Wednesday, September 7, 2011

This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel

This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein by Kenneth Oppel.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing.
Pages: 304.

Victor and Konrad are the twin brothers Frankenstein. They are nearly inseparable. Growing up, their lives are filled with imaginary adventures...until the day their adventures turn all too real.

They stumble upon The Dark Library, and secret books of alchemy and ancient remedies are discovered. Father forbids that they ever enter the room again, but this only piques Victor's curiosity more. When Konrad falls gravely ill, Victor is not satisfied with the various doctors his parents have called in to help. He is drawn back to The Dark Library where he uncovers an ancient formula for the Elixir of Life. With their friend Elizabeth, Henry and Victor immediately set out to find assistance from a man who was once known for his alchemical works to help create the formula.

Determination and the unthinkable outcome of losing his brother spur Victor on in the quest for the three ingredients that will save Konrad's life. After scaling the highest trees in the Strumwald, diving into the deepest lake caves, and sacrificing one’s own body part, the three fearless friends risk their lives to save another.

I'll be honest, I almost didn't pick this one up. I haven't read Frankenstein nor have I seen any versions of the movie (well ... if you don't count Van Helsing with Hugh Jackman. I wouldn't) and I didn't have any plans to. And if I wasn't going to bother with the original novel, why would I want to read a prequel? After a few great reviews from blogger friends, I relented and read this and wow - let's not get into how much I could've kicked myself.

Unlike many others, I can't talk about how wonderfully this set up for Mary Shelley's original masterpiece and I can't talk about how everything matched up and worked out. But I can talk about how spectacular I thought this book was and how I have plans to get my hands on a copy of Frankenstein immediately.

This Dark Endeavor is 304 pages of dark, adventurous and gothic goodness. Kenneth Oppel didn't just write characters and words, he wrote a reading experience, one that is creepy and exciting. Even if this an unofficial prequel, it stands alone and honorable on all levels. Such as the characters; Victor is such a complex protagonist, even as a fifteen-year-old, and he's so amazingly written that I believed it. His posessive, jealous, and sometimes dark personality was so very authentic and chilling. I haven't even read Frankenstein, but even I can tell that Oppel nailed it.

And there is never a dull moment. The adventures that Victor, Henry and Elizabeth go on to secure ingredients needed to save his twin brother's life are all fast-paced, high on energy and intensity. And when they're not on some kind of crazy ingredient search, the betrayals and sinister romance and other matters that occur in the Frakenstein household are there to fill the void.

Overall, This Dark Endeavor is a fantastic prequel that probably would make Mary Shelley herself proud. Heart-stoppingly intense and engaging, This Dark Endeavor is sure to motivate tons of readers, like me, to introduce themselves to the classic that is Frankenstein. I definitely recommend you all pick this one up!

Other reviews for This Dark Endeavor:
Good Books And Good Wine.
Jenn's Bookshelves.
The Book Stalker.


  1. I definitely want to try Frankenstein the book too. Also you should totes watch Young Frankenstein, it's hilarious!

    Glad you enjoyed This Dark Endeavor :-)

  2. I read it and I thought it was a perfect prequel to Frankenstein! Totally agree with your review!


  3. I LOVE Frankenstein!! ONe of my favorite books ever. I have this from BEA so I'm uber excited about getting to this one now. I kinda just ignored it and brought it back with me thinking I'd give it to someone else.

  4. I have to read Frankenstein for school so I'll try to read this as well! Thanks for the review!

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