This Dark Endeavor (The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

This Dark Endeavor (The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein #1)

by
3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  6,517 ratings  ·  1,269 reviews
Victor and Konrad are the twin brothers Frankenstein and inseparable until Konrad falls gravely ill. In the forbidden Dark Library, Victor finds an ancient formula, and seeks an alchemist to recreate the Elixir of Life. With friends Elizabeth and Henry, he scales highest trees in the Strumwald, dives deepest lake caves, and each sacrifices a body part.
Hardcover, 298 pages
Published August 23rd 2011 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
karen

huh. i had never heard of this kenneth oppel fellow, but i guess he's some big deal in YA publishing. i have so much to learn.

i liked this book very much. but more important than my enjoyment, this is going to be a great book for reluctant boy readers. that's a big problem in the world of educators and librarians: "why won't the boys reeeeead??" and from where i'm standing, i get it. most of the YA stuff is all girls girls girls. and although there are some fantastic books for boys, i have read...more
Stephen
Light, fluffy and completely forgettable.

Don’t miscomprestand me, there’s some diversionary entertainment value here and the pace is pretty perky, but I still reached the end with "what's the point?" swirling in my head causing a nagging itch that the book never scratched. It left me with a mild case of the Mehs. Granted, not a full dose of Meh, but Meh nonetheless.

Call it Meh-lite.

Now I shan’t go a-bashing as the book committed no major literary felonies. It's just all the pre-release hyping ha...more
Rick Riordan
I don’t often request an advance reading copy of a book. In fact, I’m usually declining ARCs because I’m offered more than I could possibly read. However, when I heard about Oppel’s latest project, a prequel to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, I immediately asked if I could read an advance copy, and I was lucky enough to get it.

I’m a big fan of Oppel’s previous series that began with Airborn. I’m also a fan of the Romantics, like the Shelleys. It’s no coincidence that Percy Jackson is named Percy. S...more
Reynje
3.5 stars

I read Scarlett as a teen and I decided it had put me off this prequel/sequel written by someone else business for life. (Really, can you blame me? That book is the worst.) Then they went and made Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story and I could have rage-cried from the whole ’have we learned nothing?!’ of it.

And yet here I am, reviewing a prequel to Frankenstein, and as far as I’m concerned, Kenneth Oppel can have at it because this was good and it really works as a YA complemen...more
Michael
Most people know my obsession with Frankenstein so I wanted to give This Dark Endeavour a go; since the author Kenneth Oppel calls this a prequel. Victor’s brother Konrad, has fallen ill and no doctor has been able to cure him. Victor’s determination to save his brother has turned to alchemy to find the forbidden Elixir of Life and save his twin brother. With the help of his beautiful cousin Elizabeth and best friend Henry; Victor pushes the boundaries of nature and science in a treacherous sear...more
Phoebe
This was a refreshingly dark read and absolutely perfect for early November.

Though I've never read Frankenstein (I know, I know), I did enjoy the familiar nods to Gothic literature in this Shelley prequel story by beloved YA author Kenneth Oppel. From animalistic foundling children, to the interplay between the magic of the past and the growing field of SCIENCE (TM!), This Dark Endeavor captures the themes of Gothic work perfectly--but manages to slip them inside an approachable YA shell. It's...more
Allie
I was interested in reading this book partially because of the hype. This first I’d ever heard of this title came in the form of an announcement that Summit Films had acquired the screen rights. You can read that here.

I also liked the cover (sorry, it’s a weakness). But you have to admit, it’s just kind of a cover just made to appeal to a bookstalker like me, with a keyhole to peep through and everything. And the plot also appealed to my bookstalking nature…a forbidden library! Yeah! This one ha...more
Brandi
Jun 16, 2012 Brandi rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants a lead-in to Frankenstein
Although I believe Endeavor has promise (and deserves five stars), I will only give it three.

I began the first chapter with some knowledge of Victor Frankenstein already. I'd read about twenty pages of Mary Shelley's version and knew enough about his childhood to recognize a few names.

Of course, Oppel's work is not a true retelling. For instance, the "real" Frankenstein was the oldest of his siblings, and he did not have a twin. However, he did have some characteristics of the Victor we know, in...more
Jean-marcel
This book is sort of crap, but it does a reasonably good job of hiding the fact most of the time. I'm not really sold on the notion of visiting parts of the life of an old fictional character to fill in the gaps the original author chose to leave to the imagination, to begin with. Frankly I don't see why this book had to be about Victor Frankenstein at all; it could have been the story of any young, remarkable and enterprising boy raised in a well-to-do, enlightened late eighteenth-century Europ...more
Amelia, the pragmatic idealist
This Dark Endeavor is an incredible book! I don't know where Kenneth Oppel got the idea to write a prequel to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein starring a teenage version of the eponymous character, but what an ingenious idea!

Truth be told, I never had read Frankenstein in school (my class was on a different track and I had a teacher who made the famous declaration to our class that he'd rather teach 'that Dumas man' than teach Frankenstein. (view spoiler)...more
Cathy  Keaton
Favorite YA read from 2011.

I love this book SO much, I can't write a deserving review. I can't quite convey all of my emotions. It is so much more than I was expecting it to be, and leads me down two distinct paths. On the one hand, it's magical, adventurous, dramatic, and romantic. And, on the other, terrifying, heart-breaking, and absolutely tragic. I feel almost gutted. It got under my skin and in my head in a way that doesn't normally happen when I read.

I haven't been moved to tears like th...more
Jessica Day
I read Frankenstein last year and had a hard time enjoying it. (You can see my Classic Tuesdays review for it here.) One of my big problems with Mary Shelley's masterpiece was Victor himself. I couldn't stand him. He was boring and whiny. When I started This Dark Endeavor, I figured it would also be a really slow book, with not-so-great characters. This was not the case. I still could not stand Victor but, there was something about him as a teenager that not only made me laugh, but it kept me in...more
Natalia Ceitidh
Sep 01, 2011 Natalia Ceitidh rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!!!!
http://dazzlingreads.blogspot.com/


This Dark Endeavor moved me to tears. I think I was living under a rock because this is the first book by Kenneth Oppel I ever read. Such an unforgivable sin! I will definitely read more of his book! But, once again, I am very short of words to express how much I love this book because this was absolute perfection!

As a fan of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein myself, I have to say that Oppel blew my mind with this book. He created Victor Frankenstein's early years and...more
Katherine
We are unfashioned creatures, but half made up, if one wiser, better, dearer than ourselves — such a friend ought to be — do not lend his aid to perfectionate our weak and faulty natures.

description

Setting:Geneva, Switzerland; the early 1800s

Coverly Love?:Yes! I love the eeriness of it, with just the man and the big, glooming estate in the background. It gives the reader a sense of the atmosphere in which the novel will be about.

Plot:In this imaginative prequel to Mary Shelley's Gothic classic novel, Fran...more
Alison
This book was basically Frankenstein fan fiction. It's not bad, and I think would make an easy recommendation for teens (especially boys) looking for a little darkness and suspense. But I would've been so much happier if it had captured even a hint of the magic and power of the original Frankenstein, some of the social and political context, for example, or the rich language. Writing a prequel to one of the most classic works of horror is an ambitious undertaking, and I think Kenneth Oppel could...more
April
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.

Read the rest of my review here
Helen
I liked this. Based on the title and the description on the Jacket cover, I was hoping for something a little darker and more intense but I'm not complaining. It was solidly written and kept my interest throughout. The main character, Victor, was interesting and I thought the idea of how he came to dabble in the darker arts was cool. I'm one of those who have not read the original Frankenstein and so I dont know how closely this book followed or alluded to things that happened in that story. i m...more
Petertpc
I thought this was pretty good. The story was entertaining and it was a very quick read. Basically, it tells the story of the earlier years of Victor Frankenstein and how the events of his childhood led him to eventually create his monster. I didn't think the characters were as well developed as the should have been but it still managed to hold my interest.
Cris Lightwood
3'5 en realidad. Ha sido muy entretenido y ha habido un rato que incluso se me han retorcido las tripas de lo lindo. AFÚ. Ha conseguido sorprenderme gratamente, sobre todo el final y tengo mucha curiosidad por saber qué pasara en las próximas partes.
Erin
Find the enhanced version of this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

Before I begin I think I should confess something. I have never attempted to read Frankenstein. I've never even watched the films. Despite my abiding love of classic movie monsters I have never been remotely interested in the Modern Prometheus. As such this review is nearly free of comparison. It is impossible not to know bits and pieces of the story but for sake of argument, lets consider me a Shelle...more
Cindy
i really loved this novel.

i'm embarrassed to say i hadn't heard of
kenneth oppel until was fortunate enough to sit
l with him at ALA '12 for a "Beyond the
Norm" YALSA panel. he was funny, smart and charming,
and i liked what he had to say about his young Victor
Frankenstein novels inspired by Mary Shelley's original.

historical with fantasy elements and
loads of lore? alchemy? search for immortality?
gray character as hero? and as kenneth so aptly put during
the panel, is the monster the monster (the...more
Kathleen Peacock
Warning: This review contains major spoilers.

This Dark Endeavour was an interesting prequel take on Frankenstein filled with secret rooms, creepy caves, forbidden knowledge, and DIY surgery. It also does a wonderful job of subtly setting up the threads of arrogance in Victor Frankenstein’s early character. This teen might not quite be ready to try and steal fire from the gods, but the seeds have definitely been sown.

For me, though, where it really shone was in its use of the love triangle.

Lov...more
Christie
Kenneth Oppel’s novel This Dark Endeavour was a finalist for Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Awards and it’s no wonder. It’s a terrific book. We’ve been talking about it at school recently as several of my colleagues have read it and think it would make a great addition to the classroom. I agree. The language of the novel is almost old-fashioned, but the action will appeal to boys and the elements of romance will appeal to girls (or vice-versa) making This Dark Endeavour the perfect gateway...more
Monica!
Well friends, This Dark Endeavor has the dubious honor of being one of the only books where I had to bully myself into liking it as much as I thought I should. And even then, I still feel like it needs more stars than it is getting. (Sorry author! You win awards and you are wonderful, but you kept misspelling "wheelchair" and even though that was the fault of your proofreader, rather than you personally, it made my eyes bleed and I was forced to dock you star points!)

My biggest problem is that a...more
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
Action, suspense, brotherly love, romance, adventure, jealousy, desire, and betrayal are just a few of the things that make This Dark Endeavor feel like you're reading a beloved classic. With it's perfectly paced story line and well developed, believable in-depth characters, this story about young Victor Frankenstein is both engaging and intriguing.

I was hooked form the moment I started reading this book. Everything about it captured and held my attention. I really felt drawn to Victor, Elizabet...more
Alex
Let me just say... I LOVED THIS BOOK. It's got everything; love, death, adventure, with a mix of paranormal/sci-fi thrown in. I have never seen the Frankenstein movie or read the book, so I picked up this novel mainly because of the hype.

I found myself really liking the main character, Victor Frankenstein, and was also drawn to the complex relationships he has with those around him. It didn't feel like a prequel, but a stand-alone novel. I also liked the writing style. I found that readers were...more
Angela Gaskell
I thought this book was fabulous. I received my free copy from the publisher, Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, through the First Reads/Goodreads marketing lottery. Even though I'm thirty years old I still enjoy reading young adult fiction every now and then. "This Dark Endeavor" is equally appealing to adults as it is to young readers. Its like the Harry Potter series with alchemy, caves, strange animals, and danger. The adventures in this book keeps the reader glued. The characters a...more
Christine
This book is deliciously gothic and good. Really liked it. Want more.

I know you’ve heard of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster. You’ve probably also seen a movie about him or read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein for school or some light gothic reading. But have you ever wondered what made Victor Frankenstein become the man who created the “Monster”? What drove him to want to create life from nothing?

What Kenneth Oppel has done with This Dark Endeavor is help answer these questions and more, most of wh...more
Michael
The biggest deception in a high school English curriculum is that Mary Shelley's Frankenstein will be a good book. After putting up with Shakespeare and Beowulf, imagine the class's delight when, near Halloween, my Junior year English teacher announced we'd be reading Frankenstein. Oh boy! A creepy tale about a monster who terrorizes the villagers and mumbles around castles!

Then came the realization that Frankenstein was not the monster's name, but the doctor's.
Then came the realization that Fra...more
Sarah E
This Dark Endeavor is a work of literary art. From the cover, to the plot, to the characters; Oppel was spot on! One of a book's most important assets is its cover, and in this case, This Dark Endeavor certainly has bragging rights! Between the handsome character sketch of Victor on the front, to the haunting buildings eclipsed by unsettle clouds and the blurred edges; I do believe I was completely enthralled with this book before I even read the first page. Having read Kenneth Oppel's previous...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • End of Days
  • The Isle of Blood (The Monstrumologist, #3)
  • First Descent
  • Paintings from the Cave: Three Novellas
  •  The Fire Horse Girl
  • The Dragon Turn (The Boy Sherlock Holmes, #5)
  • Blink and Caution
  • Scowler
  • Witchlanders
  • Crush. Candy. Corpse.
  • Queen of Hearts
  • The Dark Deeps (The Hunchback Assignments, #2)
  • The Blackhope Enigma
  • Outlaw
  • Ripper
  • The Lazarus Machine (Tweed & Nightingale Adventures, #1)
  • Death Watch (The Undertaken, #1)
  • The Floating Islands
88922
I was born in 1967 in Port Alberni, a mill town on Vancouver Island, British Columbia but spent the bulk of my childhood in Victoria, B.C. and on the opposite coast, in Halifax, Nova Scotia...At around twelve I decided I wanted to be a writer (this came after deciding I wanted to be a scientist, and then an architect). I started out writing sci-fi epics (my Star Wars phase) then went on to swords...more
More about Kenneth Oppel...
Airborn (Matt Cruse, #1) Silverwing (Silverwing, #1) Skybreaker (Matt Cruse, #2) Sunwing (Silverwing, #2) Starclimber (Matt Cruse, #3)

Share This Book

“There is a passion in you that scares me.” 23 likes
“The preface? Why would he waste time with the preface? Skip the preface and move on to the meat of the thing!” 12 likes
More quotes…