Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published: September 19, 2010
Source: Won from YA Book Shelf (Thanks!)
Rating: 4.5 Stars
While attempting to disprove that Homo vampiris, the vampire, could exist, Dr. Warthrop is asked by his former fiancee to rescue her husband from the Wendigo, a creature that starves even as it gorges itself on human flesh, which has snatched him in the Canadian wilderness. Although Warthrop also considers the Wendigo to be fictitious, he relents and rescues her husband from death and starvation, and then sees the man transform into a Wendigo. Can the doctor and Will Henry hunt down the ultimate predator, who, like the legendary vampire, is neither living nor dead, 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.
In short: The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey does not hold back the horror and gore in this superb and gag-inducing sequel in the terrifying series.
So begins a new adventure with Will Henry, assistant monstrumologist, and his master and certified monstrumologist, Dr. Warthrop. Last time, in The Monstrumologist, the monster of the story was a well studied and known humanoid beast. This time, in The Curse of the Wendigo, the monster is the Wendigo, a vampire-like beast that is just a silly myth, not worthy of actual study because it doesn't exist, so says the doctor. Vampires aren't real and to believe they exist would be making a mockery of the monstrumologist profession. Or so the doctor thinks.
Though the Wendigo isn't exactly like a vampire as we know it, it is a similar monster. Though I have been impressed in the past by authors of the myriad vampire novels out there and their ability to create distinct vampire lore to distinguish themselves, now after having read The Curse of the Wendigo, they pale in originality. Rick Yancey has written the most creative vampire-esque novel I've ever read with The Curse of the Wendigo.
Also, if possible, Yancey has created a monster even more terrifying than the one he wrote in The Monstrumologist! Imagine a beast that pulls out his prey's eyeballs and feasts on its heart. One with a perverse sense of humour that rips off one prey's face and places it over top of another, and scoops out the bowels of another to write messages on the wall. I really love that Rick Yancey just goes for it, you know? He really doesn't hold back and present a watered down monster for fear of turning away readers. He brings on the gore, blood, and feces in gag-inducing amounts. I can appreciate that. Even if lots of the scenes made me want to throw up my lunch.
I'm not sure I would like this particular brand of horror if it were set in a modern setting. But the gothic Victorian backdrop makes a perfect and creepy setting for a plot that is so horrific. And the setting is so perfectly described too. The Monstrumologist takes place entirely in New England but in The Curse of the Wendigo, we get to see two more 19th century locations: the untamed and desolate wilderness of Canada, and New York City as it was at the end of the 1800s. I'm not a huge historical fiction fan, but did I ever find these settings fascinating to read! Isn't learning about history fun when you're learning it by way of a well written fiction novel?
The same things I loved about The Monstrumologist, the well developed characters and the exquisite writing, are also present in The Curse of the Wendigo. However, I didn't like The Curse of the Wendigo quite as much as its predecessor because of some pacing problems. Other than that, it is a strong and compelling addition to a terrifying and brilliant series. Not sure if this series is for you? I'd recommend trying out the first book The Monstrumologist. Don't worry, it can be read as a standalone as each book chronicles a different set of adventures for Will Henry.
The third and final book in the series, The Isle of Blood, is set to be released September 13, 2011.
Previously, my Review of The Monstrumologist.
A Myriad of Books
Good Books and Good Wine
*Read as part of the YA Series Challenge