The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey

The Curse of the Wendigo is an incredible sequel to an incredible book. Days after finishing the first book, The Monstrumologist, I found myself longing for more time with the characters, more time in the world author Rick Yancey created. I didn’t know that there would be a sequel, and when I found out, I was overjoyed. The second book, The Curse of the Wendigo, is just about as wonderful as The Monstrumologist.
The books tell the story of Will Henry, a young apprentice to Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, a mostrumologist (a scientist who studies monstrous beasts) in the late-1800s. In the first book, the monster upon which the plot builds is the colossal, cannibalistic Anthropophagi. In the second book, the beast is the mythical, humanoid Wendigo.

Rick Yancey’s language is incredible. I enjoyed the language in these books as much as my favorite poetry. I even read some passages aloud, just to enjoy the feeling of speaking the incredible words. The word choice is so funky, old-fashioned and quirkily beautiful, while frequently quite tongue-and-cheek. I’m a lover of inventive language, so these books are an incredible treat.
I’m consistently amazed by what Rick Yancey puts his characters through. In both The Monstrumologist and The Curse of the Wendigo, the characters, especially the narrator Will Henry, must travel through some of the most terrifying locations I’ve ever read. On several occasions, especially near the end of each book, I found myself reading with my breath held, my heart thumping.
In both books, the author does not censor the gore. Whenever there’s violence, the camera remains still and doesn’t pan away or cut to the aftermath. The author certainly doesn’t glorify the violence, but he also doesn’t flinch from it. It’s as though the narrator’s thinking “This was part of my story, just like everything else. Why not describe it as I would everything else?”
The best word I can use to describe these books is full. You know the feeling when you read a book that’s only operating on a couple of levels, that doesn’t satisfy all the potential of a novel? I think of those books as being slightly empty. But, the Monstrumologist books are the opposite of that—they are full: full of action, quick pacing, fantastically drawn characters, and marvelous language. These books are pretty close to my idea of a perfect book.