I hated Shelley’s Frankenstein, but man oh man, did I love This Dark Endeavor! This Dark Endeavor tells the back story of Victory Frankenstein, the man who created the monster Frankenstein, focusing on Victor’s teen years. As a teen, Victor happens upon The Dark Library, a library full of dark magic and secrets, and becomes obsessed with the contents within, hoping to use the library’s secrets to heal his sick twin, Konrad. Soon, Victor and his friends are swept into a length quest searching for the elusive ingredients of the Elixir of Life, which could heal his twin to perfect health.
After reading the original classic in college, struggling through it and despising every moment (Why is this a boring journal of a boring dude? Where’s the monster?!), I closed it up, threw it in the darkest recessed of my bookshelf, and hoped to never see it again. Then, I received a couple copies of this YA novel from a teacher convention. The cover kept drawing me in, and I kept wondering what it was about. With a sigh, I proceeded to read it, recalling my bias toward the Frankenstein mythology. Boy, was I wrong! I was utterly sucked in by this book. This Dark Endeavor is an absolutely thrilling, action-packed adventure that kept me at the edge of my seat and biting my nails.
Besides the action and adventure, what I loved most was the portrayal of the classic character Victor Frankenstein. In the original, I felt like the character of Victor was so bland. I never related to Victor or found any interest in his journals. In this YA prequel, I was immediately connected to Victor’s motives, desires, impulses, needs; I really felt like this book helped me to understand the motives behind original Victor’s drive to create the monster Frankenstein.
This is a book that will seriously appeal to any reader, with it’s perfect blend of adventure, action, sci fi, and fantasy. I think this one will be a great book for boys, though that’s not to say female readers will be isolated – I wasn’t! There’s a very strong female character in there, too. Don’t be scared off by the connection to this classic. If you love a fabulous adventure with strong characters and just a touch of science fiction and fantasy, This Dark Endeavor is for you. Who knows? Maybe it will lead you to read or revisit Shelley’s classic. It made me want to – almost. I’ll stick with my YA Victor for now.
Cover Thoughts: I really like this cover. It’s dark and mysterious, and it fits the mood of the book quite well. I actually like the back-facing silhouette of Victor; I like having a mysterious image of him without actually seeing a model’s face. I chose to read this one because the cover kept calling to me.