My knowledge of Frankenstein is pretty much limited to the Boris Karloff movie which I had to watch like 600 times for this motion picture class where it was our main focus/comparison film and bits and pieces of the movie Young Frankenstein. I haven’t read the original source, yet. After picking up This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein by Kenneth Oppel, I just may try Mary Shelley’s classic.
Victor Frankenstein, 15, lives an idyllic life at Chateau Frankenstein. He puts on elaborate plays for family and staff with his twin brother, Konrad, cousin-adopted-sister Elizabeth,and BFF Henry. Of course, life can take unexpected turns. Victor’s peaceful life is shattered when Konrad comes down with a mysterious illness. Nothing is working to make Konrad better, not medicine or leeches. Victor decides to take drastic measures and turns to alchemy to concoct the elixir of life. Making the elixir is difficult and involves questing for three ingredients. Meanwhile, Victor starts to fall for Elizabeth who has set her cap for someone else.
I felt that This Dark Endeavor was much more accessible than Frankenstein. I liked that Oppel didn’t try to write in the exact same style as Mary Shelley, but instead put his own spin on it. I feel like if he tried to imitate Shelley it would have been super gimmicky. There is continual action so one does not get bored. None of the whole 5 pages describing a chateau wall or anything along those lines, thank goodness. This Dark Endeavor was much better than I expected.
FYI, never ever trust a dude with a lynx. Remember how Watchmen turned out? Yeah, we kind of have one of those situations in Oppel’s latest book.
Other things to note:
- It’s probably not brilliant to fall in love with your cousin.
- Leeches are just going to make you weak, not get rid of bad blood.
- Science and alchemy are totally not the same. One is legit. One is not.
I think This Dark Endeavor is a great fall sort of book. The day that I read it was cold and rainy and it was absolutely perfect whether for this book and you could totally get a sense of doom and gloom. Plus, I think it will have male appeal, as there’s lots of blood and adventures. But, I think girls will like it too, because well, it’s a good book. It might also make a good pairing with Frankenstein, especially for students who struggle with the source text, just because this book is accessible.
Disclosure: Received for review.