Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Monstrumologist

The Monstrumologist

Rick Yancey
Fiction  Series
For ages 14 and up
Simon and Schuster, 2009   ISBN: 978-1416984481

Will Henry is an orphan who lives with and assists Dr. Pellinore Warthrope, who is a monstrumologist, a scientist who studies monsters. Most people believe that monsters are the stuff of myth and legend, but twelve-year-old Will Henry knows otherwise because he has seen monsters with his very own eyes.

One spring night in 1888, Will Henry is roused from his bed by his master. The local gravedigger has brought the doctor a gruesome gift. He has brought the doctor the body of a young woman and the body of a monster who was in the process of eating the girl’s corpse when it too died. The doctor explains that the monster is an Anthropophagus, a headless man-eating creature that is found in parts of Africa. The dead monster is a male, and since the species has a matriarchal society, the doctor knows that somewhere near that graveyard there are several female Anthropophagi and probably some youngsters as well.

The doctor and Will Henry soon discover, to their horror, that there are dozens of the Anthropophagi on the loose, and before they can warn anyone of the monsters’ presence, a whole family, with the exception of one teenage boy, is slaughtered.

Together Doctor Wrathrope and Will Henry set about trying to discover how the Anthropophagi came to be in America, and in the process, they discover some horrifying secrets about the doctor’s father. They also summon a famous monster hunter to come to their aid. It is clear that they are going to need all the help they can get.

This fascinating and often bone-chilling novel should only be read by readers who do not have a fear of things that go bump in the night. The events described by Will Henry are often brutal and terrifying, and yet at the same time the story is compelling and addictive. There can be no doubt that Rick Yancey is a master storyteller.