Genre: YA Gothic Fantasy
In this prequel to Mary Shelley’s gothic classic, Frankenstein, sixteen-year-old Victor Frankenstein begins a dark journey that will change his life forever.
Victor’s twin, Konrad, has fallen ill, and no doctor can cure him. Unwilling to give up on his brother, Victor enlists his beautiful cousin Elizabeth and his best friend, Henry, on a treacherous search for the ingredients to create the forbidden Elixir of Life.
Impossible odds, dangerous alchemy, and a bitter love triangle threaten their quest at every turn.Victor knows he must not fail. But his success depends on how far he is willing to push the boundaries of nature, science, and love — and how much he is willing to sacrifice.
Why I Read This Book
For starters, I had heard awesome things about Kenneth Oppel’s writing, AND I love the idea of Frankenstein. Even though I haven’t read the original novel by Mary Shelley, I knew I wanted to give the YA series a try.
I had thought that when I bought Kenneth Oppel’s book, This Dark Endeavour, that it would make me pick up Mary Shelley’s classic novel, Frankenstein, since I’m always saying I’m going to read the classics, but am never good at following through.
Maybe This Dark Endeavour: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein didn’t pique my interest in the original when I first picked it up, but now that I’ve read it, I’m very interested to read Mary Shelley’s classic! Kenneth Oppel weaves such a great story that it was hard to put the book down. Since I haven’t read the classic novel, I’m a little hazy on what happens in the future from these novels, so I can’t say if the book follows Frankenstein’s past correctly, but I can say that it was quite an amazing book that I should’ve read sooner.
What most had me going as I read were the characters. It was hard not to love the brothers, Victor and Konrad. They both had such great traits, though I knew that something had to happen between the two of them, as they’re both in love with the same girl, Elizabeth. While I normally don’t go for love triangles (even if they seem to be in everything these days), this one was done perfectly! So was all of the adventures that the main characters go through to find the Elixer of Life for Konrad.
In a way, the book reminded me of a mix between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, even though it had nothing to do with either of them. The similarity is that the book was constantly moving with not a lot of downtime. It was perfectly paced. And there was the perfect amount of suspense and twists and turns — there were even a few points that had me picking my jaw up off the floor. Right when I thought Oppel wouldn’t do something, he DOES!
I had heard amazing things about Kenneth Oppel, though this is the first book of his that I’ve read. Now I’m eager to pick up more of his works to get more of his amazing writing. I love that there’s still a gothic tone to this novel, even if it’s not as gothic as Mary Shelley’s’ — in my opinion, it makes the book way more readable. I thought a book written about Frankenstein, taking place many, many years ago, would be hard to get into, but Oppel is an amazing writer. His descriptions are fantastic and he sucks his readers in from the first page.
I do have to say that this book ISN’T for the faint of heart. There were a few instances that had me cringing in my seat and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. I also want to say that if you expect things to be all happy and roses by the end of the novel, you may be in for a surprise. I don’t want to ruin anything, but this is Frankenstein we’re talking about AND a series book. Even if it’s not rosy, I promise that you’ll still be kept on your toes!
I can honestly say that this is an amazing book and the only thing that makes me sad — well, two things — is that I didn’t pick up the paperback version of it because the cover is GORGEOUS, and the fact that the next book in the series, Such Wicked Intent, doesn’t come out for a few months.
If you love a good gothic horror novel, or are a fan of Frankenstein, I say give this one a try!
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