Friday, May 31, 2013


Rick Yancey
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
464 pp.
Ages 14 - 17
Published:  2009

These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed. But he is dead now and has been for nearly ninety years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets. The one who saved me . . . and the one who cursed me.

So starts the diary of Will Henry, orphan and assistant to a doctor with a most unusual specialty: monster hunting. In the short time he has lived with the doctor, Will has grown accustomed to his late night callers and dangerous business. But when one visitor comes with the body of a young girl and the monster that was eating her, Will's world is about to change forever. The doctor has discovered a baby Anthropophagus—a headless monster that feeds through a mouth in its chest—and it signals a growing number of Anthropophagi. Now, Will and the doctor must face the horror threatenning to overtake and consume our world before it is too late.


Wow. I've been hearing about Yancey's historical/horror/paranormal book for a few years now and it's been at the top of my TBR list. I finally got a chance to listen to it via my Ipod on a very long trip to Salt Lake City and back. I have to say this story really lives up to the hype. Yancey masters the language of the late nineteenth century without sounding arrogant or contrived. His young protagonist, Will Henry, is shockingly complex and yet fully accessible. And the Monstromologist himself--what a wonderfully compelling character! Reminiscent of Dr. Jeckyl and Sherlock Holmes, he is both irritating and unforgettable.  Yancey weaves a yarn so unnatural, so strangely believable, you very nearly doubt your own understanding of reality. My kids and I were riveted all the way to very last sentence. One of the best books in recent years and one I highly recommend. Due to the graphic violence described, however, I would caution sharing this book with readers under twelve years of age. But even a youngster who is familiar with books like The Hunger Games series might handle this just fine.  I can't wait to read the other books in this series.


Profanity:  None
Sexuality:  None
Violence:  Extreme

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