up nicely with one exception. The only part I’m not too keen on is after the climax. Yancey leaves the climax at a point where you know it will work out for Will Henry (he’s telling the story), but he never tells you how. He starts the next chapter a month later. It is not very satisfying.
Lastly, let’s talk about the gore. From the first pages of Will Henry’s diary, the gore is there and is always present until the very end. When I say gore I don’t mean just a bit of weeping sores, sucking chest wounds, limbs blown off, that sort of thing. I mean full descriptions of autopsies, chewing, tearing, ripping, shredding, biting, blowing up, chunks, entrails, etc. Whatever you can imagine, its’ in there. Delightful!
Well worth the read.