As you may remember, it was a bit dicey there whether or not the publisher for the Monstrumologist series would commit to a fourth book. Fans made it known online they wanted another book, and, ultimately, yes, there shall be a fourth book!
As a quick recap to those new to the series, in the nineteenth century world of The Monstrumologist, monsters are real, and the intense, dedicated Dr. Warthrop chases down and studies all types of monsters with his reluctant assistant, Will Henry, aged 12. It’s intense, it’s bloody, it’s action packed and, at the same time, a wonderful character study and beautifully written.
That is wonderful news — that the publisher listened to the fans. But, it’s not the end of the story. The fan support doesn’t end with that announcement; the fan support needs to continue to provide the proof that the right decision was made, and yes, there are readers for the book and yes, there are readers for the series. So, go! Read the books yourself! Make sure your libraries has copies! Booktalk this series to teens and adults! Ask your bookstore about this series! It matters…. and part of the reason it matters has nothing to do with the Monstrumologist series. It matters because books matter; and because the next time readers rally online for an author or series, you want the publisher to look at this fan support as a positive. And positive means readers and buyers for the books.
So, here is a round up of some of the online buzz about The Isle of Blood and the Monstrumologist series:
From my review of The Isle of Blood: “It is February 1889 and thirteen year old Will Henry and his mentor / employer, monstrumologist Pellinore Warthrop, get a special delivery from their old friend Jack Kearns. The gift is the second greatest prize in monstrumology: it will inspire Warthrop and will to seek out the first greatest prize, racing across the globe to find it before anyone else does. Will is pushed to his physical, mental, and emotional limits as he is forced to face the ultimate question: what is a man and what is a monster? What is the difference between the two?” My reviews of the first two books in the series, The Monstrumologist and The Curse of the Wendigo. And, just because it fascinates me and reminds me of monstrumology, the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia.
Fat Girl, Reading shares a review by a real! live! teenager! If you want to know why I adore Angie Manfredi (the librarian behind Fat Girl, Reading), it is because of things she says like this, about Bear, the teen who reviewed The Monstrumologist: “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.” Before going on to the review by Bear, I just have to add that yes, I’ve also encountered the attitude that teens and adults like Bear who are readers don’t need library services.
Anyway, back to our favorite Monstrumologist! From Bear’s review at Fat Girl, Reading: “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.”
When Angie loves something, she goes full throttle. Also from Fat Girl, Reading is So What, Exactly, Is The Monstrumologist? A Very Special Guest Post by Rick Yancey. (Also, I love that Rick is asked one question and goes on and on in his answer. I do that, too!) There is so much in Yancey’s answer that left me saying “really?!,” but I can only share a snippet: “And I wanted INTENSITY. Not just intensity of the chase and the inevitable physical dangers of monster-hunting, but psychological intensity, emotional intensity. 19th Century writers never shied away from this and Will, being forged in that time period, would not have either.”
But wait! There’s more! Angie continues to explore the need for reader’s advisory for nonreluctant readers and offers a Monstrumologist giveaway! Giveaway ends September 19. “The Monstrumologist is that book. It’s not for every reader. It’s not for many reluctant readers (though there are some who will be drawn in, much to their surprise!) It’s sophisticated, smart, classically structured, dense, and detailed. The Monstrumologist is a book for the teenagers who think that young adult literature doesn’t have anything left to offer them.”
From The Book Smugglers: a review of The Isle of Blood, which captures all that is good and gory about the latest Monstrumologist book. First, a peak of one what happens to one victim: “the man begins to change, his skin rotting and translucent, his eyes sensitive to light, his appetite so great that he begins to consume his own organs and appendages.” Then, Yancey goes there, the dark, dark places: “These are dark times, and The Isle of Blood is a dark, dark book. I cannot even begin to truly explain the depths that consume our heroes in this installment, or the impossible questions that Will and Warthrop are forced to answer. Unlike the first two books, this third installment has Will journeying into the heart of darkness, scaling the mountains of madness, and gazing into the Oculos Dei.” This, though, may be my favorite quote from the review: “this is a harrowing, nightmare of a book, beautiful in its cruelty and coldness.”
Also at The Book Smugglers is an interview with the Monstrumologist himself, Dr. Pellinore Xavier Warthrop, via Rick Yancey. These two questions showcase the brilliance that is the character of Dr. Warthrop and the humor that is found in this series: “Does that mean you think [your ward] Will Henry romanticizes [monstrumology]? A: I am forty years in the grave when he wrote the journals, so I cannot speak to what Will Henry does or does not do. I will say he has the poet’s annoying tendency to paint a garish face upon the most plain of countenances. Much of my work many would consider the most mindless drudgery. Leaving out being chased by Anthropophagi, hunted by Wendigos and stalked by the magnificum, the horrible beast in ISLE OF BLOOD? A: A tiny fraction of the work. It doesn’t surprise me that Will Henry would dwell on it. He was a reluctant witness to history.”
Bookshelves of Doom, August 16 Interview with Rick Yancey, before the fourth book was picked up: “A beloved writing teacher once paraphrased Joyce, saying, “A writer should be as indifferent as the gods toward his characters’ suffering.” Oops. Got THAT wrong. Somehow (and I can’t exactly pinpoint when) during the course of the three books, I had bonded myself with Warthrop and Will Henry. I vividly remember the night I wrote the final scene between them in The Isle of Blood, and I burst into extremely unmanly tears. I think I knew then this was it; my time with them was coming rapidly to an end – and I remember asking myself if that had something to do with the lateness of the manuscript – in other words, I was drawing the thing out, not wanting it to end because after it ended there would be a huge part of me that would have to end too – and I wasn’t ready for that.”
Jen Hubert Swan with the ReadingRants review: “Oh, how I love these books! Oh, how I wish there was a real Society for the Advancement of the Science of Monstrumology, and that I could sit down and have Darjeeling tea with Will and Dr. Warthrop! Like The Historian [by Elizabeth Kostova] or The Magicians [by Lev Grossman], this is a first rate philosophical horror/fantasy novel for both teens and adults that makes the heart pound, the blood sing and the mind bend with each new alarming adventure.”
Daniel Kraus (author of Rotters) reviews The Isle of Blood at Booklist: “The relationship between Will and his master has never been more complex: Will, subservient for so long, finds his rebellious streak when Warthrop takes on a new, more qualified assistant, while Warthrop’s mountainous ego threatens to destroy them all.”
Downright Creepy, interview with Rick Yancey: “DRC: What can fans expect from your upcoming novel “The Isle of Blood”? RY: To be frightened out of their freakin’ minds. Also to laugh more and, I hope, cry more. It’s emotionally brutal.”
Diary of a Book Addict review: “If you’ve read the other Monstrumologist books, Isle of Blood is another satisfying entry into the series. Filled with edge-of-your-seat action, spine-chilling horror and great characters, Isle of Blood is a satisfying conclusion to the series, even though fans are left wanting more.” My note: since that review was published, the final book was announced.
From The First Novel’s Club, a review of the first book: “My favorite character by far is Jack Kearns–a fellow monstrumologist with highly questionable morals who finds pretty much everything amusing. His wit and irreverence made me laugh aloud many, many times in the book, despite some of the horrifying things he does. As a writer, I couldn’t help but think that Jack Kearns must’ve been a blast to write, being so entertainingly villainous.”
To find even more, check out Rick Yancey’s Facebook Page.
I’m sorry I couldn’t like to everyone who posted reviews and interviews; please leave links in the comments. Thanks!