Open main menu

The Monstrumologist: The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey

The year is 1889, the third of young Will Henry's apprenticeship with Pellinore Warthrop. The peace - such peace as there ever is in the life of the monstrumologist - is rudely shattered by the arrival of a poisoned sailor from Whitechapel, half-mad with despair, delivering a package from the doctor's old nemesis Jack Kearns in the hope of finding the antidote to the toxin Kearns has infected him with. So begins a quest for Will Henry and Warthrop which will see them look for the holy grail of monstrumology, the nidus, and lead to their most exciting and horrifying adventure yet.

The Monstrumologist: The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey

Buy The Monstrumologist: The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey at or

Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: The latest in Rick Yancey's Monstrumologist series is a must-read for horror fans. Beautiful writing and outstanding character development make this one of my very favourites so far this year.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 560 Date: September 2011
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0857070173

Share on: Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Instagram and LinkedIn

Having enjoyed the first book in the series, and thought the second quite wonderful, I'm completely in love with this sequence now. Part of the reason I love it so much is the characters, and the wonderful relationship between Warthrop and Henry, who is gradually developing from a somewhat scared young boy into a figure far more complex and interesting, if not necessarily a traditional hero. Part of it is the fabulous action, and the way the gore seems to have been ever so slightly toned down so it will still appeal to the target audience of teenage boys but those of us with slightly weaker stomachs can enjoy it without needing a sick bucket for the worst scenes. Part of it is the vivid descriptions of the world in the late nineteenth century, and the appearance of real people like Arthur Conan Doyle. But mostly, I think, above all of them, it's the breathtaking, blissful, wonderful language that Will Henry uses looking back on his childhood. A face is beatific, a man may be querulous, while some of Warthrop's rants are spellbinding in their use of words. I love the way Yancey completely refuses to write down to his target audience - there are words here which I'm one hundred per cent sure most readers will never have come across before, but they never slow down the pace of the story because they're used in the perfect context, and readers will either pick up the general idea or be driven to a dictionary to seek out the meaning. When you read Yancey's writing, it feels important. Never pretentious, never overblown - but Henry's carefully chosen words bring home the giant of a man who is the monstrumologist, and the torment he faces as he realises the effect his chosen profession is having on the youngster. Oh, and five hundred pages for a young adult novel generally has me complaining a book's ridiculously long, but I honestly didn't even notice the length when reading I was so entranced.

Simon and Schuster announced a few weeks ago that this would be the last book they published in Yancey's series, a decision which caused widespread panic and frantic cries of Say it ain't so amongst book bloggers. Thankfully, the reaction was so strong that within a week or so, they announced they'd reconsidered and we will get at least one more volume of Henry and Warthrop's adventures. With the framing story telling us early on in this book that Will would go on to marry Lilly Bates, who he meets again briefly in this part, but leaving us hungry for more about the rest of his life and the reason for his unusual longevity, I could personally live with at least half a dozen more - here's hoping!

Huge, staggeringly big, absolutely massive recommendation as the best book yet in a superb series.

Alongside the Monstrumologist, the other series I keep recommending to lovers of fast-paced action is the outstanding Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf by Curtis Jobling.

Please share on: Facebook Facebook, Follow us on Twitter Twitter and Follow us on Instagram Instagram

Buy The Monstrumologist: The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Monstrumologist: The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Monstrumologist: The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Monstrumologist: The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey at


Like to comment on this review?

Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.