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Portable Magic

Reading, for me, is entertainment and an escape from the real world. But it can also inform and stretch the boundaries of the life I live.

Currently reading

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The Bungalow Mystery #3
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The Monstrumologist ★★☆☆☆

The Monstrumologist - Rick Yancey

Lots of explicit gore and monsters of both the human and inhuman variety made this a fun story to read. Add in the pathos of an orphan boy so starved for love and belonging that he clings to an abusive, neglectful father-figure. The writing style was a bit overwrought. This might be because the author was attempting to mimic the florid descriptive style of a man born in the late 1800's, but I was mightily tired of it before long. I could not bring myself to rate this more than 2 stars, however, because the backstory of the (inhuman) monsters took me so aback and left such an awful taste in my mouth that it flavored the entire book for me. I explained myself in the buddy read, but as I seem to be the only person who is interpreting the monster backstory as an incredibly tasteless parallel with the history of African slaves and white fears of their descendants in the Americas, perhaps it's just me. But once seen, I could not un-see it.



The author based these monsters on the mythical Blemmyes who were either a peaceful people, or tribe of warriors, or cannibals, or headless monsters, depending on whose account you're reading. Yancy's version are mindlessly savage monsters, native to coastal West Africa, bought by a white man from a regional ("savage") king and transported in the hold of a former slave ship to America. They escaped and began multiplying, representing a terrible threat to the residents of New England. The story opens with a huge male (native west African) creature embracing and devouring the corpse of a beautiful young (white) woman while inserting his progeny into her belly to gestate.

(show spoiler)


I read this for the Reads with Booklikes Friends square for the 2016 Halloween Bingo.