First of all, I’d like to say that this four-part series of books might look like a darker version of Harry Potter at first glance. But let me state: especially the transformation that the main character, the boy Will Henry, undergoes in the course of the series is so gloomy that Potter fans might want to keep their hands off this work. Fortunately, the also otherwise very dark aura of the work is communicated to the reader quite quickly when the author at the beginning reports about the dissection of a monster in a wonderfully detailed way.
Monsters are – as the title suggests – the secret main actors. They are chased by Doctor Warthrop and his young assistant Will Henry. Fortunately, it’s not the case here that our heroes are killing them by the dozen. They´re not treated as faceless cannon fodder. Instead, each volume of the series is dedicated to a very special beast. The background information, which is provided in abundance, is always an important part of the whole and determines the course of the hunts.
The fact that the book series begins in 1888 makes the whole series even more exciting. The journeys to the partly exotic locations already are dangerous adventures. No airplanes. Cars had just been invented. And even more important: No modern firearms that would give the monstrumologists too much power. The danger for the hunters is omnipresent.
So much for the outer framework.
The monster hatches are extremely exciting to read on their own. What makes these work stand out, however, is the dynamic between Doctor Warthrop, an experienced monstrumologist and his helper and apprentice Will Henry. Doctor Warthrop initially appears to be extremely unscrupulous, cold, bossy and pragmatic. During the course of the plot, it becomes more and more obvious how he has become this way and why this cynical view of things is now shaping his character. Young Will Henry is initially condemned to naïve amazement and obedience, but fortunately, this changes over time. The relationship between the two characters is brilliantly rendered and at least as exciting as the outer story. I can’t reveal more at this point without spoiling too much.
What must be mentioned, however, is the language Rick Yancey uses here. It fits perfectly into the year 1888. Polished. Elegant. Even annoying sometimes. And yet one thing: drastic and mercilessly cruel in the right moments. Wonderful! 🙂
Even if you should not like the actual story (which is very unlikely if you browse a site like bloodword.com …) – you can enjoy the word-art alone. In the last few years, I’ve only found one author who could hold a candle to Rick Yancey on this point, and that’s Patrick Rothfuss. But he has a completely different style.
As always, there is no retelling of the story here, but an full-on recommendation on my part. Monstrously thrilling and a must-have for everyone who likes gothic horror and creepy stuff in general!
The titles of the individual volumes are:
The Monstrumologist and the Dragon Egg
The Monstrumologist and the Curse of Wendigo
The Monstrumologist and the Isle of Blood