The central question, the thing that woke me in the dead of night shivering in a cold sweat, the notion which haunted me as I fought to go back to sleep . . . could monsters be real?
This is the question posed in the preface of Curse of the Wendigo, the sequel to The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey. Just what if creatures more terrifying than your most horrific nightmares actually existed? In the first book, Dr. Pellinore Warthrop and his young assistant, Will Henry, encounter a pack of Anthropophagi, a headless monster whose eyes are located on its shoulders and its mouth of sharp teeth where its stomach should be, and oh yeah, it likes the taste of human flesh. Of course, the people-eating monsters don’t end there. In Curse of the Wendigo, Dr. Warthrop is not convinced there is a monster at all. Rather, there is a madness affecting people, including one of his oldest friends, that turns them into cannibals. Bodies keep piling up, and Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry must either save the wendigo or save themselves.
These are not books for the faint of heart. Yancey’s descriptions are detailed and graphic, but they make the horror come alive. Yancey’s books are reminiscent of classic horror, such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or Bram Stoker’s Dracula, as they are set in the late 19th century and are written as if they actually originated in that era. Yancey elevates the horror genre, such as it is now in young adult fiction, far above sparkly vampires.
Be on the lookout for the next in the series, The Isle of Blood, coming soon to a branch near you.
-Heather Botelho, South Branch Library