Review: The Isle of Blood by Rick Yancey Book

Friday, May 24, 2013 9:00 AM
Title: The Isle of Blood
Author: Rick Yancey
Published: September 13, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Series: The Monstrumologist #3
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal, Historical Fiction, Horror
Pages: 538
Source: Purchased
Rating: 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

*This book review is spoiler free*
“There are those who labor in the darkness, that the rest of us might live in the light.”
― Rick Yancey, The Isle of Blood

When Dr. Warthrop goes hunting the "Holy Grail of Monstrumology" with his eager new assistant, Arkwright, he leaves Will Henry in New York. Finally, Will can enjoy something that always seemed out of reach: a normal life with a real family. But part of Will can't let go of Dr. Warthrop, and when Arkwright returns claiming that the doctor is dead, Will is devastated--and not convinced.

Determined to discover the truth, Will travels to London, knowing that if he succeeds, he will be plunging into depths of horror worse than anything he has experienced so far. His journey will take him to Socotra, the Isle of Blood, where human beings are used to make nests and blood rains from the sky--and will put Will Henry's loyalty to the ultimate test. (Goodreads)
My Thoughts
The Isle of Blood is the heart-pounding third installment in The Monstrumologist series. Once again, Rick Yancey does not disappoint when it comes to horror and suspense, and he manages to write gory books without crossing the line into cheesy. The Monstrumologist series has reminded me of how horror should be done and it has become one of my favorite series.

What I love about this series is that each book has stood out as unique, and the plot for any of these is not dependent on another. The Monstrumologist is classic horror and explores the thrill of the hunt, bringing to life monsters that we hope only exist in nightmares. In The Curse of the Wendigo, we learn more about Pellinore and his past and how he has given up everything for his love/obsession for monstrumology. In The Isle of Blood, we watch as Will is slowly shaped into the man he will someday be. It is made clear that Will has what it takes to be a monstrumologist, and Pellinore is sad to see Will losing his innocence and naivete.

In The Isle of Blood, Will is separated from Pellinore for the first time since his parents' deaths. While Pellinore embarks on another frenzied quest, which may be the quest to make or break his career, Will is left behind. Pellinore believes he has been selfish by constantly endangering Will's life, and Will is finally given a chance to live a normal life again. He spends time with Von Helrung's niece's family, including her exasperating and inexhaustible daughter, Lilly Bates. Will is torn between loving the normalcy he has not experienced since childhood and the despair he feels for not being at Pellinore's side. It is been way too long since Will has attended school, had a friend, or lived in a normal house where dissecting monster corpses is not the norm. He is even starting to feel something more for Lilly. But he believes that Pellinore is all he has in the world, and he can't help feeling like he's been abandoned. I felt for Will. After the tragic loss of his parents, he is terrified of losing Pellinore as well and now all he can do is wait for his return. And, as always, the sort of father/son relationship between Will and Pellinore is so emotional and complex.

The gore has steadily decreased as the series continued. Don't worry, horror fans. This book is still quite disturbing, but unlike the previous books, The Isle of Blood ventures into a whole other territory of fear. As this series has progressed, the monsters have become more and more psychological. Instead of a tangible, physical predator, many of the horrors present in The Isle of Blood live in the human mind. When Will suffers in the absence of Pellinore, imagining the worst, we experience his terror with him. As the anticipation and tension builds to an amazing, climatic twist, the reader's anxiety hits nail-biting, hair-pulling levels. At every turn of the page, I had no idea what monster, real or imaginary, awaited me, and it was killer. I couldn't handle the stress of not knowing what Pellinore and Will were after or what was after them. The suspenseful hunt and the intense buildup was more terrifying than the actual quarry. Thanks to Yancey's writing skills, I was scared even when there wasn't a monster. And as more dark, terrible secrets were revealed, I became even more invested in the story until I was a bundle of nerves.

While The Isle of Blood falls under the horror genre, Yancey could not resist mixing in some dark humor here and there. For example,
“Adolphus is not at his desk. That means he is somewhere in the Monstrumarium, has gone home for the day, or is dead.”
After some of the more unsettling parts, I appreciated the comic relief and found myself laughing hysterically at some points. Yancey's dry jokes were such a wonderful fit for this dark read. And a famous writer makes an appearance! I was seriously fangirling, and it was sad and pathetic.

I am so happy and relieved that the fourth and final book of this series, The Final Descent, will be released in September 2013. Originally, Simon and Schuster was going to drop the series and not release the fourth book, but the fans demanded its release and they got what they wanted! And I am so grateful because I want an ending! I hate to see this beloved series come to an end, but I'm eager to find out what happens next!

If you have yet to check out The Monstrumologist series, I urge you to do so. It has been such a rewarding experience, and I want to spread the word as much as possible!


  1. I'm so glad this one lived up to your expectations too, despite your bad experience with The 5th Wave. And what, a FOURTH book? I had no idea! Either way, I'm reading this series this summer, no matter what. Great review, Courtney! :)

    1. Yay! I'm beyond excited to hear what you think about it! I hope that, like me, you love this series, even if you weren't such a fan of The 5th Wave. My disappointment in that book, after my love for this other series, was like a punch in the stomach. It was a big shocker! Thanks Keertana! :D

  2. It's great to hear that Simon & Schuster have decided to pick this series up again! It's horrible when things are left unfinished like that, so I'm glad that's not the case here now. I definitely plan to make a start on the first book, so I've only skimmed your review, but I'm thrilled that you enjoyed this one. Lovely review, Courtney!

    1. I'm so happy to hear that, Sam, and I'm eager to read your thoughts! I want to spread the word about this series because I think it deserves more recognition. And I know! It would have killed me not knowing how it ends! I probably would have tracked Yancey down in some creepy, stalkerish way and demanded to know what happens! I'm sure that would go over well. ;) Thanks Sam!

  3. Seriously, you are the best at getting to the essence of this series, as well as the book in particular. You've described it so SO well and I am so jealous and I just want to rewrite my review to make it better!! Heh, but even then, I don't think I could capture how I felt about this book as well as you did :) I actually really love how the fear in the books has become more and more psychological. Rick Yancey is such a skilled author, it's insane! Oh and I also fangirled hardcore over the cameo appearance of Arthur Conan Doyle! Totally fitting.

    By the way, my bf agrees with you! Well, that is, he really enjoyed The 5th Wave, unlike you, BUT he still maintains that The Monstrumologist series is Rick Yancey's better work, like you do. As for me, I am still undecided as I thought the two were so different that it's hard to compare!


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