I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black by E.B. Hudspeth
Published by Quirk Books on May 21st 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Horror
Source: the Publisher
Philadelphia, the late 1870s. A city of gas lamps, cobblestone streets, and horse-drawn carriages—and home to the controversial surgeon Dr. Spencer Black. The son of a grave robber, young Dr. Black studies at Philadelphia’s esteemed Academy of Medicine, where he develops an unconventional hypothesis: What if the world’s most celebrated mythological beasts—mermaids, minotaurs, and satyrs—were in fact the evolutionary ancestors of humankind?
The Resurrectionist offers two extraordinary books in one. The first is a fictional biography of Dr. Spencer Black, from a childhood spent exhuming corpses through his medical training, his travels with carnivals, and the mysterious disappearance at the end of his life. The second book is Black’s magnum opus: The Codex Extinct Animalia, a Gray’s Anatomy for mythological beasts—dragons, centaurs, Pegasus, Cerberus—all rendered in meticulously detailed anatomical illustrations. You need only look at these images to realize they are the work of a madman. The Resurrectionist tells his story.
‘I have butchered many men. All are innocent and equaled when they are on the table. All are exquisite and grotesque.’
Dr. Spencer Black is a controversial surgeon in the late 1870’s who has developed a fascination with the deformities of the human body. It’s a gruesome and at times shocking tale of the lengths the good doctor would go to in order to continue his research.
This story definitely had potential to fascinate, especially regarding the aspects that Black believed deformities were actually ‘evidence of a genetic code that was not completely eradicated’. The idea that mythological creatures were ancestors of humankind is really quite intriguing but unfortunately failed to stir any lasting interest. It all read like a Wiki page: informative yet dry and oftentimes tedious. I think it would have been much more interesting if written as an actual short story or novella rather than a biography.
The best part of this book was the amazing artwork included in Black’s magnum opus: The Codex Extinct Animalia, a Gray’s Anatomy for mythological beasts. The artwork was incredibly detailed and Reading this book as an ebook would hardly do it justice considering this is very much a coffee-table type book. It’s also a book that could be read through quickly (considering the text amounts to approximately 65 pages) but considering the style of writing it may be more interesting to read small bits at a time.
Overall I found The Resurrectionist to be a macabre tale that will likely interest fans of Frankenstein and Dr. Moreau. The artwork is truly the most interesting part of this book and is worth checking out for that alone.
I have never even heard of this one. I had to admit that to cover and that teaser ("'I have butchered many men. All are innocent and equaled when they are on the table. All are exquisite and grotesque.') intrigued me… and then I read the rest of your review. This is most definitely not for me. The art sounds interesting, but I'll just peruse a copy in a store later, and save myself from reading it.
Great review, Bonnie!
It's a good thing this was short and full of pictures because reading like Wikipedia entries? Yeah, that's going to get old fast. This definitely doesn't sound like my thing, but I'm glad you were able to enjoy it.
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This definitely sounds like a coffee table book, one to be picked up every now and then. I'm very curious to see the drawings now! I'll have to check it out at my bookstore. Wonderful review, sorry it didn't capture your interest more, but the artwork sounds amazing!
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Oh, yikes! This one sounded interesting but now I'm definitely not sure I'll be checking it out–especially where you brought up how it all reads like a Wikipedia page: dry, tedious, and over informative. (And I'm guessing it's not the type of informative that you stop to fascinate over but more of the type of informative that feels like a college lecture? Yeah, I've had enough of those in actual college; I do not need an entire novel comprised of them.) And I think I remember Kara not loving this one too much, either–I think the same rating as you.
Yep, staying away. Thanks!
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