Book Review: The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey

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The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey (The Monstrumologist #2)/ ★★★☆☆

Summary: When young Will Henry and his mentor, the Monstrumologist, are called on to save a man from the Canadian wilderness, they must come to terms that perhaps the man that they pull out isn’t the man who went in- if he is still a man at all.

This was his universe, and no doubt, if every particle of light had been sucked from out atmosphere he could have found his way through the utter blackness left behind.

Genre: Fantasy/Horror

This is the second book in the Monstrumologist series, about a boy and his mentor, a doctor who studies very real monsters, and while I really, really loved the first book, this second one fell flat for me. The first book, simply The Monstrumologist, is a good standalone read that leaves some intrigue toward the end to point to the second book, but I did not find The Curse of the Wendigo half as interesting as the first book. I will say this, first- the covers of these book make them look rather kiddish, but they are very, very gruesome. The monsters in these books are the real deal, which makes them great, but also horrifying.

Even though most of this book fell a bit flat for me, I still love the characters, as well as the setting – late 1800s Northeast America (and in this book, Canada) – and the atmosphere Yancey captures of these places. These books are dark and witty and creepy.  My issue with this second book, however, is that I think I would have preferred if it were led more by character than by plot, because the plot really, really dragged on. I felt like there were too many pages to account for what was happening. The first part of this book, especially, when Will Henry and Warthrop find themselves lost in the forest, carried on for chapters and chapters.

A love story was introduced in this book, and it always felt just on the edge of fully capturing my attention. In the end, however, it proved a bit too generic for me, even with the edge of monsters involved, and I was never fully invested.  The monsters in this book were not nearly as riveting as the monsters in the first book for me. Don’t get me wrong, they were creepy and horrifying and gruesome, that is for sure, but I just…was not as interested. And since the monsters and the romance were connected, and neither struck a chord with me, that’s why this book ultimately failed for me. I felt like this book spent more time on the mundane than the action, and the pacing was far, far too slow.

That said, I love our narrator, 13 year old Will Henry, and I love his strange and complicated relationship with Doctor Warthrop. I’d love to see where their characters go, but unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be continuing the series. I’ll never say never, but this book didn’t leave me with the intrigue the first one did.

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