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The Curse of the Wendigo

The Curse of the Wendigo [Monstrumologist] by Rick Yancey Middle School, High School Simon 424 pp. 10/10 978-1-4169-8450-4 $17.99
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In this sequel to the Printz Honor book The Monstrumologist, twelve-year-old Will Henry recounts the exploits of his master, Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, as together they venture forth into the Canadian wilderness to rescue an estranged friend from the mythical Wendigo, a vampire-like creature from American Indian mythology. John Chanler, now married to the only woman Dr. Warthrop ever loved, is found, albeit in terrible condition, and brought back to recuperate in New York City, where, incidentally, the monstrumologists are holding their annual conference. It doesn't take long for Chanler to disappear and a succession of gruesome murders to occur. Will and Dr. Warthrop risk their lives to hunt down the ruthless (possibly) supernatural killer. Will plays Watson to Warthrop's Holmes, observing and chronicling the talented genius in action with the appropriate amount of awe and admiration, although here the setting is Gilded Age New York rather than Victorian London. The first-person narrative is brooding and atmospheric, conveying just the right sense of mystery and horror. JONATHAN HUNT
Gr 9 Up—Will Henry, assistant to monstrumologist Pellinore Warthrop, finds a woman at his doorstep who seeks Warthrop's help in recovering her missing husband. He vanished while in search of a mythical creature known as the Wendigo, a vampirelike monster whose hunger for human flesh is insatiable. Will Henry and Warthrop travel to Canada to find Jack Fiddler, a Native shaman who was the last person to see Chanler alive. While he puts forward a supernatural scenario for Chanler's disappearance, Warthrop is convinced that there is a rational scientific explanation for everything, even when faced with seemingly incontrovertible evidence to the contrary. His stubborn commitment to the rational is challenged by his own mentor, Dr. von Helrung, who is about to propose that the Monstrumology Society accept mythological monsters as real. Refusing to accept what Chanler has become, Warthrop ends up endangering not only himself and Will but also the only woman he has ever loved. The style is reminiscent of older classic horror novels, such as Bram Stoker's Dracula, mixed with the storytelling sensibilities of Dickens. The ever-present, explicitly detailed, over-the-top, disgusting gore, however, is very much a product of modern times. The Curse of the Wendigo is certain to be popular with fans of The Monstrumologist (S & S, 2009), and the horror genre in general, but the disturbing, cynical tone makes the most appropriate audience for this book uncertain.—Tim Wadham, St. Louis County Library, MO
Dr. Warthrop and apprentice Will (The Monstrumologist) rescue John Chanler from the Wendigo, a vampire-like creature from American Indian mythology. Chanler recuperates in a Gilded Age New York, where the monstrumologists are holding their annual conference; he soon disappears and a succession of gruesome murders occur. Will's first-person narrative is brooding and atmospheric, conveying just the right sense of mystery and horror.

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