This Dark Endeavor - Kenneth Oppel

MAD SCIENTIST!! Mwhahaha!! Or at least, one in the making…


(This is not the cover from my edition I read....but I could only find this cover. Bummer...)
The purest intentions can stir up the darkest obsessions.
In this prequel to Mary Shelley’s gothic classic, Frankenstein, 16-year-old Victor Frankenstein begins a dark journey that will change his life forever. Victor’s twin, Konrad, has fallen ill, and no doctor is able to cure him. Unwilling to give up on his brother, Victor enlists his beautiful cousin Elizabeth and 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.

That’s right! The Granddaddy of all mad scientists! Victor Frankenstein! However, he’s a moody teenager. Which is fine. I’m fine with that. I like the idea of a peak into the past to see what made Frankenstein into FRANKENSTEIN. You see the development of his passionate obsession and how it came to be: it came out of love for his brother. He’s so desperate to find a cure for his brother Konrad's illness, that he would defy his father and look into the forbidden art of alchemy. There are strange and curious encounters and adventures that bring them to finding what they need to create the mystical Elixir of Life. And that’s where I’m going to stop in discussing the plot because I don’t want to give away any spoilers.
The voice of Victor is well written and it flowed along nicely.  I wasn’t bored…but then again, now that I think about it…I wasn’t exactly enthralled either. I couldn’t get myself to fall head over heels into the story, like I was one of the characters scaling trees or venturing into underground caves or giving up….well, that’s a spoiler and I’m not going to tell you. But I didn’t feel like a participant. I felt like an observer. When I read a book, I want to fall into face down on the dirt. And, well, that just didn’t happen with this book.
And even though I was not completely immersed in the book, I liked it a lot. It was a spooky Gothic tale…up until Victor decides that decides that he is in love with the lovely and fiery Elizabeth (yes, thy are cousins. Yes, it’s a little icky. But it is justified as she’s a very distant cousin) once he discovers that his twin brother Konrad (yep, the one that gets sick) is madly in love with her first. Then…it turns a little too juvenile for me in that it was no longer about saving Konrad, which is still wants to do, but it was all about proving himself better than his twin to win the affection of Elizabeth. Oh Young Adult…can there be one book where there is not a strange love triangle? Can you just be an awesome Gothic tale full of spooky and dangerous adventures?
Le Sigh….
Overall, this is a fun book. It’s a fast and easy read and if you’re looking for something after a super intense read (I read this after Dreams of Gods and Monsters. Sweet baby Jesus that book hurt my head…still trying to figure out the review on that one…), this is a great book for you. And, it’s a little different from all the other historical Young Adult books at there. I mean come on….FRANKENSTEIN!!      

Until next time, lovers. Remember to always be yourself. Unless you can be a pirate…
Then always be the PIRATE!


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