Amelia, the pragmatic idealist's Reviews > This Dark Endeavour

This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Oppel
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Feb 21, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2012, best-characters-ever, favorite-books, ya-kids-teen, point-of-view-guy
Read from February 21 to 25, 2012

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 read Frankenstein in high school or college (different track, I guess). Basically, my knowledge of the source material has come from Kenneth Branagh's film version, and Mel Brooks.

Still, even I could recognize the level of detail, skill and panache that Kenneth Oppel put into this fascinating novel. And for those of you who did read Frankenstein, have you ever wondered what might have happened to make Victor Frankenstein the man who actually dared to create life? Here, it's simple: Victor has a brilliant, charismatic and practically perfect twin brother, Konrad. Light to his shadow, and all that. When Konrad falls ill with a rare condition, Victor takes it upon himself to find a cure, believing that practical science has failed. His course of study is the dark arts of alchemy - the first of many such introductions into dark and creepy arts. Joining him in his "studies" are his cousin, Elizabeth Lavenza (yes, *the* Elizabeth Lavenza...(view spoiler)) and best friend Henry Clerval (yes, *the* Henry Clerval...not like we don't know what eventually...oh, you know).

I loved the way Oppel chose to portray Victor. It must have been hard to try and make one of literature's most megalomaniac characters into a sympathetic boy, eager-to-please and desperate for attention. I actually liked the guy! It was easy to root for him in his endeavors (dark and twisty as they may be) and I found myself even making excuses for him on several occasions. Even though you know, ultimately, that Victor Frankenstein is a completely doomed character, you still want him to succeed. That's powerful writing, and hats off to Kenneth Oppel for making me care about a character I never thought I could admire. And I loved seeing Victor gradually become more and more twisted, more aggressive, more desperate, and *still* remain sympathetic. I guess I'm drawn to characters with delusions of grandeur who want to prove their worth. Those must be the characters that leave an impression on me. :)

This Dark Endeavor was simply unputdownable, and I rarely say that. My little ADD-self can put down the most thoroughly interesting of books, too, so that should say something to this novel's overwhelming power of intrigue. If you haven't yet, I highly recommend picking up this novel. It clocks in at slightly under 300 pages, so it would be a quick read. And like I said, it's practically unputdownable (view spoiler)
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Reading Progress

02/21/2012 page 66
02/21/2012 page 75
25.0% "This is really good so far. My kind of story :)" 2 comments
02/23/2012 page 106
36.0% "Elizabeth is starting to annoy me. I'm kinda hoping, in a nasty way, that she's the same Elizabeth from Mary Shelley's novel. 'Cause we all know what ultimately happened to her."
02/25/2012 page 209
70.0% "Good news is that the characters aren't annoying anymore. Bad news is that I know what's going to happen to these characters I've grown to like."
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Christina (Reading Extensively) Glad you like it so far. I hope that doesn't change! I bought this book for my Kindle but haven't started it yet.

Wendy Darling Ooo, really! :)

Amelia, the pragmatic idealist Yes, really! This book was incredible :D

Candace Shockley I read it in about 2 hours this of my new favorites!!!

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