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Literature / Monstrumologist

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The Monstrumologist is a tetralogy by Rick Yancey. It chronicles the adventures of a scientist who researches and studies monsters in the 1800s, and his young assistant.

The books include:

  • The Monstrumologist (2009)
  • The Curse of The Wendigo (2010)
  • The Isle of Blood (2011)
  • The Final Descent (2013)

This Series Contains Examples Of:

  • Abusive Parents: Alistair Warthrop to Pellinore.
    Kearns: "Who was he to you? More important, who were you to him? You defend a man who barely tolerated your existence."
    • Also Pellinore to Will Henry (though he's his guardian, not his parent). He when he's not insulting him, he's ignoring him. He's always exposing Will to horrible things that make even the toughest men go mad. There are moments when Pellinore admits to Will how much he needs him, but those moments aren't heartwarming when you considerdon't all the mental damage he's caused, leading to Will becoming cold and merciless by the fourth book.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Kearns, whose behavior borders on sociopathic.
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  • Anachronic Order: The Final Descent jumps all over the place.
  • And I Must Scream: A man on bedrest rots away while he is still alive.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Pellinore. Anthropophagi? Fine. Weird worms that grant nigh-upon immortality? Boring. But the wendigo? Never in a million years!
    • It gets worse when Pellinore describes the magnificarum and it comes off sounding like a campfire story. No one knows what it looks like or how it behaves, yet he unquestionably accepts its existence as fact. Mind, that this is a creature whose saliva will drastically and horrifically alter the body and mind of anyone it comes into contact with, while one book earlier, he declares that the idea of a creature that can produce symptoms similar to wendigo possession in its victims spits in the face of everything be believes in.
  • Autocannibalism: The magnificum found in the third book resorted to this when it could no longer find food.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Jack the Ripper was a monster hunter named Dr. Kearns.
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  • Broken Ace: Chanler, who was much more fun before discovering his wife loved his best friend, and turning into a monster.
  • Bungled Suicide: Dr. Warthrop
  • Byronic Hero: Dr. Warthrop is a troubled, moody, self-centered loner utterly devoted to the study of Monstrumology.
  • Cleans Up Nicely: Pellinore is actually quite handsome when he isn't covered in viscera.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Dr. Pellinore
  • Deadpan Snarker: It's especially noticeable in the third book.
    Dr. Warthrop: "... tipota is the Greek word for nothing."
    Will Henry: "It is?"
    Dr. Warthrop: "No I am lying to you. It is actually the Greek word for 'stupid child.'"
  • Death of a Child: In Book 2. See My God, What Have I Done?
  • Death Seeker: While all monstrumologists get into a fair amount of trouble, considering Pellinore's history of suicidal tendancies, this may account for some of the messes he gets into.
    • Dr. Chanler
  • Did Not Do the Bloody Research: Averted, the only time Dr. Kearns uses the words bloody and bugger are when he is insulting Malachi.
  • Driven to Madness: Ultimately, Will Henry himself.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Anthropophagi = Man-eaters
  • Fantastic Science: It's a series about a scientist who researches monsters.
  • Have You Tried Not Being a Monster??: Pellinore is convinced that Chanler just thinks he's a Wendigo and will get better.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Dr. Kearns is arguably even more disturbing than the Anthropophagi. Pellinore has hints of this, as he doesn't seem to care if people die so long as he can study monsters.
    • Chanler literally becomes this after a Wendigo encounter.
    Will (Narrating): Gently he pulled my hands into his. His warm lips touched my knuckles. He blew onto my dead flesh. He vigorously rubbed my naked hand between his. Feeling began to return, and with it a measure of pain, the proof of life. He crossed my hands over my chest and pushed his body against mine, wrapping his long arms around me. I felt the delicious warmth of his breath against my neck."
  • Humans Are Bastards: The NY police beat up a hallucinating and wounded child to try to make him lie and rat out his only family figure as a murderer.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Envy is ultimately Chanler's motivating force. Learning his wife never stopped pining after his best friend (and in fact, may have married him in the first place to spite said best friend), he's driven to despair, and heads out into the wilderness in search of the Wendigo...
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Important theme of the third book and the root of Pellinore's savior complex.
  • I'maHumanitarian: Chanler becomes this after his encounter with the Windigo. He has a particular fixation on the heart.
  • Insufferable Genius: Pellinore.
  • In the Past, Everyone Will Be Famous: The second book is full of fleeting references to real and famous people who somehow become involved in the Society.
  • It Sucks to Be the Chosen One: Will Henry is an assistant to a monster hunter, meaning he is in danger all the time, lives with a man who rarely allows him proper human interaction, will outlive any loved ones he might manage to obtain due to a parasite that lives within him, and is often a target for monsters. After being told by a shaman that his Life Energy Readings Are Off the Scale and being called by a Wendigo, it seems likely that Will Henry is destined for something.
  • Jerk Ass Woobie: Concerning his distant father, Dr. Pellinore can fall into this from time to time.
  • Lovecraft Country: The main setting is the fictional small town of New Jerusalem, located somewhere in 1880s New England.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Despite the fact that monsters are real, Pellinore refuses to believe that supernatural monsters exist. So, Anthropophagi are real but vampires are not. What.
  • Morality Chain: Will, to Pellinore.
    Pellinore: "And you—I do not pretend to understand 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."
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Will Henry's reaction to seeing the baby he abandoned while searching for Chanler.
  • Papa Wolf: Pellinore to Will Henry, and von Helrung, less obviously, to both Pellinore and Will Henry.
  • Peerless Love Interest: By Book 4, Will Henry has built up an idealized image of Lilly Bates as this. A bit ironic, when you remember that this is still the same girl who, 2 books earlier, baited him into picking up the Mongolian Death Worm.
  • Precision F-Strike: Is especially noticeable because the series seems to avoid cursing.
  • Pretty Boy: Dr. Kearns is described as having long blonde hair, a cherubic face, and "sensuous lips" by Will Henry.
    Will Henry (after being given a handkerchief soaked with ambergris): "Despite the gift of regurgitated whale shit, I could smell Kendall's decay."
  • Reflexive Response: Will Henry will (almost) always answer Pellinore's requests with "Yes, sir". Both characters Lampshade it but Will Henry continues with it anyway.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Pellinore tries this, but Will Henry will have nothing to do with it.
    I reached across the space that separated us - no further than a foot and wider than the universe - and gathered the monstrumologist's hand into mine.
  • Shout-Out: Several references to the works of William Shakespeare, Kearns also being named Richard Cory (the name of an Edwin Arlington Robinson poem about a rich man with a good life who shoots himself), and one remark regarding "that ill-fated expedition to Sumatra" that could be a reference to a Noodle Incident from Sherlock Holmes
  • Something Only They Would Say: Whenever Pellinore tells Will Henry that he is "indispensable" could count as this.
  • Spoiled Brat: Lilly, though in the last book she seems to have grown out of it.
  • Stages of Monster Grief: Chanler goes through a few of them, as he initially refused to eat (since he could only eat people as a Wendigo), but later embraced it.
  • Stepford Smiler: Kearns is a full-on Type C.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: John Kearns gives one of these to Malachi in The Monstrumologist.
    John Kearns: Go on. Pull the bloody trigger, you insufferably melodramatic, semi-suicidal, blubbering bugger. Do you honestly think I care if I live or die? But you may wish to include in your calculations the fact that our work is not finished. She is still out there somewhere in the dark, and not very far, I would guess. That said sir, I would not presume to pass judgement upon the passage of your judgement. Fire at will,sir, and I shall die as I lived, with no regret.
    • Pellinore gives one of these to Will during The Curse Of The Wendigo.
      Pellinore: You disgust me! Only the intelligent can afford to be so judgemental. Who are you to question my decisions? You thickheaded sycophantic piece of snot. I've dissected worms with larger brains than yours! You've been nothing but a burden to me, an albatross around my neck... God damn your parents for dying and foisting your despicable carcass upon me. 'It's all right sir! I'll make the fire now, sir'. You make me sick. Everything about you is repulsive, you nauseating, worthless mealymouthed half-wit."
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: How Pellinore tries to debunk van Helrung's argument about magical monsters since the only real witness could have been hallucinating.
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: Will Henry considers Muriel to be this.