Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Monstrumologist so good you might throw up in your mouth.

Body chomping, wide eyed, cadaver shrapnel and much more in this story that’s less about monsters and more about people. The Monstumologist is told through writings left by an elderly man named Will Henry when he died. Will Henry is left orphan when his parents die and is taken into the care of Dr. Warthrop. Dr. Warthrop has quite an unusual profession even for Victorian times, he is a monstrumologist (a scientist who studies monsters, at least in this book). Now, before you get all mushy about how sentimental this guy must be to take in a little orphan boy and raise him all by himself, let me just let you know that neither him nor Will Henry see it this way. Will Henry is at the beck and call of this insecure, needy, and demanding individual. This man is devoted to his work to the point of obsession and little else matters when he is in the thick of it, or so it seems. A late night knock on their door throws us full on into the hunt and introduces us to the life of the little orphan monstrumologist apprentice. Things are deeper than they appear and through the ups and downs and disgusting turns you find that not everything is what is seems.

Books don’t receive a Printz Medal Honor without having depth. There are times when your stomach will turn at the scenes that emerge from your imagination as you read this story, but behind all the action and gore is a story about people and the complicated relationships that we have. Will Henry and Dr. Warthrop have a relationship built out of necessity and yet in the midst of it is this realistically complicated mutual parent-child relationship. There’s something about orphans that can make you want to root for them and defend them and Will Henry is no exception. When you add an ensemble of supporting cast which are all equally intriguing to these two already incredible characters, you have a story worth reading more than once. It’s one of those stories that has gotten better after it has settled for a while. This is a book for those who love great stories that can give you that taste of horror without all the pointless slashing, screaming, and tripping on roots in the middle of the woods while running from the terrible ugly monster thing trying to cut you up to use in its sushi rolls. Be sure to dig into this one when you get a chance, but make sure you don’t overindulge yourself before you pick it up just in case you get one of the particularly “touching” scenes. 


  1. That may be the best post title ever! At the very least, it makes it clear how you felt about the book.

    Except I hope there won't be any actual throwing up.

    This book has been in my To-Read Mountain ever since it got a Printz honor. I may have to move it up a few tiers of the mountain after reading this review.

  2. Be sure to come back and let me know how you felt about it after you read it. It has definitely joined the ranks of my books that I can hand off to my students and they will actually finish.

  3. I'll have to read this...hopefully there will be no puking with joy.

  4. I'd rather not throw up, but I have heard this book is good. Good review and good blog you've got here. We just started ours, but we're 4 women, so it's good to get a male POV. :)