The Monstrumologist

Will Henry has a weird job – he is the assistant to a monstrumologist, a scientist who studies and hunts monsters. It’s late 19th century and Anthropophagi are found to have a colony in Will’s hometown, and the monsters are breeding and feeding upon it’s food of choice: humans. Can the monstumologist hunt these carnivorous beasts and protect the community from their killing rampages? For those of you who don’t like venturing down to a dark basement alone, here’s an excerpt where 12-year-old Will’s imagination runs wild when faced with the same task. Only he has reason to fear. In his basement hangs a dead Anthropophagus.

The weathered boards creaked and groaned beneath my trembling tread; the hairs on the back of my neck stood up; and my calves felt numb and tingly as imagination overcame cool intellect. With each step my heart beat faster, for in my mind’s eye I saw it beneath the stairs, crouching on all fours upon the sweating stone floor, a headless beast with blank black eyes set deep in its shoulders and a mouth overflowing with row upon row of glistening teeth, the lion in the savanna brush, the shark in the reef shadows, and I the grazing gazelle, the juvenile seal frolicking in the surf. It would rise as I descended. It would reach through the open slats and seize my ankle with its three-inch barbs. Once in its relenting grip I was doomed, doomed….

This Printz Honor Book is well written, with an interwoven plot, but beware: it is high on the gore radar. It includes a hideous beast, the slaughter of dozens of humans with graphic detail (disembowelment, brain and flesh eating, limb ripping). There is other gross content such as maggots eating human flesh and worm infestation complete with pus-filled carbuncles.

I’m all for an occasional good scare, but this scares you and grosses you out at the same time. I’m not kidding, the carnage was plenteous, and disturbing. So keep that in mind if you are considering reading this novel. And I wouldn’t advice reading it late at night or alone in the dark, unless you want your imagination to run wild like Will Henry’s.

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