*Starred Review* With a roaring sense of adventure and enough viscera to gag the hardiest of gore hounds, Yancey's series starter might just be the best horror novel of the year. Will Henry is the 12-year-old apprentice to Pellinore Warthrop, a brilliant and self-absorbed monstrumologist a scientist who studies (and when necessary, kills) monsters in late-1800s New England. The newest threat is the Anthropophagi, a pack of headless, shark-toothed bipeds, one of whom's corpse is delivered to Warthrop's lab courtesy of a grave robber. As the action moves from the dissecting table to the cemetery to an asylum to underground catacombs, Yancey keeps the shocks frequent and shrouded in a splattery miasma of blood, bone, pus, and maggots. The industrial-era setting is populated with leering, Dickensian characters, most notably the loathsome monster hunter hired by Warthrop to enact the highly effective Maori Protocol method of slaughter. Yancey's prose is stentorian and wordy, but it weaves a world that possesses a Lovecraftian logic and hints at its own deeply satisfying mythos. Most effective of all, however, is the weirdly tender relationship between the quiet, respectful boy and his strict, Darwinesque father figure. Snap to! is Warthrop's continued demand of Will, but readers will need no such needling.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2009 Booklist
In this dark tale constructed as a journal by 12-year-old orphan Will Henry, Yancey (the Alfred Kropp series) presents the story of the boy's apprenticeship to an enigmatic 19th-century "monstrumologist," Doctor Pellinore Warthrop. Purportedly found in 2007 amid the personal effects of the recently deceased Will (at age 131), the memoir opens as a corpse is delivered to Warthrop by a grave-robber one night in 1888. What appears to be a horrific desecration of the body foreshadows a plague of headless, man-eating anthropophagi. Will, left in the doctor's care since his parents' death, is drawn into the effort to save his town and find out how the creatures reached America, and both Will and Warthrop are forced to confront their own family histories and obsessions. Yancey's elegant depiction of an America plagued with monsters, human and otherwise, spares no grisly detail (in describing feeding anthropophagi: "The head is the most coveted prize. The first to reach her seizes it and wrenches it from her neck... a steaming geyser shoots into the air and paints crimson their teeming alabaster bodies"). Horror lovers will be rapt. Ages 14-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Gr 8-10-Yancey takes the gore and violence of Darren Shan's "Cirque du Freak" (Little, Brown) or Joseph Delaney's "Last Apprentice" series (HarperCollins) to thrilling new levels in this sophisticated tale. A scholarly monster hunter is facing an outbreak of Anthropophagi-creatures described by Herodotus, et al., and presented here as ravening, headless predators with sharklike mouths in their bellies and sharklike feeding habits to match-in a 19th-century New England town. The merry chase takes cerebral, self-centered Pellinore Warthrop, joined by a disturbingly cheerful colleague named Kearns and 12-year-old Will Henry, who doubles as both narrator (writing years later) and protagonist, from a gruesome dissection described with clinical precision to an interview with an inmate literally rotting away in a decrepit sanatorium, from a ravaged vicarage awash in gore to a hard-fought climactic melee in a bone-strewn subterranean lair. Though the pace sometimes falters beneath the weight of Will's verbose observations, the author folds surprising depth and twists into the plot and cast alike, crafts icky bits that can be regarded as comically over-the-top (or not), and all in all dishes up an escapade fully "capable," as Will puts it, "of fulfilling our curious and baffling need for a marauding horror of malicious intent, thank you very much."-John Peters, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.