The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancy

In 1888 New England, young orphan Will Henry serves as an apprentice to Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, a scientist who practices the secret practice of monstrumology, or “the study of life forms generally malevolent to humans and not recognized by science as actual organisms, specifically those considered products of myth and folklore.” In this series opener, Will and his master are on the trail of a hidden pod of Anthropophagi, a race of muscular albino headless monsters who wear their over-sized obsidian eyes on their shoulders, their shark-tooth filled mouths on their stomachs, and their tiny brains in their crotch. Though they originated in Africa, somehow these horrific beasts have managed to cross the pond into the New England states, and are now running amok in the countryside, tearing off heads and sucking down the entrails of their human victims while they still draw breath. Will and Dr. Warthrop don’t only have to find a way to stop them, they must also solve the mystery of how and why they got there in the first place to prevent others from coming—and breeding—and EVOLVING. Friends, I can barely contain my morbid delight at having discovered this delightfully gruesome book! Yancy’s bloody tale, written in a delicious Victorian gothic style, is just gory and disturbing as the early Stephen King I devoured as a teen while still being a cracking good yarn between explicit scenes of dismemberment and disembowelment that leave nothing (and I mean NOTHING) to the imagination. When not running for his life from headless freaks trying to open one of his major arteries, soulful Will Henry contemplates the meaning of life, death, and his complicated feelings about his single-minded caretaker, making this a much deeper read than your average run of the mill horror pulp. But violent and bloodthirsty it is, and if Goosebumps and Coraline are more your speed, then this graphic gore-fest is not for you. I can’t even give you an excerpt here, just in case you come back and blame me for your nightmares. (And even though I haven’t slept very well the past couple of nights, I just CAN’T WAIT to read the next one!) This is YA horror at it’s stomach-churning finest, heading further down the dark path that Lauren Myracle paved with the creepy Bliss. Go ahead and read it—if you dare!

18 thoughts on “The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancy

  1. This sounds like a TV show that was on for a short time. I think the name was Sanctuary. I can definitely see that this would appeal to kids, and adults!

  2. I just found your site via the new article at SLJ, and I have to tell you that I can’t wait to read this delicious sounding book I never knew existed. I mean, headless albinos with brains in their crotches? What is there not to like about that?

    I’m with you on the early Stephen King-esque vibe as well. Sounds like we should throw H.P. Lovecraft into the mix as well. I hope the results are just as satisfying.

    Okay. Off to order the book!

  3. Ryan,

    Indeed, there is NOTHING to dislike about this profoundly gory and disturbing horror–as long as you are into that sort of thing, and I am! Sounds like you are too. Thanks for stopping by and please come back to post what you thought of the novel after you read it.

    Happy reading!

  4. This may or may not have kept me up at night. Just finished reading this morning, and I loved Yancey’s writing style. It absolutely sucked me in. I did make the mistake of reading it before bed on a couple nights, and I think it gave me bad dreams. They were worth it though. Thanks for the recommend.
    (Note to Diane – Sanctuary is still on SyFy Channel. And it is a little similar in some ways. They’re both delicious fun.)

  5. This was so tempting when I saw it on the New Books cart at work – I picked it up twice. But I couldn’t get past the stilted Victorian goth style. Now I think maybe you guys have convinced me to give it another go.

  6. This book was amazing. A far cry from all the vampire/warewolf drivel that lines the shelves anymore. I’ve always been a big fan of the outlandish fiction books, especially strange mythological creatures. It seems since the Twilight craze, no one can write a book based around original ideas. But this book totally changes that notion and I get splendidly happy when I find something like this. It was a tough go at first because of the writing style but I adored it in the end.
    Some other books to check out that I couldn’t put down…
    Need-Has warewolves, but also pixies, so it was a refreshing change.
    The Forest of Hands and Teeth-Very different, but I was fasicianted with this book.
    Beautiful Creatures-Witches, a bit of an over-used subject matter, but the mystery of this story reels you in.
    I’m so thankful for books that are a breath of fresh air from the norm. I’m paitently waiting, praying, and hopeing for a sequel to The Monstrumologist.

  7. Hi Rachael,

    There should be a sequel, as this book has been called the first in a series. Stay tuned!

  8. Read it, loved it, bought it, then read it some more. I love how at the end…Oops! not revealing anything to people who wish to read this fantastical book!!!

  9. I love bloody ,gory ,all around the pit books and Jill I am with you I would make that mistake too.

  10. I love Yancy’s imagination and would not mind if I could have even just a little chunk of it. He went into so much detail about every thing and you could easily imagine the scene and understand what its like to be in Will Henry’s place.

    I don’t have a clue what’s with my mind: but I was up till 4 reading this book and never once had a nightmare. I did have a dream about driving a car…but the detail never made frightened or anything. To me, this is a huge part of what me want to keep reading the book.

    And Yancy posted on his website there’s supposed to be a sequel coming out in September of 2010. Can’t wait!

  11. I loved this book and i’m still in highschool. it’s really interesting and keeps you drawn in with the gory stuff. 🙂

  12. Dawn,

    I loved Yancy’s imagination too–where does he come up with this stuff?! Brilliant and scary. I’m glad you liked it as much as I did!

  13. Katlyn,

    I loved the gory stuff too–one of my favorite parts of the book:) I hope you enjoy the sequel just as much.

  14. I, actually, stumbled across The Monstrumologist by accident, looking for a book to listen to as I went to bed. The book on tape is beautifully done, but couldn’t have been as good as it was if it weren’t for how amazing the book was, which I had to actually read. Later, after my fourth or so re-reading a friend of mine was bored and complaining about it. So I shrugged and, worrying that she wouldn’t like it, I handed her the book. After three minutes of, much to my chagrin, skipping the prologue and simply reading the first chapter, asked if she could keep it to read over the weekend. I was about to say no when she almost gnawed my hand off when I tried to pry the book back. Such reactions were common whenever anybody tried to take the book and my friends and I had a lot of fun hiding the book and seeing how long it took her to realize it. It never took too long.

    I’m very happy that I found it and just as happy that I showed it to my friend, who in turn showed it to her friend, and we both (or all three of us) agreed that we were waiting with bated breath for its sequel, which comes out this September (when I found out I literally squealed, which was a more controlled response to the one I had when I found out The Monstrumologist was a series).

  15. Zandra, I’m so pleased you liked it–I also think it’s just a great book. And the sequel is even better!

  16. Hi Jen! I’ve been meaning to drop you a line since ALA in D.C. What a real pleasure to meet you and thank you in person for the glowing reviews of my series. Without champions like you . . . well, it goes without saying. Thanks again for everything.

  17. Hi Rick!

    Thanks for dropping by. This series is beyond terrific and I am already jonesing for the next one. Keep up the good work! 🙂

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