leedock’s CBR-III Review #52-“The Isle of Blood” – Rick Yancey

Fifty freaking two. Oh, how I thought I never would complete ye! Hats off to you supernatural people who are doing  double or triple (?!) Cannonballs. You truly have powers beyond my comprehension. Bravo.

My pick for favorite book of the year is in this series but all three of the books are fantastic, horrifying, breathtaking and heartbreaking. The first two books in the series are reviewed here and here. Isle of Blood is the newest installment and probably my CBR-III swan song although I may be able to eek one more out by the January 7 deadline.

Barely recovered from the “mishaps” of his first two adventures with Doctor Pellinore Warthrop, Will Henry embarks on a new mission. As in all of the books in the series, a stranger knocks on the door. This stranger is delivering a package and demanding the antidote to the poison that the sender of the package infected him with to insure a speedy delivery. They soon discover that the poison in question is bogus and that his symptoms can be contributed to his own curiosity. He took a little peek inside the package. Curiosity kills the messenger but not before his “message” has been delivered. Inside the package is a nidus, the nest of the legendary Magnificum. The “holy grail” of the monstrumologist, the Magnificum has never been seen. The only clues to its existence are the nests it so lovingly creates out of human body parts and poisonous spit.  Something more worth running from than to but with this nest and the clues given by both the sender and the messenger, the Doctor races towards the penultimate discovery of his career. A discovery that will hopefully serve as a justification for everything he has ever done and everyone he has ever hurt in his tireless pursuit of monsters. When finally confronted with the Magnificum, will he be able to turn and face it?

In a uncharacteristically unselfish move, the Doctor leaves Will behind while he travels to find the Magnificum. A distraught Will goes through Doctor withdrawal but is offered a taste of what his life could have been like had his parents not died and Dr. Pellinore Warthrop not been his subsequent guardian. Placed under the care of the niece of the Doctor’s mentor, Will Henry is fed, bathed, clothed, educated and loved. Instead of living a nightmare, someone is there to sing him to sleep should he have one. Torn between his unnatural attachment to the Doctor and the comfort of a secure life, Will must decide what his future will be.

We have all encountered those people whose sheer personality caused us to gravitate toward them even when we knew our lives would most likely be the worst for it. They have some kind of magnetic pull that we just can’t resist. I was also reminded of Dr. Who. I suppose the fact that the Monstrumologist is referenced as “The Doctor”  repeatedly in the books helped, but also because he possesses that magnetism that cannot be denied. Although Dr. Who’s relationships aren’t entirely selfish, his companions always pay a hefty toll for their involvement. So it is with Will Henry and everyone else who gets caught in Dr. Pellinore Warthrop’s pull.

I recently read that the series was set for cancellation because of low sales, but apparently book bloggers and fans of the series somehow managed to convince the publisher to continue with the books and another is set to be published in 2013.

I strongly encourage you to read them. Please don’t let the YA label fool you. I’m not sure that I would feel comfortable allowing my son to read these when he is 14, the suggested age on the book jacket. There is nothing youth oriented about these books other than the 13-year-old protagonist who is, because of circumstance, well beyond his years.

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