Pellinore Warthrop, the arrogant, brilliant hero of Rick Yancey’s thrice-starred Monstrumologist series, is in trouble. Snap to, Will Henry, and rescue your master! Or that’s what we would say if this was a story. Unfortunately, it’s a very real tale of art versus commerce, and the only one who might be able to help is you, gentle reader.
As anyone around the Booklist office knows, I’m annoyingly proud to have been perhaps the first reviewer alive to lift up a copy of The Monstrumologist and shout “Genius!” A Printz Honor followed. I was just as enthusiastic about the follow-up, The Curse of the Wendigo, and look what happened: it was an L.A. Times Book Prize finalist. The rest of the world hasn’t read The Isle of Blood yet, but rest assured: Yancey’s dense, beautiful prose, mindbending concepts, and gutsy plot turns continue to make this series tower over almost anything else in the YA world.
The conceit of the novels is that Yancey is merely publishing a collection of folios left behind by Will Henry. It’s specifically stated in the third book that there are three notebooks left, which is the size of at least one more published volume. Here’s where things get sticky. Yancey’s book deal with Simon & Schuster was for three novels. And while you can only imagine that the publisher has been thrilled with the critical reception, apparently, according to Yancey, the series has not sold at a pace brisk enough to convince the publisher to acquire a fourth book.
“Over the course of the last few years I had fallen in love with these characters, a cardinal sin when you want to make a living writing fiction,” Yancey told me via email. Can Warthrop’s fate be reversed? It’s hard to say, and there is no doubt that the financial demands upon publishers are all too real. It would seem to reason, then, that the fate of the Monstrumologist series may hinge upon the reception — and, to be frank, the sales — of The Isle of Blood.
What can you do? I’m glad you asked. Since Yancey went public with his situation, fans have begun to show their support. There’s a Facebook page. There’s a Twitter hashtag. There are blog entries. As the author of Rotters, I know literary horror is in very short supply, especially in YA. So I’m showing support for Yancey in the hopes that the rest of his series can find a home. Warthrop and Will Henry deserve to fight again.