The life of a sequel is a tedious one, indeed. Not only must it live up to the general expectations of a good story, but it can never escape the inevitable comparison to its forerunner. Such titles as Pirates of the Caribbean, The Godfather, Star Wars, and Indiana Jones have faced this task with varying amounts of success. This theory is not contained to movies or books; it can also be applied to sibling rivalry. The younger one feels that he/she must always outdo the older one. Such is the way our genetics work, and our genetics drive not only our lives, but also entertainment.
The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey is the sequel to a personal favorite of mine: The Monstrumologist. In Wendigo, we rejoin Dr. Pellinore Warthrop and his young apprentice Will Henry as they are thrust into the Canadian wilderness in search of a demon-monster called The Wendigo, a creature that devours your flesh and your essence of being. Dr. Warthrop is positive, to the point of stubbornness, that The Wendigo does not exist, and will do anything in his power to prove he is right.
I had extremely high expectations for this book going in. The Curse of the Wendigo’s curse, if you will, was that it had the distinct honor (sarcasm) of being the sequel to an all-time great. That being said, my expectations were met on most levels. The settings are interesting. They include the Canadian wilderness and 19th century New York. It is strange yet fascinating to see these beloved characters thrown into historically true locations. At one point, to the treat of many historians, famous muckraker Jacob Riis shows up to help a group of monstrumologists, with Dr. Warthrop at the lead, find the demon Wendigo.
This book would not be complete without its trademark: the continuing saga/relationship between Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry. We learn that Warthrop was once engaged to a beautiful woman who left him which is an important insight into his lack of trust in other human beings. This is a valuable lesson to Will Henry, and the reader.
Double the Wendigo’s thirst for human spirit with the ever-evolving relationship between Warthrop and Henry and what we have is a book that doesn’t focus as much on the physical gore as it does the psychological impact.
The Curse of the Wendigo, while not as good as its precursor, is a solid book about love, obsession, hope, and insanity. The younger sibling doesn’t quite live up to the older in this case, but it does create its own birthright for the world to enjoy.