In The Curse of the Wendigo, orphan Will Henry continues his work as the indispensable assistant to the “monstrumologist” of Rick Yancey’s series. When Dr. Pellinore Warthrop’s old mentor tries to prove the existence of the mythical Wendigo, Warthrop is determined to stop him, fearing his life’s work will be devalued. Then a woman from Warthrop’s past appears at his door with the news that her husband is lost in the woods, a trip he made in search of both the Wendigo and the doctor’s respect. Now young Will and Warthrop must journey deep into the Canadian forest, the tenements of New York City and a posh hotel or two to look for answers. What they find is anything but pretty.
Yancey’s latest follows the playbook established in The Monstrumologist (gothic atmosphere, plenty of gore, real history mixed with mythology, a highly unstable parental figure to an orphaned boy, and let me emphasize again: it’s gory!), but adds some twists, including a degree of depth for Dr. Warthrop. Introducing the other two thirds of a love triangle from his past show a whole man with a broken heart, which make his quick temper and contrarianism feel more realistic. He even manages a few moments of observable tenderness toward Will . . . but don’t worry, they don’t last long. There’s plenty of time for eviscerations, face-peeling (not the cosmetic kind), a mind-bendingly scatological crime scene, beating hearts snacked on like apples—and really, what book would be complete without a pocket full of eyeballs?
That Yancey can work real science and history into this mix shows his deft hand as an author; that he worked a plausible love story into a book so filled with nightmarish imagery may indicate the need for professional help. Whatever the case, The Curse of the Wendigo will thrill existing fans and draw newcomers to a truly terrifying series.