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Home > Curse of the Wendigo (2010): A Review

Curse of the Wendigo (2010): A Review

Curse of the Wendigo

The Legend of the Wendigo Distorts the Boundaries Between Fact and Fiction

The story begins in 1888 New England. A Monstrumologist and his twelve year old assistant come face to face with a creature of legends, camp light stories, and nightmares – The Wendigo.

“The Hunger, Will Henry. The kind that is never satisfied. It rides on the wind, the absolute dark of the wilderness. It has a dozen names in a dozen lands. It is older than the hills and the more it feeds, the hungrier it becomes.”

As a scientist, Dr. Warthrop points out flaws in the legend. He refuses to believe that they were real.  He offers different explanations at the beginning of the book, for what people said they saw – the Wendigo couldn’t be real. A trick of the light maybe, an hallucination, misinterpretation or something else. But when the Wendigo comes for two of them (master and assistant) and Will Henry begins to describe what he has seen, we know it is worse than the stories.

The Curse Of The Wendigo was first published in 2010. Its author, Rick Yancey, claims he came upon a real life journal which told the story. The journal belonged to the same Will Henry mentioned in the book. He has grown up now and insists they are real. There is no telling which part of the story is fact and which is fiction.

“Let us go then, like Alice down the rabbit hole, to a time when there still were dark places in the world, and there were men who dared to delve into them.”

The Curse Of The Wendigo has been translated into eight different languages and was first published by the Simon & Schuster publishing company. It received many positive reviews upon its release but readers still had problems with its ending.

Personally, I found it confusing that towards the end, Dr. Chandler displays many signs of becoming the wendigo and we soon discover that he isn’t. The novel scarcely explains how people get infected, called or chosen to become the Wendigo. How did Mrs. Chandler get called, despite never going in search of her husband?

Curse of the Wendigo

Was the curse transferred from husband to wife simply by looking into its yellow eyes? Will Henry also looked into its eyes and was even bitten, yet he didn’t become it. While the imperfections in this story can be ascribed to the childish scribble of a twelve year old in the 19th century, that same scribble led us through the story until this point. 

This Victorian horror novel also tows the line as some of the greats. Like Dracula by Bram Stoker and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, The Curse Of The Wendigo is also written in first person, recited from a journal. Rick Yancey’s plan seems to have worked. With so much positive response, there were follow-up books like The Isle of Blood (2011) and The Final Descent (2013) in the same Monstrumologist book series. 

By portraying skepticism on the part of Dr. Warthrop, Rick managed to rope us into the story. Dr. Warthrop voices every doubt we have about the story and like we, his doubts melt away once confronted with fact – The Wendigo is real. For those of us who are not well inclined in the science, the presence of Will Henry helps to ‘dumb it down’ for us. Dr. Warthrop breaks everything to the understanding of a twelve year old, hence we can all follow the story.

The second half of the book set in New York City, reveals both the privileged and tenements. It gives us another reason to alleviate poverty in our society. Whether in times of terror, natural disaster or class struggle, poor people always suffer the most. The Wendigo kills scores of homeless people every night and it takes a long time before anyone notices. Street folks make the perfect prey for the Wendigo in a city like New York. “The weak, the forgotten, all those who will not be missed.”

In general, I believe Rick Yancey tells an outstanding tale. If it were a play, The Curse Of The Wendigo would have no more than ten scenes, a fast funky music playing in the background and an audience terrified enough to scream when the beast finally gets hold of Will Henry. I hope you enjoy it.

Curse of the Wendigo

The Curse of the Wendigo (2010) Audiobook Part I

Source: Dead Talk Live

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