BOOK REVIEW: This Dark Endeavour: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein (The Dark Endeavour Chronicles, #1), by Kenneth Oppel

Released: August 23, 2011 (Simon & Schuster)
Author Links: WEB / TWITTER / GOODREADS / FACEBOOK
Source: Purchased

Genre: YA Gothic Fantasy

SERIES:
This Dark Endeavour: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein (#1) Amazon | Goodreads
Such Wicked Intent: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein (#2)

SYNOPSIS:
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.

My Thoughts

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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16 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: This Dark Endeavour: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein (The Dark Endeavour Chronicles, #1), by Kenneth Oppel

  1. A Well done love-triangle? A mix between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson? This sounds like my kind of book!! (I hate most love triangles, but well done? Sign me up!)

    Thanks for the great review! I hadn’t heard of this one…

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  2. I love Shelley’s Frankenstein and so I really want to read this. As soon as I read that title I was intrigued. After reading your review I’m excited for this title. I’m kind of glad that it’s not for the faint of heart, because Shelley’s work isn’t.

    Is the cover above the paperback version?

  3. I actually hadn’t heard of this one until the Canada Day Blog Hop and a few people had it up as part of their giveaway…I was so intrigued that when I won a book of my choice by any Canadian author, this was the one I chose. I haven’t read it yet but I’m even more excited to read it now!
    There are two paperback covers and I got the one I didn’t like as much lol…it was the cheaper one, so I figured that’s the one the giveaway host would choose and I’m not complaining because it was free! The one paperback cover is absolutely gorgeous though, and I love the cover for Such Wicked Intent. BTW, according to GoodReads, it came out this past Tuesday.

    • I wish they’d just have ONE cover for everyone to get! I get major anxiety when it comes to picking out which cover to buy!

      This is really a great book, I’m glad you get to read it! 🙂

  4. Being compared to both Harry Potter AND Percy Jackson??!! I honestly borrowed this one from the library a couple of weeks ago. I’m reading it next, right after I finish Fathomless by Jackson Pearce.

    I have heard so many amazing things about This Dark Endeavor that I have to read it. I also really enjoy Kenneth Oppel. I’ve read his Silverwing series (MG) when I was in grade 6, and LOVED it! So I pretty much have tor ead everything by him now.

    Also, I had no idea he was Canadian!!! Yay for awesome Canadian authors!

    Thank you for this review and making me more excited to read it!

    • Yay!!! I hope you love it! It’s so awesome. 🙂 This was my first Kenneth Oppel book, so I really look forward to reading more of his work. 🙂

      And you’re right — yay for Canadian authors!!

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