In this decadently disturbing second act, young Will Henry accompanies his guardian Dr. Pellinore Warthrop to the wilds of Canada to perform an emergency rescue. The casualty is Dr. Warthop’s close friend and colleague John Chanler, a fellow monstrumologist who was always a bit more adventurous and lighthearted than Warthrop. But that reputation has come back to haunt him, as he set out determined to trap a soul sucking creature called the Wendigo that most monstrumologists, including Warthrop, believe is a complete and total myth, and instead became its victim. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence (namely John Chanler’s emaciated frame and drooling stare) Warthrop refuses to believe that John has become possessed by the Wendigo, a creature that defies definition: “There is no name for it; it has no human symbol. It is old and its memory is long. It knew the world before we named it. It knows everything. It knows me and it knows you.” After a nightmare journey where the doctor manages to get himself, John and Will Henry out of the wilderness and back to John’s hometown of New York, Warthrop tries to persuade his esteemed colleagues at their annual Monstrumologist convention that the Wendigo is not real. But his arguments fall on deaf ears when John disappears–and the killing begins. Squee! Once again I was gripped with terror as Yancey wove his gruesome magic and drew me deeper into the dark world of Will Henry and his tormented mentor Warthrop. This series not only satisfies my cheap morbid love of gore, but is also full of psychological and ethical turmoil that causes me to pause and reflect even as the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up and start to boogie. The rich characterizations and fabulously realized historical setting (at one point, famous muckraker Jacob Riis shows up to lend a hand to the monstrumologists) make this oh so much more than a quick scary read. I know some of you will come for the gore, but I encourage you to stay for the story, which this time around contains even more food for thought about the nature of love, obsession and jealousy.
The Monstrumologist: The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey