mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli
mordicai

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Monstro. (85)

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey.

John Klein: "Where's my watch?"
"In your shoe. Under the bed."
Indrid Cold. Hungry.

I'd gotten a galley of this at some Book Expo or other, but I never actually popped it off my shelf, & eventually it went the way of the dodo. I figured it was some forgettable bit of middle grade or young adult supernatural, something in the vein of The Last Apprentice or The Ranger's Apprentice, but Terra, Vicking & JJ gave it their seal of approval (no pun intended, in JJ's case) & Terra pushed a copy of the book into my hand, & it was on. I'd previously loaned All-Star Superman to Terra, with all due dire warnings, so she had a line of credit to recommend me something, anyhow. I've got to say, I quite liked it. The monster du jour is the anthropophagus-- you know, the monster Herodotus, Old Pliny & Bill Shakespeare wrote a bit about? Eyes in the shoulder, like a Mothman? Mouthful of shark's teeth in the belly? Taste for human flesh? That's our creature feature. Yancey does a great job making them threatening-- there is an element of parasitism, of xenomorph-like breeding patterns, for instance, & burrowing, which keeps them out of sight. I quite liked them. Plus, jars of bottled horrors? Reminds me of the lab back in college. My least favorite thing about the book is the relentless male viewpoint. Every character of note is a man, or a boy-- women only appear as corpses or victims. Oh, sigh. The best thing about the book is so good, that it crystallize thoughts I'd been having about Oubliette. Yancey's monsters-- the anthropophages, the Biminius arawakus infection-- all have the aforementioned parasitism. It is a nice twist, & it makes me think-- every monster should leave a mark. You fight Dracula? Well, great, but Mina & John Harker are going to be messed up forever-- not just psychologically, but on a biological, blood-based level. Frodo fights the Witch-King? Every October 6th, your arm is going to hurt. Your Ebberon character fights the daelkyr? You're going to walk away with some symbiotes. They don't all have to be deleterious. Scars, lost fingers, eyes gouged out, all that is well & good, but the real good stuff are the dubious "gifts" left behind.
Tags: books, haiku, monstrumologist
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