The Curse of the Wendigo by Richard Yancey – Review


Series books that follow a strong lead are always interesting to pick up again, as you never know if you will like the next one as much as the first. I was more partial to the first book in this series, (more on why below), but this second foray into Monstrumology was still a fairly good read. If you are looking for the same great poetic and (purposely) dated language with lots of horror filled pages this might just be your thing.

“In the name of all that is holy, tell me why God felt the need to make a hell. It seems so redundant.”
― Rick Yancey, The Curse of the Wendigo

Some highlights for this go round are continuing to watch Warthrop’s maddening inability to see what is right in front of his face (although this time his pompous tendency ratchets up right to the top of the dial), and the addition of possible love interests. The latter is not something that makes or breaks a book for me, but it was occasionally amusing watching them attempt to navigate these new waters.

“I was woefully ignorant in the social graces. I was being raised, after all, by Pellinore Warthrop.”
― Rick Yancey, The Curse of the Wendigo

The story takes place this time around in both desolate forest and city landscapes, which made for an interesting contrast, but the theme that kept popping up was a bit weird. That is to say…the story line is steeped in poo. No, I’m not negatively commenting on the story line, I think that poo actually would be considered a theme. Seriously. One might think it could be a ploy to pick up more young male readers, but I really don’t think that’s the case, since it wasn’t always written in a humourous way (and you catch more flies with honey…although I guess fecal matter might be a second runner up…maybe he was looking to cash in on the literary fly niche?). I think it actually is meant to be a metaphor for Dante’s third circle of hell, where this…um…matter features and how the creature itself, a never satisfied eater of flesh, comes to personify the sin du jour there (gluttony). OK, maybe I’m just reading too much into it.  I have a sensitivity to metaphor, but we are still talking about poo here which, metaphor or no, is definitely pretty gross. It sort of suits the series, since the first book was so laden with guts and gore even I got a bit queasy (and I really thought I was immune at this point), so I didn’t think that could be topped or followed, in that way, I was wrong. You have been warned.

“Good God, man, what is that smell?” He eyed with disgust the doctor’s filthy cloak.
“Life,” answered the doctor.”
― Rick Yancey, The Curse of the Wendigo

For the part that turned me off and ultimately made this book a runner up to the first volume was the briefly noted casual racism towards Aboriginal peoples. I know it suits the sensibilities of people in this time frame, but since the wendigo, our featured baddie, is from their folklore, it rankled me a bit. It’s good they at least had a role in the book, but I would have liked it more if there wasn’t just stereotypical characters used, and if they could have played a more prominent positive role then their brief cameo. It can be tricky for historical books to tackle this, since one could argue that in this time period, this more dismissive way of thinking was perfectly acceptable and anything more would have been less believable. Then again, the book is about people chasing a wendigo… so suspension of disbelief if kind of a given. I think it just bugged me because it wasn’t actually written back in those days, so an opportunity to do better was presented that didn’t get used. And however brief, more than all the poo (and as I mentioned, there was a lot of it), that was what ended up leaving a bad taste in my mouth…er, smell in my nose? Ah, you know what I mean. *Gets off soapbox*

Have you read this series? How did #2 (heh, heh, I couldn’t pass this up. Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck.) stack up against #1 or the rest for you? Love to hear comments on this one. 🙂


This weeks challenge update:

  • Blog post 51/52 – 1 left! By Jove! I think I’ve got it!
  • Writing in the screenplay – and here the opposite
  • Drawing – and here… 😦
  • Feet writing & drawing – Not so shabby here though!

Until tomorrow!


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