Summary from the front of the book:
In 1888, twelve-year-old Will Henry chronicles his apprenticeship with Dr. Warthrop, a scientist who hunts and studies real-life monsters, as they discover and attempt to destroy a pod of Anthropophagi.
First of all, I hate horror movies. I don't watch them, period. As you may have guessed, I'd never read a horror book either. Until this one. And it took me for a ride! Whoa. The reason I read it is because it was on the IWU Adolescent Literature syllabus that I read through. This was the last one; I finished on time!
Many elements of the Gothic novel were present such as both psychological and physical terror, mystery, death, decay, madness, secrets, and hereditary curses. (click here for source.) It was tough to get through because I generally dislike psychological terror, and I was unsure how the author would represent God in the context of the story. (more on that later) Not to mention that the physical terror is explained extremely graphically. Yancey's imagery and details are so good that I can close my eyes and picture the scenes of horror after closing the pages yesterday. He doesn't leave you wondering how much damage the monsters can do. He shows you.
As for the religious aspect, Yancey has different types of characters. There are the Christian townspeople, the scientist who does not bother himself with religion because it is hard to marry morals with science, and the evil hunter. I think Yancey did a fair job at presenting the three types and letting the reader make his/her own judgments. (I'm so tired of authors writing with an anti-Christian or anti-Christianity slant.) Plus, readers of the novel have the advantage of knowing the work is fiction, as are the monsters know as Anthropophagi, so they don't have to wrestle with the characters' questions such as, "Are these monsters soulless beasts from hell or an animal God ordained to create?"
Overall, I liked the book!
P.S. This is the first in a monstrumology trilogy. Book 2 sends Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry on a monster hunt in Canada. It's release date is October 2010.