The Monstrumologist series is one of those few that quickly became one of my favorites, and The Isle of Blood is, in my opinion, the best book in the series. I cannot put into words how truly amazing this book was, so if you find my review difficult to understand, it might be because of my confused feelings.
Mr. Yancey outstanded himself with this book. I thought the series couldn't get any better, but then Yancey comes up with The Isle of Blood and surprises me. The word "perfect" is not even enough to describe this book. Very few authors can do that. I don't even remember examples of any book that can be listed in that case.
In this case, Dr. Warthrop is sent a nidus that is supposed to be made by the Holy Grail of Monstrumology--the magnificum. No one has seen one--neither dead nor alive--, so this arouses Warthrop's curiosity and he goes to hunt this creature.
However, this book is not only about this. This book is also about being human, what makes us human, what differentiates us from monsters. This installment, as well as the previous ones, explores the lines between monster/human and good/evil, but it does it in a much more profound way.
I love the writing style. I know I've said this like a million times, but I really love it. It's so poetical, so dark, so beautiful. It fits the time in which the diaries were written. Also, it makes you feel closer to the characters.
But, of course, this series wasn't written to please the majority of the YA audience. My main reason to say that is because it has no romance, it is very philosophical and it is slightly hard to understand what the author means. Also, because of the content of the book, it can be classified as a book meant for adults (excessive violence and gore). However, the protagonist is a boy, and that would mean it is either a children's book or a YA's book, and it is obviously the latter.
The characters are amazing. You can see how they develop throughout the series. Will Henry is not anymore the innocent boy we met in The Monstrumologist. He has grown up and is more independent; also, I really love his loyalty towards Warthrop, I don't think someone could be more loyal to someone than him. There's something that puzzles me about him, and that is that he claims to hate Warthrop, yet he's more faithful than a dog to him. Part of it it's because he's the only one he has, but what of the other aspects to consider?
We get to see some more of Warthrop's weakest side, meaning, we see him a little more human: He shows Will Henry that he cares for him, and sometimes, we see him fighting to keep his humanity.
“Please, do not leave me, Will Henry. I would not survive it. You were nearly right. What Mr. Kendall was, I am always on the brink of becoming. And you - I do not pretend to know how or even why - but you pull me back from the precipice. You are the one... You are the one thing that keeps me Human.”
Also, I love how Mr. Yancey says human beings are just a depraved species that the only thing they do--I mean, we do--is to fight one another, and that there are no monsters, only men:
“What of men? I can't think of anything more banal. I have no doubt — no doubt whatsoever — that once it has obtained the means to do so, the species will wipe itself off the face of the earth. There is no mystery to it; it is our nature. Oh, one might delve into the particulars, but really, what can we say about the species that invented murder? What can we say?”
While the previous installments focused more in the hunt for monster, this one was more about the search for the monster inside us than the hunting for aberrant creatures.
“You are the nest. You are the hatchling. You are the chrysalis. You are the progeny. You are the rot that falls from stars. You may not understand what I mean.
And certainly you will understand it. At that time I didn't, but in the end, you will, and it will blow your mind. Or at least my mind because I totally didn't see it coming. I honestly expected something else, but I liked better what I got - it's more powerful.
Anyway, I really loved this book and the series. I recommend it to everyone. It is worth all your time. And please, read it. After all this time, I still feel I'm the sole person on Earth who has read this. I feel like my head is going to explode if I don't talk to anyone about this.
"We are hunters all. We are, all of us, monstrumologists."
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