The Curse of the Wendigo
Jaundiced yellow eyes,
like a cracked marble, shattered,
bloodshot with bright red.
This is the second book in the Monstrumologist series, & it really exaggerates the successes & the failures of the previous book. I'm torn! I liked it a lot, but it has some pretty fundamental problems. Well, on problem, really-- women, or the lack thereof. Women are only around to be horribly murdered, it seems. Oh hey, a textbook Women in Refrigerators, even, greeaat! Lilly Bates has a hint of promise, but the whole "violence against women!" thing is a prime motivator, & sort of distaste around that undercuts the novel. On the reverse, it is some of the better horror I've read. Because it is a Young Adult book, there is a degree of restraint-- though not much, I'll admit-- that makes the impact of the gruesome much more stark. Rick Yancey does not kid around when push comes to shove. & wendigo! Radarless' character Bedwin was possessed by a wendigo named Hermóðr in the last campaign I ran; Radarless ought to read this, he'd like it. This book is chock full of even more name dropping than the first-- Algernon Blackwood, Brahm Stoker, even Jacob Riis, & so forth. I don't mind it one way or the other-- the frame sequence actually makes good use of it, I think. The Curse of the Wendigo plays with the nature of monstrosity-- man's inhumanity, the possibility of the supernatural-- in a way that is very difficult to do, & it pulls it off. In a world where headless monsters with mouths in their chests exist, it is hard to say "stop with this superstitious nonsense!" with a straight face. It is something Jenny has been talking about lately-- can a monster even be real? Once you discover that it is real, doesn't it become just a dangerous animal? Yancey solves the conundrum by rooting the division in the possibility of a divide between the physical & the spiritual, & he backs it up by not caving in with an answer. Instead he peppers red herrings & plausible deniability through out, &...well, you know how I like an unreliable narrator.