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Monday, October 3, 2011

Review: This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel

This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel

Release Date: August 23, 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 
Series: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein #1
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 304
Genre: Adventure, Historical Fiction, Horror, Fantasy
Format: Online
Source: Pulse It

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.
Blown away. This novel was absolutely fantastic. The characters, the adventure, the plot. It happens to be a prequel to Mary Shelly's epic tale Frankenstein which caught my eye. Though I had never read Frankenstein it had no lingering affects on my reading of this novel. It was literally phenomenal.

You have your twin brothers Konrad and Victor Frankenstein. Your average high class boys living in Genoa back in possibly the Elizabethan era. The tight bond of the twins are as should be, but when Konrad is struck with illness, Victor and his friends, Elizabeth and Henry, risk their lives to save him.  

This Dark Endeavor was a quick read for me, about a day. I soaked up all of the adventure, grim, and Gothic goodness like a sponge. Such a compelling story that is filled with beautify written characters and a captivating plot. No moment was dull nor was any conversation banal. The scenes between Victor and Elizabeth always drew me in, for such raw emotions of human nature is carried out between the two.

Victor though was some character. The flaws, the raw intensity beaming through out him. You just can't help but latch onto his words and wonder what he is going to feel, think, say, or do next. The jealousy, the rage, the motivation, the lies, the possessiveness, and the dedication. By the standards of the twins, Victor was imperfect compared to Konrad. But such dedication he has to save his brother, even with other evils surfacing through his thoughts; Victor was as real as any character could get.

The ending, I infered though just the kind of thought process I have, was heart-retching. I look back at what I happened to read and makes me think this is just a prequel. It would be wonderful if Oppel even pursued the faction of creating his own spin on the Frankenstein classic. Such a fascinating thought. 

First Line: We found the monster on a rocky ledge high above the lake.

Story: XS

Cover: XS