The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancy – Review

The first time I read Rick Yancy was his 5th Wave series, and really enjoyed it (although I still haven’t seen the movie…yet). When I found out that he had written an award winning horror series (and since I am a lover of all things dark and dreary) I just had to give it a go.

“Snap to, Will Henry!”
― Rick Yancey, The Monstrumologist

So, give it a go I did, and I have to say, it was nothing at all like The 5th Wave. Now, that’s not to say that it wasn’t as good. It was, and I’ll read the next installment, but the thing that caught me off guard was that his voice changed in sort of the same way that teenage boys can go from man to little dude in the same sentence. Let me me explain. The 5th Wave was written in your typically current YA language style, which is what I was expecting to read. This book, however, was written in a style completely reminiscent of other ye olde horror writers from the 1800’s. It made for a pleasant surprise, finding this new voice guiding you through the story, which works perfectly since it’s supposed to be from a journal written in the 1880’s. Dude’s got range.

“Perhaps that is our doom, our human curse, to never really know one another. We erect edifices in our minds about the flimsy framework of word and deed, mere totems of the true person, who, like the gods to whom the temples were built, remains hidden. We understand our own construct; we know our own theory; we love our own fabrication. Still . . . does the artifice of our affection make our love any less real?”
― Rick Yancey, The Monstrumologist

“I am here, an old man whose body time in its mercy has ground down, whose memory time in its cruelty has left pristine.

I escaped; I am bound

I ran; I remain”
― Rick Yancey, The Monstrumologist

Another interesting quirk of the story is the fact that the monsters he uses are Anthropophagi which can be found in historical literature (sometimes also called Blemmyae, Epiphagi, or Akephaloi). He includes a short list of quotes from historical fiction (such as Shakespeare’s Othello) in the begging of the book, before the prologue, which adds a delicious grain of legitimacy to his tale by using horrifying new (but really very old) antagonists from monsterland. Very cool.


A blemmyes, from a map by Guillaume Le Testu – Image from Wikipedia

“He knew the truth. Yes, my dear child, he would undoubtedly tell a terrified toddler tremulously seeking succor, monsters are real. I happen to have one hanging in my basement.
― Rick Yancey, The Monstrumologist

Another surprise, although slightly less delightful, was the amount of grossness involved in this book. I’m not sure why this would surprise me, it is horror after all, and I routinely watch zombie movies and all the nastiness they entrails entail. Maybe it was the language, but somehow the contrast of gore with the way it was written was kind of delightfully shocking. And more than occasionally propelled into the category of super gross. It was a little much for me from time to time…but maybe I’m just getting squishy…ew… soft in my old age. Since this was a YA book I was a little surprised he was able to keep all that splattering in and over, and under, and dripping from over there (ye gods imagine if it was an adult book!).

“There are times when fear is not our enemy. There are times when fear is our truest, sometimes only, friend.”
― Rick Yancey, The Monstrumologist

In the end, I have to say that this was an interesting, compelling, at times quite horrifying and yet intelligent, read. I’m looking forward to the next one. Have you read this or any other of Rick Yancey’s works? or saw The 5th Wave movie (but no spoilers! Oh, wait, I guess I read the book didn’t I)? I’d love to hear your thoughts. 🙂


And for this weeks challenge er challenge update:

  • Blog post 16/52 – just 36 more to go!
  • Writing in the screenplay – writing has happened…is it done? Er…no…
  • Drawing – has happened, needs to happen more though…36 more to go (I’m sensing a pattern..)!
  • Feet writing & drawing – This has been coming along strangely well. I’ve done it every day since I re-issued my challenge and I have to say my ability has not declined in any way that I’ve noticed, even with the big gap since I did it last. Yay for new neural pathways in my brain that haven’t yet dried up to a meh trickle! My brain is behind me…er, well, that would be weird…believes in me…does that count as believing in yourself?

Until next time!