The Final Descent

finaldescentThe Final Descent by Rick Yancey
The Monstrumologist # 4
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Number of pages: 320
My copy: Kindle edition

Will Henry and Dr. Warthrop have encountered many horrors together—but can Will endure a monstrumological terror without his mentor?

Will Henry has been through more that seems possible for a boy of fourteen. He’s been on the brink of death on more than one occasion, he has gazed into hell—and hell has stared back at him, and known his face. But through it all, Dr. Warthrop has been at his side.

When Dr. Warthrop fears that Will’s loyalties may be shifting, he turns on Will with a fury, determined to reclaim his young apprentice’s devotion. And so Will must face one of the most horrific creatures of his monstrumology career—and he must face it alone.

Over the course of one day, Will’s life—and Pellinor Warthrop’s destiny—will lie in balance. In the terrifying depths of the Monstrumarium, they will face a monster more terrible than any they could have imagined—and their fates will be decided.

* * *

I reserved reading the last book in the Monstrumologist series for Halloween, and I promised myself not to read it the way I read the third book — meaning I won’t read it for ages. I was a little bit hesitant to dive into it, actually, because my memory of the third book told me that things have gone down the darker path for Will Henry and Pellinore Warthrop. Not that it hasn’t been dark from the start, but really, I was kind of wary about how things will end, and what we will know of Will Henry and what exactly happened to Pellinore Warthrop.

In The Final Descent, we meet an older Will Henry than the one in the previous books — one just a little older than the Will Henry in The Isle of Blood, and one way older, who returns to Warthrop after a long time of being apart. There’s another monster, one that hatches from an egg and becomes a snake that just grows bigger and bigger as it devours its prey inside out. There’s still the society, Lily Bates and the Monstrumarium and the Abraham Von Helrung, and of course, lots of gore and darkness, just as the first three books had.

The Final Descent is written in a different way, flashing forward and back, that I’m not entirely sure which was the more dominant time in the story. It gets a little confusing at first, but the voices of the younger and older Will Henry were both distinct, and I can’t help but wonder what exactly happened in between that made the older Will Henry like that. It was a far cry from the Will Henry in the first two books, which made me just a little uncomfortable because this wasn’t the Will Henry I’ve known to love. I guess this is an effect of puberty, as well as what happened in the third book, but it didn’t exactly sit well with me, so much that I almost had a hard time reading through the book to get to the end.

The book is all parts ambiguous and it circles around, until it gets to the end and I sort of understand what happened. Except that I’m still not entirely sure, because it really felt like the Will Henry I read in this book was just different. That doesn’t mean I feel a lot satisfied, because I really and truly missed how it was in the earlier books. Oh, the writing was beautiful, I have to give it that. But by the time I got to the end, I was just happy I’m done reading that I can put it behind me. I’m not really wishing for a happy ending, but something a little less…philosophical or existential, I guess?

But then I realize that maybe I started falling a little out of love with the series by the time I started slowing down in reading the third book. Perhaps I was just in this for the adventure, and to get my own dose of gore. I still think that The Monstrumologist series is one of the best out there, but unfortunately, this book is the one I liked the least.

Number of dog-eared page(s): 16

Favorite dog-eared quote(s):

I am the infinite nothing out of which everything flows.

We are vain and arrogant, evolution’s highest achievement and most dismal failure, prisoners of our self-awareness and the illusion that we stand in the center, that there is us and then there is everything else but us.

For true beauty – beauty, as it were, with a capital B – is terrifying; it puts us in our place; it reflects back to us our own ugliness. It is the prize beyond price.

You cannot choose not to fall in love, but you can choose for the sake of love to let love go. Let it go.


Reviews of other The Monstrumologist Books:
#1 The Monstrumologist
#2 The Curse of the Wendigo
#3 The Isle of Blood

Other reviews:
Opinions of a Wolf

The Isle of Blood

The Isle of Blood by Rick YanceyThe Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey
The Monstrumologist # 3
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Number of pages: 538
My copy: paperback, gift from Kwesi

When Dr. Warthrop goes hunting the “Holy Grail of Monstrumology” with his eager new assistant, Arkwright, he leaves Will Henry in New York. Finally, Will can enjoy something that always seemed out of reach; a normal life with a real family. But part of Will can’t let go of Dr. Warthrop, and when Arkwright returns claiming that the doctor is dead, Will is devastated–and not convinced.

Determined to discover the truth, Will travels to London, knowing that if he succeeds, he will be plunging into depths of horror worse than anything he has experienced so far. His journey will take him to Socotra, the Isle of Blood, where human beings are used to make nests and blood rains from the sky–and will put Will Henry’s loyalty to the ultimate test.

* * *

I’m not a super-fast reader, but some friends tell me I have a pretty fast reading pace. I’ve been pretty slow lately, though, but for young adult books with a max of 500 pages, I know I can finish it in a week or two weeks, tops. Which is why I feel slightly terrible when I realized that it took me two months to finish one book from a series that I really like. In my defense, I was reading this together with The Historian while NaNoWriMo-ing, and then life and work happened. But I still felt bad.

I’m so, so sorry, Will Henry. And Dr. Warthrop. :(

The Isle of Blood is the third book of The Monstrumologist series by Rick Yancey. We continue Will Henry and Dr. Pellinore Warthrop’s adventures found in the folio that the author was reading to piece together the story of a certain Will Henry who passed away without any relations. In this book, Dr. Warthrop receives a mysterious package that contained a nidus ex magnificum, a nest made from human body parts, held together by a substance called pwder ser. With just one touch, the person transforms into a creature with a hunger that cannot be satisfied, so much that they start eating their own self. Warthrop sets off to find the creator of the nidus, the Typheous Magnificum, but he doesn’t take Will Henry with him. Instead, he takes a new assistant, who returns later bearing the news that the Doctor is dead. Will Henry doesn’t believe this, and sets off to discover the truth, further tying his life inexplicably to the doctor, whether he liked it or not.

Ah Will Henry. I loved The Curse of the Wendigo because it was a Warthrop book, but The Isle of Blood is Will Henry’s through and through. We see Will Henry here without the Doctor, and how far he has gone through in the name of the science that he has grown up with with Warthrop. There is a certain darkness in this book that was kind of new to me — not that the first two books were not dark. It just seemed that with this book, there were more internal struggles with the characters, especially Will Henry. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that he’s still young in the story but the older Will Henry wrote the folios. It was almost like the older Will Henry was starting to wax poetic over things in this book. It was a tad too poetic at times and I think that was one of the reasons why I wasn’t able to finish this faster than I normally do. Not that it’s bad, but it almost felt repetitive. The story felt slower this time around, and so many things happened that a part of me felt a tad impatient with the story’s progress.

The Isle of Blood isn’t as scary as the first two books. There were some mind games, but it didn’t feel as psychological as it was in The Curse of the Wendigo. There were some scary parts in the book, but I felt that they were more of the suspense part, but not really scary/horror type of scary that will wracked my nerves.However, it was very dark, as I mentioned and it’s still grotesque like the first two. Perhaps not as raw and as blood-curdling as The Monstrumologist, but pretty gross enough for me to remember not to read this while eating. There were funny moments too, and a funny cameo of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that made me wonder if the author of Sherlock Holmes really knew someone named Pellinore Warthrop. Hee. :D

There’s a twist at the end that I wasn’t really expecting, and this made the book’s monster quite…well terrifying. After some thinking, though, I realized that the monster in this book is pretty close to the things I liked reading in my fiction, so that made me smile even if it was a truly horrifying thing to smile about. The ending wrapped the book nicely and it made my heart hurt just a bit.

My favorite in the series is still The Curse of the Wendigo, but The Isle of Blood is definitely a good (and sad and horrifying and beautiful) follow up in the series. I honestly have no idea how this series will end, and while I am looking forward to reading the last book (which finally has a cover!), I am honestly quite scared to know what will happen to Will Henry and Dr. Pellinore Warhtrop. I have a feeling it will break my heart. :(


Reviews of other The Monstrumologist Books:
#1 The Monstrumologist
#2 The Curse of the Wendigo

Other reviews:
The Book Smugglers

Required Reading: October

Just like that, we’re in the final quarter of the year. How about that!

September wasn’t a bad reading month, but a lot of things happened in my personal life which also kind of affected my reading, but not in a bad way. And there were also many changes that happened in our book club which kind of took me by surprise, but I think things have settled down now, and I hope things can only get better after this!

But interestingly, I managed to finish 3 out of the 4 books I listed for September’s Required Reading. I think I also managed to blog a bit more in September, although I am still very far from getting my blogging backlog cleared. Oh well. If this keeps up, I will probably end up working on that backlog until December. But anyway. Here’s how September went:

  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (3/5) – I enjoyed this a bit more than I expected, and the book discussion helped me appreciate the book more.
  • Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (5/5) – Oh my stars. I loved this one. I wrote more in my review, so all I’m going to say now is that I am looking forward to reading everything else that Mitchell wrote. And watch the movie.
  • The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente (4/5) – It’s been a while since I read fun YA fantasy, and this one was not just fun, but also quite deep. I liked how whimsical and smart it is and it’s made its way to my best of 2012 reads. :) I can’t wait for the next book.

So, October!

Required Reading: October

So, my October choices have me just a bit nervous because I’m not a fan of this genre, but of course, I have to let myself experience the chills every year, right? Right? So bring on the horror, yes?

  • The Viewless Dark by Eliza Victoria – thanks to Flipside for the review copy of the ebook. :) I’ve read some of Eliza’s short stories and I really liked them (review coming…sometime), and I’m looking forward to this one a lot. :)
  • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova – This is really supposed to be our book of the month for our book club for November, but seeing its length, I thought I’d start it early. It’s a good thing I’ve read October’s book of the month already. :D Monique says this isn’t really horror anyway, but knowing my weak nerves…yeah. I will probably get creeped out. :D
  • The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey – I have been so excited to read this book since I finished The Curse of the Wendigo last year, but I had to hold off because this is the perfect Halloween read! I’m buddying up with some TFG friends for the last week of October to read this. Snap to! :)

I’ve also got two classics up for this month – Little Women and a reread of Pride and Prejudice, so it’s going to be a busy reading month for me. I just hope I get out of this slump. :D And you know, blog more.

Happy October, everyone!

Faves of TwentyEleven: The Characters

From books, we go to characters! Today is the second day of the Faves of TwentyEleven series hosted by Nomes of inkcrush. :) Characters are my favorite part in a book, and sometimes I think they may even be more important than plot. I believe strong characters can revive an overused or boring plot, so I always pay attention to them. Here are some of the characters that stood out for me in the books I read in 2011. :)

Day Two: The Characters

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Faves of TwentyEleven: The Books

I remember making my own set of best-of lists for last year, but this year I don’t have that same gimmick, so I’ll ride on other bloggers’ gimmicks instead. Ha. Here’s my first post for the Faves of Twenty Eleven hosted by Nomes of inkcrush! :)

Day One: The Books

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