Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Curse of the Wendigo

The Curse of the Wendigo (Monstrumologist)The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey 
New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010
424 pages
4 out of 5

As apprentice to Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, Will Henry has lived a life dedicated to the pursuit of monstrumology: the study of monsters.  But when Dr. Warthrop is informed that his old mentor Dr. von Helrung is trying to prove the existence of the mythical Wendigo, he who devours all mankind, a creature that starves even as it gorges itself on human flesh, Will's world is punged into fresh turmoil.

Will and Dr. Warthrop must traverse the desolate wastelands of Canada...and in the process, may discover a truth far more terrifying then even they could have ever imagined.

I have a hard time with scary movies.  Blood and gore just make me feel nauseous these days, but thank goodness for Rick Yancey and The Monstrumologist series.  With this series I can satisfy my interest in this genre without the icky side effects. The story took a little longer to grip me than with the first one, but once I hit that stride I did not want to put this down. 

I love the structure of these books.  Yancey is supposedly the editor of William James Henry's journals that were found after his death.  He writes of visiting professors and doing research at the University of Florida and visiting places in Gainesville and Alachua.  The familiarity of these places really brings these stories to life. The structure is so great because it works.  When I read the opening passages where Yancey discusses the research behind the stories, I'm intrigued, but as soon as the story starts that all fades away and I find myself in Will Henry's world.  I completely forget that there is a Rick Yancey and the town I live in until the final pages.  He makes me want to believe that perhaps it might just be real.

The characters remain the same from the first title--Will Henry both awed and intimidated by his guardian, Dr. Warthrop.  Dr. Warthrop's determination and ego leading him along.  I love the way these two interact.  Also, the inclusion of Warthrop's former love and best friend adds conflict and interest to his character.  Overall, the characterizations are well done.

The Curse of the Wendigo is the second of the Monstrumologist series. Though it is not necessary to read the first book to understand the second, I highly recommend them both.  I am also happy to report that there will be a third to the series.
Disclosure: I borrowed this title from my local library.

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