Flesh-eating danger abounds in the chilling sequel to The Monstrumologist that is “as fast-paced, elegant, and yes, gruesome as its predecessor” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
While Dr. Warthrop is attempting to disprove that Homo vampiris, the vampire, could exist, his former fiancée asks him to save her husband, who has been captured by a Wendigo—a creature that starves even as it gorges itself on human flesh. Although Dr. Warthrop considers the Wendigo to be fictitious, he relents and performs the rescue—but is he right to doubt the Wendigo’s existence? Can the doctor and Will Henry hunt down the ultimate predator, who, like the legendary vampire, is neither living nor dead, and whose hunger for human flesh is never satisfied?
This second book in The Monstrumologist series explores the line between myth and reality, love and hate, genius and madness.
About the Author
Rick Yancey is the author of The Monstrumologist, The Curse of the Wendigo, The Isle of Blood, and The Final Descent. He is also the author of The Fifth Wave series. Rick lives with his wife Sandy and two sons in Gainesville, Florida. Visit him at RickYancey.com.
Read an Excerpt
“What Am I, Will Henry?”
I do not wish to remember these things.
I wish to be rid of them, to be rid of him. I set down the pen nearly a year ago, swearing I would never pick it up again. Let it die with me, I thought. I am an old man. I owe the future nothing.
Soon I will fall asleep and I will wake from this terrible dream. The endless night will fall, and I will rise.
I long for that night. I do not fear it.
I have had my fill of fear. I have stared too long into the abyss, and now the abyss stares back at me.
Between the sleeping and the waking, it is there.
Between the rising and the resting, it is there.
It is always there.
It gnaws my heart. It chews my soul.
I turn aside and see it. I stop my ears and hear it. I cover myself and feel it.
There are no human words for what I mean.
It is the language of the bare bough and the cold stone, pronounced in the fell wind’s sullen whisper and the metronomic drip-drip of the rain. It is the song the falling snow sings and the discordant clamor of sunlight ripped apart by the canopy and miserly filtered down.
It is what the unseeing eye sees. It is what the deaf ear hears.
It is the romantic ballad of death’s embrace; the solemn hymn of offal dripping from bloody teeth; the lamentation of the bloated corpse rotting in the sun; and the graceful ballet of maggots twisting in the ruins of God’s temple.
Here in this gray land, we have no name. We are the carcasses reflected in the yellow eye.
Our bones are bleached within our skin; our empty sockets regard the hungry crow.
Here in this shadow country, our tinny voices scratch like a fly’s wing against unmoving air.
Ours is the language of imbeciles, the gibberish of idiots. The root and the vine have more to say than us.
I want to show you something. There is no name for it; it has no human symbol. It is old and its memory is long. It knew the world before we named it.
It knows everything. It knows me and it knows you.
And I will show it to you.
I will show you.
Let us go then, you and I, like Alice down the rabbit hole, to a time when there still were dark places in the world, and there were men who dared to delve into them.
An old man, I am a boy again.
And dead, the monstrumologist lives.
He was a solitary man, a dweller in silences, a genius enslaved to his own despotic thought, meticulous in his work, careless in his appearance, given to bouts of debilitating melancholia and driven by demons as formidable as the physical monstrosities he pursued.
He was a hard man, obstinate, cold to the point of cruelty, with impenetrable motives and rigid expectations, a strict taskmaster and an exacting teacher when he didn’t ignore me altogether. Days would pass with but a word or two between us. I might have been another stick of dusty furniture in a forgotten room of his ancestral home. If I had fled, I do not doubt weeks would have passed before he would have noticed. Then, without warning, I would find myself the sole focus of his attention, a singularly unpleasant phenomenon that produced an effect not unlike the sensation of drowning or being crushed by a thousand-pound rock. Those dark, strangely backlit eyes would turn upon me, the brow would furrow, the lips tighten and grow white, the same expression of intense concentration I had seen a hundred times at the necropsy table as he flayed open some nameless thing to explore its innards. A look from him could lay me bare. I spent many a useless hour debating with myself which was worse, being ignored by him or being acknowledged.
But I remained. He was all I had, and I do not flatter myself when I say I was all that he had. The fact is, to his death, I was his sole companion.
That had not always been the case.
He was a solitary man, but he was no hermit. In those waning days of the century, the monstrumologist was much in demand. Letters and telegrams arrived daily from all over the world seeking his advice, inviting him to speak, appealing to him for this or that service. He preferred the field to the laboratory and would drop everything at a moment’s notice to investigate a sighting of some rare species; he always kept a packed suitcase and a field kit in his closet.
He looked forward to the colloquium of the Monstrumologist Society held annually in New York City, where for two weeks scientists of the same philosophical bent met to present papers, exchange ideas, share discoveries, and, as was their counterintuitive wont, close down every bar and saloon on the island of Manhattan. Perhaps this was not so incongruous, though. These were men who pursued things from which the vast majority of their fellows would run as fast as their legs would carry them. The hardships they endured in this pursuit almost necessitated some kind of Dionysian release. Warthrop was the exception. He never touched alcohol or tobacco or any mind-altering drug. He sneered at those he considered slaves to their vices, but he was no different—only his vice was. In fact, one might argue his was the more dangerous by far. It was not the fruit of the vine that killed Narcissus, after all.
The letter that arrived late in the spring of 1888 was just one of many received that day—an alarming missive that, upon coming into his possession, quickly came to possess him.
Postmarked in New York City, it read:
My Dear Dr. Warthrop,
I have it upon good authority that his Hon. Pres. von Helrung intends to present the enclosed Proposal at the annual Congress in New York this November instant. That he is the author of this outrageous proposition, I have no doubt, and I would not trouble you if I possessed so much as a scintilla of uncertainty.
The man has clearly gone mad. I care as little about that as I care for the man, but my fear is not unjustified, I think. I consider his insidious argument a genuine threat to the legitimacy of our vocation, with the potential to doom our work to oblivion or—worse—to doom us to sharing space in the public mind with the charlatan and the quack. Thus, I vouch it is no hyperbole to aver that the very future of our discipline is at stake.
Once you have read this offensive tripe, I am certain you will agree that our only hope lies in delivering a forceful Reply upon the completion of his Presentation. And I can think of no better man to contest our esteemed president’s alarming and dangerous disquisitions than you, Dr. Warthrop, the leading Philosopher of Aberrant Natural History of his generation.
I remain, as always, etc., etc.,
Your Obt. Servant,
A Concerned Colleague
A single reading of the enclosed monograph of Abram von Helrung convinced the doctor that his correspondent was correct in at least one regard. The proposal did indeed pose a threat to the legitimacy of his beloved profession. That he was the best—and obvious—choice to refute the claims of the most renowned monstrumologist in the world required no convincing on anyone’s part. Pellinore Warthrop’s genius included the profound insight that he happened to be one.
So everything was put aside. Visitors were turned away. Letters went unanswered. All invitations were declined. His studies were abandoned. Sleep and sustenance were reduced to the barest minimum. His thirty-seven-page monograph, with the rather unwieldy title, Shall We Doom the Natural Philosophy of Monstrumology to the Dustbin of History? A Reply to the Hon. President Dr. Abram von Helrung upon His Proposal to Investigate and Consider as Possible Inclusions into the Catalogue of Aberrant Species Certain Heretofore Mythical Creatures of Supernatural Origin at the One Hundred Tenth Congress of the Society for the Advancement of the Science of Monstrumology, went through multiple revisions and refinements over that frantic summer.
He enlisted me in the cause, naturally, as his research assistant, in addition to my duties as cook, maid, manservant, laundryman, and errand boy. I fetched books, took dictation, and played audience to his stiff, overly formal, sometimes ludicrously awkward presentation. He would stand ramrod straight with his lanky arms folded stiffly behind his back, eyes focused unerringly upon the floor, chin tilted downward so that his otherwise compellingly dark features were lost in shadow.
He refused to read directly from his paper, so he often “went up” in the parlance of the theater, completely losing track of his argument, thrashing like King Pellinore, his namesake, in the dense thicket of his thoughts in search of the elusive Questing Beast of his reasoning.
At other times he fell into rambling asides that took the audience from the birth of monstrumology in the early eighteenth century (beginning with Bacqueville de la Potherie, the acknowledged father of this most curious of esoteric disciplines) to the present day, with references to obscure personages whose voices had long been stifled in the Dark Angel’s smothering embrace.
“Now, where was I, Will Henry?” he would ask after one of these extended extemporaneities. It never failed that this question came at the precise moment when my mind had wandered to more interesting matters, more often than not to the current weather conditions or the menu for our long-overdue supper.
Unwilling to incur his inestimable ire, I would fumble a reply, blurting the best guess I had, which usually included somewhere in the sentence the name of Darwin, Warthrop’s personal hero.
The ploy did not always work.
“Darwin!” the monstrumologist cried once in reply, striking his fist into his palm in agitation. “Darwin! Really, Will Henry, what does Darwin have to do with the native folklore of the Carpathians? Or the mythos of Homer? Or Norse cosmology? Have I not impressed upon you the importance of this endeavor? If I should fail in this, the seminal moment of my career, not only will I go down in humiliation and disrepute, but the entire house will fall! The end of monstrumology, the immediate and irrevocable loss of nearly two hundred years of unselfish devotion by men who dwarf all those who came after them, myself included. Even me, Will Henry. Think of that!”
“I think it was . . . You were talking about the Carpathians, I think . . .”
“Dear Lord! I know that, Will Henry. And the only reason you know that is I just said it!”
As hard as he threw himself into the task of his oral presentation, more assiduously still did he labor over his written reply, composing at least twelve drafts, each of them in his nearly illegible scrawl, and all of which fell to me to transcribe into readable form, for, if the reply had been delivered to the printer’s in its original state, it would undoubtedly have been wadded up and hurled at my head.
Upon the conclusion of my hours of toil, hunching over my desk like a medieval monk with aching ink-stained fingers and itching, burning eyes, the monstrumologist would snatch the product from my quivering grip and compare it to the original, hunting for the slightest error, which, of course, he would invariably find.
At the end of this Herculean effort, after the printer delivered the finished product and there was little left to do (and little left of the monstrumologist, for he must have lost more than fifteen pounds since the project had begun) but wait for that fall’s convocation, he fell into a profound depression. The monstrumologist retreated to his shuttered study, where he brooded in a gloom both actual and metaphysical, refusing to even acknowledge my halfhearted attempts to alleviate his suffering. I brought him raspberry scones (his favorite) from the baker’s. I shared with him the latest gossip gleaned from the society pages (he held a strange fascination for them) and the local doings of our little hamlet of New Jerusalem. He would not be comforted. He even lost interest in the mail, which I arranged for him, unread, upon his desk, until the desk’s surface was covered as thickly as the forest floor by the leaves of autumn.
Near the end of August, a large package arrived from Menlo Park, and for a few moments he was his old self again, delighting in the gift from his friend. Enclosed with it was a brief note: All my thanks for your help with the design, Thos. A. Edison. He played with the phonograph for the space of an hour, and then touched it no more. It sat upon the table beside him like a silent rebuke. Here was the dream made real of Thomas Edison, a man who was destined to be lauded as one of the greatest minds of his generation, if not in all history, a true man of science whose world would be forever changed for his having lived in it.
“What am I, Will Henry?” the doctor asked abruptly one rainy afternoon.
I answered with the literalness of a child, which, of course, at the time I was.
“You’re a monstrumologist, sir.”
“I am a mote of dust,” he said. “Who will remember me when I am gone?”
I glanced at the mountain of letters upon his desk. What did he mean? It seemed he knew everyone. Just that morning a letter had arrived from the Royal Society of London. Sensing he meant something deeper, I answered intuitively, “I will, sir. I will remember you.”
“You! Well, I suppose you won’t have much choice in the matter.” His eyes wandered to the phonograph. “Do you know it was not always my desire to be a scientist? When I was much younger, my great ambition was to be a poet.”
If he had stated that his brain were made of Swiss cheese, I would not have been more flabbergasted.
“A poet, Dr. Warthrop?”
“Oh, yes. The desire is gone, but the temperament, you may have noticed, still lingers. I was quite the romantic, Will Henry, if you can imagine it.”
“What happened?” I asked.
“I grew up.”
He placed one of his thin, delicate fingers upon the ceresin cylinder, running the tip along the pits and grooves like a blind man reading braille.
“There is no future in it, Will Henry,” he said pensively. “The future belongs to science. The fate of our species will be determined by the likes of Edison and Tesla, not Wordsworth or Whitman. The poets will lie upon the shores of Babylon and weep, poisoned by the fruit that grows from the ground where the Muses’ corpses rot. The poets’ voices will be drowned out by the gears of progress. I foresee the day when all sentiment is reduced to a chemical equation in our brains—hope, faith, even love—their exact locations pinned down and mapped out, so we may point to it and say, ‘Here, in this region of our cerebral cortex, lies the soul.’”
“I like poetry,” I said.
“Yes, and some like to whittle, Will Henry, so they will always find trees.”
“Have you kept any of your poems, Doctor?”
“No, I have not, for which you should be grateful. I was horrible.”
“What did you write about?”
“What every poet writes about. I fail to understand it, Will Henry, your uncanny gift for seizing upon the most tangential aspect of the issue and drubbing it to death.”
To prove him wrong, I said, “I will never forget you, sir. Ever. And neither will the whole world. You’ll be more famous than Edison and Bell and all the rest put together. I’ll make sure of it.”
“I will pass into oblivion, to the vile dust from whence I sprung, unwept, unhonored, and unsung. . . . That is poetry, in case you’re wondering. Sir Walter Scott.”
He stood up, and now his countenance shone with the profundity of his passion, at once terrifying and strangely beautiful, the look of the mystic or the saint, transported from the constraints of ego and all fleshy desires.
“But I am nothing. My memory is nothing. The work is everything, and I will not see it mocked. Though the cost be my very life, I will not let it pass, Will Henry. If von Helrung should succeed—if we allow our noble cause to be reduced to the study of the silly superstitions of the masses—so that we jibber-jabber on about the nature of the vampire or the zombie as if they sat at the same table as the manticore and the Anthropophagus, then monstrumology is as dead as alchemy, as ridiculous as astrology, as serious as one of Mr. Barnum’s sideshow freaks!
“Grown men, educated men, men of the highest sophistication and social refinement, cross themselves like the most ignorant peasant when they pass this house. ‘What queer and unnatural goings-on in there, the house of Warthrop!’ When you yourself can attest that there is nothing queer or unnatural about it, that what I deal in is altogether natural, that if it weren’t for me and men like me, these fools might find themselves choking on their own entrails or being digested in the belly of some beast no more queer than the lowly housefly!”
He drew a breath deeply, the pause before the start of the next movement in his symphony, then suddenly he became very still, head cocked slightly to one side. I listened, but heard nothing but the rain’s gentle kiss upon the window and the metronomic tick-tick of the mantel clock.
“Someone is here,” he said. He turned and peered through the blinds. I could see nothing but the reflection of his angular face. How hollow his cheeks! How pale his flesh! He had spoken boldly of his ultimate fate—did he know how close he seemed to that vile dust from whence he came?
“Quickly, to the door, Will Henry. Whoever it is, remember I am indisposed and can’t receive visitors. Well, what are you waiting for? Snap to, Will Henry, snap to!”
A moment later the bell rang. He closed the study door behind me. I lit the jets in the front hall to chase away the preternatural shadows lying thick in the entryway, and threw wide the door to behold the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in all the years of my exceedingly long life.
© 2010 Rick Yancey
Reading Group Guide
The Monstrumologist 2: Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey
A Discussion Guide
About the Book
Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, specialist in monstrumology, the study of real-life monsters, is asked by his former fiancée to rescue her husband, John Chanler, from the Wendigo, a ghastly creature with an insatiable appetite for human flesh. Although Warthrop considers the Wendigo fictitious, he relents and goes with his young assistant, Will Henry, to the Canadian wilderness to rescue Chanler from death and starvation, only to see Chanler exhibit/develop the characteristics/murderous hunger of the Wendigo. Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry must hunt down the ultimate predator, who, like the legendary vampire, is neither living nor dead, and whose hunger for human flesh is never satisfied. This second book in The Monstrumologist series explores the thin, tenuous lines between myth and reality, love and hate, genius and madness.
In the preface prologue, the author writes: “The central question, the thing that woke me in the dead of night shivering in a cold sweat, the notion which haunted me as I fought to go back to sleep . . . could monsters be real?” Ask readers to name monsters they know from books, movies, and television. Ask them if they think there is any possibility that any monsters could be real. If so, how would readers go about proving the existence of monsters?
The novel mentions historians, scientists, and writers about whom readers probably know very little about. Use online sources or reference books to research background information on the following people: Dante Alighieri, Algernon Blackwood, Thomas Byrnes, Cicero, Thomas Edison, Gustave Eiffel, Sir Henry Irving, Ozymandias, Louis Pasteur, John Pemberton, Henri Poincaré, Jacob Riis, Sir Walter Scott, Nikola Tesla, William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), Jules Verne, Walt Whitman, and William Wordsworth.
There are multiple references to Greek and Roman mythology in the story. Use online sources or reference books to research background information on the following terms: bacchanal, Charon, Dionysian, Gaia, Minos's labyrinth, Narcissus, siren, Sibyl, and Sisyphus.
The author uses a great deal of sophisticated vocabulary in the novel. Not knowing the meaning of some of the words will not impede readers’ enjoyment or understanding of the story, but learning the meanings of the words will provide a valuable enrichment experience. Have readers work in small groups and organize the words into categories of their own choosing based on the definitions of the words. Words could be organized in such categories as anatomical, biological, literary, mythological, philosophical, and technical. Have groups categorize the following words: alacrity, animistic, antediluvian, anthropomorphize, arduously, bestial, boreal, brougham, bucolic, chimera, colloquium, convivial, cosmology, cravat, deferential, detritus, disingenuous, doldrums, effluvia, enigmatic, erstwhile, esoteric, facetious, filial, inchoate, irrefutable, Jovian, largess, lassitude, maelstrom, malaise, malevolent, melee, metaphysical, miasma, mollified, morass, multifarious, obsequious, ocherous, panoply, preternatural, prodigious, profundity, progeny, punctilious, recalcitrant, sepulchral, serration, sobriquet, stultifying, succor, sullen, suppurating, sylvan, taciturn, temerity, treatise, umbrage, vehement, vertiginous, and zephyr.
Why do you think the author prefaces the story with real news stories from the 1890s reported in The New York Times?
In the preface, the author reports that Will Henry was declared dead on June 17, 2007. Will Henry claimed he was born in 1876, but his physician attributes this claim to dementia. What does the author discover in Will Henry’s journal that makes him think the claim may be true?
What is it that Dr. Warthrop finds so troubling about the proposal of Abram von Helrung?
What is Will Henry’s response to Dr. Warthrop’s confession that his great ambition as a young man was to be a poet?
Why do you think Dr. Warthrop is able to accept the existence of monsters like the manticore and the Anthropophagus, but not vampires or zombies?
What do you think Dr. Warthrop is referring to when he mentions “Mr. Barnum’s sideshow freaks”?
Why is Will Henry so stunned at the appearance of Muriel Chanler on their doorstep? Why does Dr. Warthrop refuse her request? What is Muriel’s response to Dr. Warthrop’s refusal?
Muriel calls Dr. Warthrop “vain and vindictive.” Do you agree with her characterization?
Will Henry says of Dr. Warthrop, “Dark demons possessed him.” (p. 30) What do you think those demons are?
What does Dr. Warthrop reveal about his relationship with Abram von Helrung? What is Warthrop’s opinion of him as a monstrumologist?
What makes Dr. Warthrop have a change of heart and go in search of John Chanler? What does he reveal about his relationship with Chanler?
Who are The Suckers and their leader, John Fiddler? What is their possible connection to the disappearance of Chanler and his guide, Pierre Larose?
What does Dr. Warthrop reveal about his relationship with Muriel and how she came to marry John Chanler?
How does Will Henry feel about his humanity when he goes into the wilderness with Dr. Warthrop and their guide, Sergeant Hawk, in search of Chanler and Larose?
Dr. Warthrop says to Sergeant Hawk: “You see, there is a movement afoot to expand the scope of our inquiries to include these very creatures of which you spoke—vampires, werewolves and the like—a movement to which I am very much opposed.” (p. 60) Do you agree with Dr. Warthrop’s argument for why these creatures and the Wendigo cannot exist? How would you counter his argument that the creatures do exist?
Will Henry tells Sergeant Hawk that he believes Dr. Warthrop’s motive for searching for John Chanler is less about finding Chanler than it is about pleasing Muriel. Do you agree?
In what condition is Pierre Larose’s body found?
What does the search party learn from their encounter with Jack Fiddler?
In what condition is John Chanler found?
What do The Suckers want the search party to do with Chanler?
Why do you think Dr. Warthrop is so insistent that no one but him touch Chanler?
How does Will Henry describe Chanler when he grabs him? From the description, does Chanler seem more human or monster?
What are the differences Dr. Warthrop sees in his and Chanler’s approach to monstrumology?
In what condition is Sergeant Hawk’s body found? How does Will Henry differ with Dr. Warthrop in his conclusion about the cause of death?
At the beginning of Folio V is a quote from Henry David Thoreau: “Men are probably nearer the central truth in their superstitions than in their science.” What do you think Thoreau means in this statement, and how does it relate to Dr. Warthrop’s and Will Henry’s belief or lack thereof in the Wendigo?
Why do you think Dr. Winthrop insists on attributing the last incident in the woods to a “freak meteorological phenomenon” and an earthquake?
Why do you think Dr. Winthrop chooses not to tell the detectives the real reason for Chanler’s expedition?
When Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry see the recovering Chanler, Chanler claims that it is a “damned Irishman” named Abraham Stoker who is to blame for the ordeal. To what famous literary figure is Chanler referring? What is Stoker most famous for writing?
What does Dr. Warthrop reveal to Will Henry about his parents and childhood?
Dr. Warthrop tells Will Henry that one’s perceptions are shaped by individual experiences, which calls into question the whole notion of objective truth. He also says that one’s perceptions cannot be trusted and that there is a tendency to project them upon others. How are Dr. Warthrop’s perceptions affecting the way he sees John Chanler?
What is Will Henry’s response to Lilly’s delight in paging through the gruesome Compendia ex Horrenda Maleficii?
What does Lilly reveal to Will Henry about what happened between Dr. Warthrop, Muriel, and John Chanler?
Why does Will Henry pick up the Mongolian Death Worm even though it goes against his better judgment?
Why does Muriel tell Dr. Warthrop that she wished he’d died in Vienna?
When the body of Augustin Skala is found and Chanler is discovered missing, why does Dr. Warthrop continue to insist that Chanler is suffering from “the mental and physical effects” of the “Wendigo Psychosis”? (p. 279)
What does Van Helrung reveal to Dr. Warthrop about Chanler’s reason for going in search of the Wendigo? What does he mean when he tells Warthrop that “Outiko is not the only thing that consumes us”? (p. 306)
What is Dr. Warthrop’s explanation to Gravois for why Van Helrung clings to the belief that Chanler has been transformed into a Wendigo? What does Will Henry conclude about the reason for why Warthrop cannot admit the possibility that Chanler has transformed into a monster? Who do you think is correct, Warthrop or Will Henry?
What is Will Henry’s response to finding the abandoned infant on the floor? Do you agree with his decision to leave it behind?
Why do you think Dr. Warthrop chooses not to fire at Chanler?
After the death of Chanler, Will Henry observes Dr. Warthrop: “I detected that he was more confounded than angry . . . That the doctor’s faith had been shattered by me, the last soul on earth bound to him in any way, seemed beyond his ability to comprehend.” (p. 430) What is the irony in Will Henry’s observation?
Dr. Warthrop tells Will Henry not to feel guilty about the death of the infant because he did what anyone else would have done in the same circumstance. Do you agree? Would you have acted differently in the same situation?
What do you think the author means when he says in the epilogue: “Perhaps my quest, if one could call it that, is more about bringing him out than finding him out. Perhaps by discovering who he was and to whom he belongs, I can bring Will Henry home.” (p. 424)
How would you characterize the relationship between Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry? How does the relationship between them change in the course of the story?
What are examples of how the author uses sensory imagery in the story?
In pairs or small groups, ask readers to create the text and illustrations for an entry in the Encyclopedia Bestia. They can create an entry for either a monster already mentioned in the novel or one of their choosing. Share the entries with the entire reading group when completed.
Algernon Blackwood was a highly regarded English author of horror and supernatural fiction published mostly in the early twentieth century. “The Wendigo,” published in 1910, is one of his best-known stories. The complete text of the story is available at http://www.horrormasters.com/Text/a0228.pdf. Read the story and compare and contrast Blackwood’s depiction of the Wendigo with its depiction in the novel.
Jacob Riis was a muckraking journalist best known for his book How the Other Half Lives (1890), an influential illustrated exposé of tenement life in lower Manhattan in the latter half of the ninteenth century. Share passages of the book with your readers and show them the illustrations.
Several references are made in the novel to the Gilded Age and historical figures associated with it. Use online sources or reference books to research background information on this period of American history and notable figures who were part of it.
This guide was written by Edward T. Sullivan, a librarian and writer.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The sequel to The Monstrumologist, The Curse of the Wendigo, is as equally captivating and thrilling as it's predecessor. Rick Yancey brings back his beloved (and slightly odd) characters Will Henry and Dr. Warthrop this time to help locate his ex-finance's husband. I adored Dr. Warthrop in The Monstrumologist, but it soon grew to love. Rick takes you through some of the Doctor's many layers and allows you to see that he is not as hardened as previously thought. With a few glimpse into the Doctor's past, a few dangerous situations, and a few up close looks at a some corpses you begin to see how much he really does care for Will Henry. There were a few heart melting scenes between them. Will Henry is the same amazing, sweet boy. I absolutely love him and his loyalty to the Doctor. No matter the danger he felt compelled to follow and protect the Doctor even to the point of taking a beating. Good job, Mr. Yancey, as always.
I read The Monstrumologist and was hooked! I loved the superb language usage- something that any adult or well-versed young adult could read with great pleasure. Great suspense- super description and mystery as Will and the Doctor chase the elusive Wendigo.
The Curse of the Wendigo is a horror/supernatural thriller written by author Rick Yancy. This book has been award winners for the Booklist Editors' Choice - Books for Youth - Older Readers Category: 2010, and the YALSA Best Books for Young Adults: 2011.The Curse of the Wendigo is based on journals three and four of a man named Will Henry that are found in senior citizen¿s home after he has passed away. The first two journals are written in to the first book in this series ¿ The Monstrumologist. Please note that the journals and stories are entirely fictional.Set in the late 1800¿s, Will Henry is a 12 year old orphaned apprentice of a doctor who studies monsters, Dr. Pellinore Warthrop. One day, Dr. Warthrop receives a letter informing him that his old mentor, Dr. von Helrung proposes to include the mythical creature, the Wendigo, as a real monster to the Monstrumologist Society in New York. The Wendigo is a creature that starves even as it consumes human flesh, and like a vampire, is created by turning a human into one of them.While working on his rebuttal for this proposal one night, Muriel Chanler, the wife of Dr. Warthrop¿s friend John shows up. John Chanler has disappeared in the Canadian wilderness while trying to find proof of the existence of the Wendigo. Muriel Chanler begs for Dr. Warthrop to try and find her husband. Seeing this as a way to prove that the Wendigo does not exist, Dr. Warthrop agrees. Finding John Chanler being held captive by group of natives who believe that he is turning into a Wendigo, Dr. Warthrop rescues his friend. John is very sick, and must be carried out of the wilderness.With John Chanler returning to New York to recover, Dr. Warthrop follows intending to give his rebuttal on the existence of the Wendigo, his main physical evidence being John Chanler himself. But instead, John Chanler might be proof of the existence of the Wendigo. John goes missing from his hospital room, and following his escape, there is a series of gruesome murders, where the victims have their hearts eaten.Has John Chanler gone crazy from his time in the Canadian wilderness, or is it something much worse?Although this is book two of the series The Monstrumologist, one does not have to read the first book to enjoy the second; each is written as its own stand alone story. I thought that this was a really good book. I think that older teens and adults will enjoy this book. The description of detail is amazing, which at times can work against it since the story is quite gory; so this might not be the best book to read before bedtime.The settings in 19th century New York are believable, and the mix of truth and fiction in the settings themselves makes it hard for a reader to distinguish the difference between the two. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes horror or supernatural thrillers.
After getting this from the library, I was sad to discover that it is the second in a series. However, unwilling to wait until April for Monstrumologist to be returned to the library, I decided to read it anyway. And, honestly, I didn't feel as though I was missing anything. The first book might have given some back story to Will Henry, but I never felt lost.After reading the prologue, I was not sure what to expect with this book. Either way, I was extremely surprised! The book follows Will Henry, who is orphaned and left to live with his father's mentor. The doctor is a monstrumologist and studies "mythical" creatures. Even after reading the book, I'm not quite sure how the doctor differentiates between the myth of the Wendgio, vampire, werewolf, and zombie and actual creatures. *shrug* After being approached by an old friend, the doctor and Will set out to Rat Portage to find the doctor's best friend, John Chanler.This book was creepy! I'm not sure any other way to describe it. It was good, enthralling, riveting, engaging, and very, very creepy. Not only does it delve deeply into the myth of the Wendigo, but also into human nature. I'm excited to read the Monstrumologist, but I'm afraid it will not be as good as this book. I hope Rick has more books in the works, but I guess it depends on the folios left.
Mini Book Review: Well, I definitely enjoyed this more than the Monstrumologist based solely on the fact that it wasn't as graphic. The storyline was a lot more fast paced and easier to read, less Victorian Gothic. There was a lot more scenes dealing with the relationship between Will Henry and the Dr, and you really started to actually feel that the Dr was more of a human character and less of a caricature. I now am actually looking forward to The Isle of Blood which Simon and Schuster has sent me for review. Just a warning this is still a quite dark and often depressing series, and definitely not for the sensitive or squeamish reader. But the writing is outstanding and the plot highly original. These would be great fit for male YA readers who like some gore and excitement.3.5 Dewey'sI borrowed this through the Inter-library Loan service at the Albion Bolton Public Library
"The Monstrumologist" was one of my favorite books from 2009. It harkens back to the horror books of old. Terrifying, brilliantly written and gory enough to make the reader cringe.I felt that the follow up, "The Curse of the Wendigo," could have been so much better. The writing is still exquisite, but I found the plot points more worthy of a predictable Hollywood script. Will's life in endangered three times, (aah, the magical number three; always found in cheesy scripts) making him the ultimate victim. I think if his life had only been on the line once it would have made for a taut thriller. Instead I found myself counting until the third one happened and rolling my eyes at certain points.If there is a third book, I hope it doesn't rely on what's obvious and instead goes with the unexpected...
Young William Henry continues to recount his adventures with the monstrumologist, Pellinore Warthrop. Sent into the wilderness on a Fool's Errand, Will Henry and Dr. Warthrop head to Canada to rescue Pellinore's colleague and friend, John Chanler, who went into the woods in search of the mythical Wendigo. Pellinore is appalled that his friend would be chasing a beast that lives only in fairy tales, but goes at the request of Chanler's wife, Muriel, because of their long and complicated history. After finding and bringing Chanler out (not without some gruesome and unexplained casualties), Pellinore seems to be the only one convinced that Chanler is not cursed by the Wendigo. As they introduce Chanler back into New York society, his condition declines until it is fairly obvious that a monster, whether cursed or deranged, has been let loose on a vulnerable population. Will Henry and Dr. Warthrop must recapture Chanler before the rest of the monstrumological society can kill him. The Curse of the Wendigo explores Will Henry and the monstrumologist's relationship, as well as the monstrumologist's past and the workings of his mysterious society. I found this story much creepier than the first book and subsequently enjoyed it that much more.
Aaargh! There be spoilers within! So, Monstrumologist (1) was fantastic: it gave me chills and nightmares and was so one of a kind I was amazed. Monstrumoligist (2): so-so. The trip to Canada and back was scary and fierce, but the "climax" in NYC was just-boring. Entirely too much like Jack the Ripper, despite the murder of Dr. Warthrop's only true love, which was clearly not random, but revenge. Also, the journalist-Mr. Yancey- researching "diaries"-a forced plot device. Why not just punt that and get on with the story?As for Dr. von Helrung's monster theory re: Chanler being under the spell of the Wendigo, there are serial killers who have done much worse (and haven't looked much better when caught). Jeffrey Dahmer-cannibal, and there have been others. There are medical explanations for Chanler's state. Chadler's yellow eyes-jaundice from liver failure. Chanler's behavior-psychosis; who knows what horrors he experienced in the wilds of Canada and what underlying psychological problems he already had? I'm on Warthrop's side vs. von Helrung's about admitting mythical creatures to the Society's esteemed list of possibilities.
In serving his monstrumologist master, young Will Henry narrowly escapes death, again. This time the threat is a monster whose existence is disputed by Dr. Warthrop--the Wendigo. The very question of recognising the existence of Wendigoes, Vampires and Werewolves causes a rift in the Monstrumological Society, and Dr. Warthrop's position on the matter ends up threatening the entirety of New York City. As in the first novel, cameo appearances are put in by notable figures from the time period--like the muckraking photographer Jacob Riis, who acts as a guide to navigating the slums of the city. This is a great read for anyone who enjoys a mystery and has the stomach for gorey parts.
A Wendigo is a ¿mythical¿ creature appearing in the mythology of the Algonquian Indians. It is a malevolent cannibalistic spirit into which humans could transform or which could possess humans. Well, just how `mythical¿ this creature is, is the subject of Rick Yancey¿s follow-up to The Monstrumologist, the action packed, gory, exciting book about Anthropophagi, beasts without a head, who have their faces on their body. As in the first book, the author is purportedly merely publishing the journal of Will Henry, who at the time of his death was aged around 130. However, the events in the journal took place when he was twelve. Of course, the famous monstrumologist, Pellinore Warthrop, Will Henry¿s guardian and mentor, plays a significant role in the bookl. Will Henry describes events concerning their search for and ultimate rescue of John Chanler, Warthrop¿s best friend and husband of his ex-fiance, Muriel, the woman he always loved. John has traveled to Canada in search of the Wendigo and has not returned. Although Warthrop initially refuses to attempt to find him, love and duty win out and Warthrop and Henry set out on their journey.They do find Chanler, malnourished and delirious, and bring him home. It is during their return journey and their stay in New York City for the annual Monstrumologist Conference that the action, blood and guts and gore, and cannibalism begin. Victims of Chanler¿s attacks are many and include Will Henry himself. Unlike The Monstrumologist, The Curse of the Wendigo deals more with the philosophical, the existence or non-existence of this creature. Warthrop is dead set against admitting that such a blood thirsty being exists and has taken over Chanler, despite evidence to the contrary. His peers are divided on the issue. While there is blood and guts aplenty, there is less so and less action than in The Monstrumologist. There¿s even a touch of romance, both for Will Henry and Pellinore Warthrop, but not enough to deter those interested in action and adventure.I enjoyed The Curse of the Wendigo, but not quite as much as The Monstrumologist. Having said that, I¿m sure there¿s a third book coming out and I¿m definitely looking forward to reading it. If you like the weird, the bloody, the action packed, then these two books are for you. After writing about Anthropophagi and Wendigos, I can¿t imagine what Yancey will write about next. Whatever it is, it¿ll surely grab you. (Just make sure it doesn¿t bite!)
Author Rick Yancey continues his tale of the eclectic monstrumologist and his young apprentice Will Henry is The Curse of the Wendigo. The story is told, once again, through a collection of folios supposedly discovered by the author and simple edited for publication here. This time, Dr. Warthrop, the monstrumologist, is visited by a woman from his past named Muriel, who is looking for help. Muriel's husband, it turns out, is cursed by a monster, later discovered to be a Wendigo, a horrifying vampire-like monster who is cursed with an insatiable hunger, which only grows as it eats. Will Henry and the monstrumologist travel to Gilded Age-era New York to help Muriel's husband and attend the annual society of monstrumology meeting (which is Dr. Warthrop's favorite event of the year) .Will Henry must defeat the horrible Wendigo while dealing with his mentor's scandalous romantic past and some new friends.Where do I start with Curse of the Wendigo? Well, to begin with, it's awesome. It's just as good as The Monstrumologist, if not better. The pure horror, the outrageous monsters, the fabulous world. Wendigo builds on the solid foundation created in the first novel and expands the world. For example, I thought the inclusion of an entire society dedicated to the study of monstrumology was pretty cool, though it's hard to believe there are other people out there are eccentric as the doctor. Not only that, but Wendigo also takes Will Henry and Dr. Warthrop to New York, where the entire city is terrorized by a horrible monster -and Yancey introduces female characters. Oh yes, female characters, can you believe it? They bring a breath of fresh air to the novel and add a new dimension to Will Henry's universe. Thirteen year-old Lilly, a wanna-be monstrumologist, is a particular favorite. Though she seems to be bad news for Will Henry, she's a spunky, fun character who brought life into every scene she was in. I really hope she returns in future installments of the series.Probably the best way to describe Curse of the Wendigo is to think of it as a cross between Mary Shelly and Stephen King -it's spine-chilling horror in a literary package. Yancey's writing style is gorgeous. The Gilded Age period nature of the book does add to this, but it's Yancey's prose that truly makes the story shine. There were times where I even went back and re-read certain passages because they were filled with such vivid and engaging imagery. I held on to every word.As for sequels, I'm not sure what's planned at this point. It this a trilogy, a series? Yancey does write each book as if it were the last, and there is no over-arching plot, so it's hard to tell. I hope to see more, though (read: I want more, and I don't want to wait!). This is truly a wonderfully unique and awesome series that readers shouldn't pass up.
Will Henry is a child when he accompanies his ward, Dr. Warthrop to Canada to search for a missing man who had gone in search of the mysterious Wendigo. Finding him, they return to New York, only to discover that they have brought an incredible murderous evil with them.
Amazing wordage. Gory details but sprinkled with bits and pieces of warm fuzzies. Thankfully, Yancy gives descriptions of the Monstrumologist's creatures and not aimply dismissing them as "horrible creatures with razor teeth and tails" or something like that. Not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach.
A little gory but really entertaining; the one thing i hve to say is that Rick Yacey uses a lot of very large words foe no reason. He sometimes rambles on on one thought thats really not important and I think its just to use big words, but besides this its excellet!!
I have finished the series, however, my Nook wouldn't let me write a review on The Island of Blood for some odd reason. I definetly enjoyed the dark fiction, as well as the cultural elements in the trilogy. This has the language style of Kathren Fisher's Incarceron, the richness if Chris Woodings' Retribution Falls, and the darkness of Kohatu Hiranu's Hellsing. A great series.