Book review by
Debra Bogart, Common Sense Media
Monstrumologist Book Poster Image
Gruesomely good gothic horror too violent for younger teens.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value
Positive Messages

This is gothic horror -- whether the monstrumologist studies and hunts monsters for altruistic purposes is debatable. The story remains true to the sexism of the times, and borders on misogyny.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Will Henry 's father worked for Dr. Warthrop before he died and took Will's mother with him. Will is now apprenticed to the Doctor, who shows moments of caring for the boy despite taking him into danger and forcing him into a gruesome life -- which he thought was better than life as an orphan.


Over-the-top horror: monsters who not only feed on humans but implant their own young in fertile young women; mad men who hunt the monsters; prostitiutes used as bait for the monsters; men driven insane by monsters who kill themselves and family;  virgins sacrificed; graverobbers; extremely gory accounts of hunting, killing, and dissecting monsters. Monsters are hunted and killed using grenades, guns, dynamite, poison, etc.


A prostitute is chained out and left as bait for a monster; references to creatures and parasites that infect penises and testicles, virgin sacrifices, etc.



Mild use of "hell," "damn," and "bastard."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Printz Honor winner is a horror story is set in 1888, and despite its fictional aspects,  it remains true to the sexism of the times, and borders on misogyny. Although the Anthropophagy race of monsters will consume any human, here prostitutes are used as bait, and there are stories told of foreign lands where priests fed the monsters young, virginal girls. There are virtually no other female characters in the book. The violence in Monstrumologist is horrific, mature, and gruesomely graphic, making best for older teens.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byManieSansDelire June 28, 2011

The most scary novel in the Young Adult section

The thing that I liked best about this book was that it had violence- but well-explained violence. Though not a book for those with a small vocabulary (or no di... Continue reading
Parent of a 15-year-old Written byPachi22 November 28, 2010

perfect for teens

awesome book!!! the best monster book!!
Kid, 11 years old May 28, 2013

A Classic (Although won the goriest book of the year award)

VIOLENCE: 10/10. Intense violence and strong gore. Monsters rip off human heads, scoop out their brains, and eat their insides. Broken and bloody limbs are disp... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bypeopleparlor March 28, 2020

Excellent Horror Book!

I thought that the Monstrumologist was an excellent book and I read it at the age of 12. There is extreme gory violence but excellent characters and it really h... Continue reading

What's the story?

An old man reveals a childhood spent in the late 19th century as an apprentice to a monstrumologist -- a doctor who studied monsters. When a graverobber brings them the body of a young woman wrapped in the corpse of a headless monster, the doctor aborts the monster fetus from her and kills it. The race begins to find and kill any surviving members of the monsters called Anthropophagy. Will has grown up aiding with abominable experiments and dissections, but these creatures could not have been created by even the evilest minds. A hunt reveals that some evil man did import them to the U.S., and now more evil men appear to help hunt them -- some of them both evil and mad. At one point even Will becomes monster bait.

Is it any good?

This is shocking, graphically gory pus-and-guts splattered all over an action-packed story with some human moments. The gore and violence are so over the top that it's hard for anyone even the least bit squeamish to look past it. However Yancey is a popular young adult author and this book will have most mature horror fans riveted.

Female horror fans especially may be put off the book's very misogynistic nature. A story with this much imagination could certainly have avoided this -- the 1888 setting is no excuse.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why some readers like horror. What are the differences between Stephen King-like horror stories and this one? Does a gothic setting allow for themes or plots that would not be as acceptable set in modern times? Why or why not?

  • There are characters in this book who seem as evil as the monsters they hunt. Was Dr. Kearns evil? Was Dr. Warthrop evil?

  • Why was Will Henry loyal to the doctor? Was he right to be so loyal?

  • What was the reason the Anthropophayg were brought to the United States?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love scares

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