Book Review: The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey
I loved Rick Yancy’s The Monstrumologist so much (my review here) that I quickly picked up this one, the second book of the series. Now that I’ve finished it, I’d probably hesitate to say that it was as strong as its predecessor, but nevertheless I wasn’t disappointed. This sequel had all the horror elements in it that made the first book great; its only fault was that I found it just slightly less suspenseful.
The Monstrumologist first introduced us to the series’ young narrator Will Henry and his work assisting the eccentric Dr. Warthrop in the grisly business of the study of monsters. We’re thrown back into the late 1800s as Will documents in his journal their trek through the heart of the brutal Canadian wilderness, in order find traces of a missing friend who is believed to have been taken by a creature known as the Wendigo. Warthrop, however, does not believe the Wendigo actually exists, but takes the mission anyway as a favor to the woman who was his former fiancee, and to her husband who happens to be the missing victim.
Anyone who’s ever gone to summer camp and sat around a campfire telling scary stories at night should know about the Wendigo, a demonic creature appearing in the legends of the Algonquin peoples of the northern United States and Canada. Once again, I found it really neat the way Rick Yancey was able to work a well-known myth into the story, along with the documented yet controversial condition called Wendigo Psychosis, whose symptoms include an intense craving for human flesh.
|Image from matthewstarbuck.com|
I also loved, loved, LOVED the character development. Strange as he is, I find myself a big fan of Dr. Pellinore Warthrop’s character, just from what I got reading The Monstrumologist. This book carries that on further, going a little deeper into his past history and personality. He’s such a complex and subtle figure, with so many layers to his personality that go unsaid, yet they come through so clearly in Rick Yancey’s writing and storytelling. Will Henry’s relationship with the doctor is a veritable quagmire of volatile emotion and dynamics, and to me it’s an incredible achievement on the author’s part in the “Show, don’t tell” department.
Anyway, the same caveats I provided for the first book also apply for this one; some of the scenes in here are absolutely not appropriate for the faint of heart or younger readers, despite its YA designation. Older teens will probably find it okay, but keep in mind it’s still pretty gross stuff. It’s true that I didn’t find this book as suspenseful as the first one, mostly because I felt it had a slower start, but its overall story and the atmosphere are no less unsettling. Like I said, I eat this kinda creepy stuff up, so I’m definitely looking forward to starting the third book in this series.