The Monstrumologist by Richard Yancey

I will forever associate reading The Monstrumologist with the screeching sound of the subway. The first week I was in New York, applying for jobs and trying to figure out where I was going and what I was doing with my life, I read this story on the hour long subway trip into Manhattan. I hadn’t quite figured out yet that if you walk to the end of the stop, you’ll usually find a seat, even at rush hour, at least at my stop. So I spent most of the time reading this book standing up, uncomfortable, blisters on my feet. Sweating. I’m sorry, is this TMI? But I’m only telling you because even now, when I hear the subway rush into the station and hear the brakes and see the sparks, I am immediately rushed back to Will Henry and Pellinore Warthrop’s harrowing tale of Anthropophagi, horrible humanoid beasts that have no head, only a gaping mouth where their neck should be and eyes on their shoulders.

I’ll be honest: I picked up The Monstrumologist after the hullabaloo surrounding the novel a few weeks ago when it was announced that Simon & Schuster wouldn’t be continuing the series, despite positive reviews. It was this interview with Richard Yancey over at Bookshelves of Doom that really pushed me over the edge and got me to buy the book, and this quote specifically:

That should have been the end of it. I’ve been writing professionally for eight years now and have had two series cancelled, and I moved on. You have to. You gotta be able to shrug it off. Oh, well, it didn’t fly, something wasn’t right, fix that and make the next one better, etc., etc. That’s what a pro is supposed to do. Because if you don’t, you’re dead. The bloated corpse of your dead story will drag you into the grave with it.

And yet . . . I did not account for the BIGGEST mistake I made with this series. Maybe the biggest mistake a creative writer (or any creative person) can make: I fell in love with my creation. I mean, fell HARD, like Romeo for Juliet, like Bella for Edward, like Nick Cage’s character in that movie, City of Angels, for Meg Ryan. Not in the romantic sense, but in the oh-god-this-is-all-I-can-think-about sense.

And just, you know, any author that loves his book this hard? That has put this much work into it? That cares this much about the characters to compare it to the obsessive relationship between Edward and Bella (if only for the laughs)? You know what, I’ve just got to read that book. So read it I did.

I don’t think I was expecting it to be as violent and disturbing as it was, but it felt so real. Maybe the fact that every time I picked up the novel I was completely transported out of the subway, out of my painful heels, out of that cramped car, away from my aches and pains made it that much better. I really loved this story, but it’s taken some distance for me to admit that. This is a dark story, it’s scary, but it’s one that’s full of heart and amazing characters.

The good news is that Simon and Schuster is continuing the series because so many people bought the books. I’m so glad to hear it and I’m glad that people bought the book. People who were like me. Because I couldn’t not continue reading this series. It just wouldn’t be possible. Especially not when I have the subway to remind me every day.

So go read this!: now | tomorrow | next week | next month | next year | when you’ve read everything else




5 thoughts on “The Monstrumologist by Richard Yancey

  1. As soon as I finish my dissertation and can actually read for fun again I’m getting this from the library. All the love it received recently from people I trust has be dying to read it. Plus it sounds like a perfect autumn read.

  2. I have never even heard of this book! How out of the loop am I?!? I just went to the author’s website and watched the book trailer… spoooooky! Perfect seasonal reading, I think… and perhaps just the kind of book that would work well for a Steph & Tony read aloud session. Will definitely be looking into this one some more!

  3. Wow, I didn’t know about all the hullabaloo! I read this one and I agree- it was VERY graphic, but also quite well written. I have the sequel on my shelf and think I may read it around Halloween 🙂

  4. I just read your interview with Sheila and I saw this at the bottom of the page, so I had to comment here first. I loved this bok when I first read it, I blame Stephanie of Misfit Salon for that. I loved the world and I can’t wave to dive back in. Andother book you may want to read is Rotters by Daniel Kraus.

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