I'm not bothered by gore, I love it, and I think I've been so desensitized by blood/explosions/murder from exposure to movies and books from an early age that I am largely unaffected by it now. That said, I do not think a child would be immune to such horrors. Will Henry, the protagonist, is a 11/12 year old orphan, who has been brought in to be the slave to Dr. Warthrop. Now, you could call him Dr. Warthrop's ward, guardian, adopted father, but all that would be false. Dr. Warthrop is ice-cold, unfeeling, completely idiotic in his ability to raise a desert plant that needs no watering, much less a very young, impressionable boy.This book is simply unbelievable. An 11-year old boy is forced to wake up in the middle of the night to confront the dissection and destruction of a grafted horror of a monster that has been dug from the grave? He hasn't even been enslav--- I mean, apprenticed to Dr. Warthrop for that long, and he does it all with nary a word of protest? No, not realistic. I don't care about his background, I don't care about his brilliancy, Warthrop is an annoying, sadistic son of a bitch, and I could not bear him for the entire book. Will Henry, as mature as he comes across---as he has to be, comes off as spineless and weak. He barely has a voice in the book, and I can't imagine his voice in my head speaking louder than a whisper over Warthrop's whining, nasal screech. Every character has their own narrative voice in my head, and those were my interpretation of theirs.I am reminded of another series for a younger audience, also in the horror genre, The Spook's Apprentice. For the first few books at least, there is no comparison to this one. Tom Ward is also apprenticed at a young age to a much older, experienced man, but I actually think the Spook has kindness and character, Tom has more of a backbone, and the horror is actually more realistic, given the genre. Read that instead.