Friday, August 12, 2011

An assistant's defense of The Monstrumologist

Simon and Schuster has discontinued The Monstrumologist series. The next book, Isle of Blood, will be the last one.


(I stole this macro from another post on the subject. It was too appropriate.)

Okay, life is still worth living, but! You guys! I love this series so much! I love it so much that the IT guys in my workplace are going to see that I did a Google image search on "big no" to try and find an appropriate picture for this post.

So why do I love this series so much? Because it's creepy as all get out, for one. The series follows Pellinore Warthop, a Monstrumologist (basically a mad scientist crossed with a monster hunter) who supposedly operated in New England about a century and a half ago. The protagonist, however, is his young assistant, Will Henry. His older self narrates the stories - he grew to the ripe old age of 130 and, judging by his writing style, became a big fan of H.P Lovecraft. The voice is rich and dark, beautiful but unflinching in its descriptions of the considerable gore Will sees on the job. The monsters are creatures right out of folklore, the product of many a late night campfire story.

Obviously, I am weak to all of those elements. But why else do I love these books? Because they are the most weirdly accurate depiction of assistant life I've ever read. I joke that they're my YA horror unauthorized biography. I feel like a lot of assistant protagonists fall into Cinderella stereotypes, but I could really relate to Will.

Of course, my bosses are kind and lovely people and not monster-hunting drama queens, so I can feel grateful for that, too. I love my job. I'm glad I don't have to go find any Wendigos.

One thing I'm happy to say is nothing like my life is that central relationship between Will and Pellinore. It is, however, one of my favorite things about the books. It is sometimes hilarious, sometimes weirdly heartwarming, and always really, really messed up. Pellinore in general grew on me hard in the second book, when it is revealed that he can actually be a complete failboat sometimes. The secondary characters are also interesting and well-drawn, even if when you meet some of them, you mutter to yourself, "Oh, you are so doomed."

In short, these are the gore-filled books of my heart. I love them like cake: New York cheesecake, with a caramel swirl. And I don't want that third book to be the end!

So if you want to win a complete set of the books, head over here and enter this contest to support the series. But in the meantime, I am going to head back to work to provide my bosses services of the indispensable kind.


  1. Are you serious? I *just started* reading that series yesterday and already know I want to follow it as far as it goes. I even know a couple friends who would probably enjoy it. So this news deserves a big Nooooooooo! D:

    Thanks for the heads-up and the link!

  2. I'm really hoping that he's able to write more books, one way or another. I'm not ready to let them go!