“The Monstrumologist” by Rick Yancey, reviewed by Bear Schacht…an actual teenager!

Recently, there was a bit of online outcry when it was announced that Simon & Schuster had decided not to continue Rick Yancey’s Printz-Honor winning series The Monstrumologist.   After much protest from fans, word came down that there would be a fourth book in the series, huzzah, good work fandom!

BUT!  Fandom must never rest!  A group of bloggers, myself included, decided it was still really important to get the word out about the publication of the third book in the series, The Isle of Blood so that, hopefully, new readers would find their way to this amazing series.   The Isle of Blood goes on sale September 13. As a celebration (and publicity push!) we’re all taking turns posting about how amazing The Monstrumologist is.

You can read posts all this week and next week at A Chair, A Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy, The Book Smugglers, and Stephanie Reads.  And here at my blog, the rest of this week is a Monstrumologist party up in here!  Tomorrow, I have a super-special guest post from Rick Yancey himself discussing the origins of  the series and on Friday will be a blog/review from me and a chance for you to win your very own copy of The Monstrumologist so you can start the series and see what everyone was so excited about.

Today, however, I’m going to post a special guest review of The Monstrumologist, one sure to get you psyched for the giveaway  … one written by that rarest of creatures (gasp!) an actual teenager. 

I don’t even remember the first time I met Bear, but I am sure we were thick as thieves from the very first moment.  Bear is one of those teenagers you cross your fingers for, the kind you go into library services hoping you’ll get to serve.  He wants to talk to you about books and movies and the world.  He’s bright, inquisitive, clever, and an influencer on other teens.

Bear is also a voracious reader who reads across a variety of genres.  Bear is the kind of reader, the kind of patron, it’s actually rather easy to forget about.  Teens like that, after all, don’t need that much help from us, right?  They find books, they read no matter what, we don’t have to worry about getting them through the doors!

And yet!  Bear wants and needs just as much reader’s advisory as any reluctant reader.  So when I have the chance to connect him with a book, I know that an actual connection will be made – that this is a book that will be relished and analyzed and loved.  

Putting The Monstrumologist in Bear’s hands gave me that sweet rush of anticipation and pride you always get from good reader’s advisory.  “This,” I thought as he checked it out, “is why I do what I do.  This is gonna be true love.”

Thanks to Bear for being a patron that makes  my job worthwhile, for insisting I read Leviathan, and for writing this review and letting me share it with all of you.  Find your patron like Bear at your library today and put this book in his or her hands.

It’ll be true love.

Mon-strum-ol-o-gy    n.

1: 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

2: the act of hunting such creatures

It was a spring night in 1888 when Will Henry, orphaned assistant to Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, was called out of bed by the arrival of a grave robber who had found something more gruesome and terrifying than anything the twelve year old boy had yet experienced in his year of working for the doctor. The find launches them into a case of nightmarish monsters, some human, and some very much not.

There were so many things I loved about this book; I almost don’t know where to start. The cast of the story included some really interesting characters, characters that not only stayed interesting, but got more interesting as the story went on.  Doctor Warthrop struck me as being similar to Sherlock Holmes in many ways, if Holmes hunted monsters instead of criminal masterminds. You also get the sense that there is something more to Will Henry than meets the eye, though I can’t really put my finger on what it is. Of course, Dr. Kearns (if that is his real name) is the scariest character I have encountered in a long time. He definitely knows about monsters, and you know how they say it takes one to know one…..

Then there was the gore, something that you can’t ignore with this book. I have the habit of eating while I read, but if you are at all weak of stomach I would not recommend doing so with this book. I am not usually the biggest fan of gore and horror, but this was different. The way the story was told had the perfect blend of emotion-capturing horror as well as the slightly detached journalistic reporting of facts. With these two flavors of storytelling working together, even the most over the top grotesque parts of the book seemed more believable and less gratuitous than other horror I have read.

I could go on about this book some more, but I would much rather go read the sequel now. I guess that means you will just have to go get the book and read it for yourself, but remember that “Yes my dear child, monsters are real. I happen to have one hanging in my basement.”

(you can also read Bear’s review at Check It Out!, my library’s teen review blog, where he has written MANY other reviews.  But since that blog isn’t open for comments, I wanted to cross-post here.)