Rating: 4 out of 5
Genres: YA Adventure, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Horror, Romance, Sci-fi
Victor and Konrad Frankenstein are two inseparable 16 year old twin brothers who live in the Gothic and imposing Chateau Frankenstein. Along with their cousin Elizabeth and their friend Henry, they’ve explored every unknown passage and room in the Chateau. But they’ve left out one: The Dark Library. It has forbidden books written in ancient languages, filled with dangerous information. When their father finds out, they’re banned from returning there.
When Konrad becomes gravely ill, Victor knows he has to find the fabled Elixir of Life’s recipe in The Dark Library. It needs only 3 ingredients, but there are plenty of challenges to threaten the fulfillment of their search. Victor can’t lose. But everything relies on how far he’s willing to push the limits.
I found that This Dark Endeavor was an extremely well-written book. Of course, I have to say I expected as much, because it’s the work of Kenneth Oppel, who wrote the Airborn trilogy (which I loved. Just saying). Initially, I was slightly hesitant to read it, as it is the prequel of Frankenstein. If you’ve seen my “About the Blog” page, then you’d probably know that horror isn’t one of my favourite genres. Regardless, I quickly got pulled into the story.
There are a lot of things that I like about This Dark Endeavor. The first thing would be the plot. Right off the bat, it was exciting, eye-widening, and had me thinking, “Wow.” After I felt relieved since it was just a play, Mr. Oppel pulls in another problem like a 1-2 punch. I think that it was a good tactic for absorbing the reader into the book.
The rest of the plot was also great to read. There were a lot of really thrilling parts, but even the slightly toned down points were exciting. The story was paced well; things didn’t seem to be resolved or over with too quickly, and there were no drags that made me read faster just so that part could be done.
The characters were well-developed, too. Of course I can’t rightfully compare them with their adult counterparts, as I’ve never read the actual Frankenstein. I liked how Mr. Oppel “showed” their back-stories, along with everything else, and didn’t just dump it all at once. I liked Elizabeth especially, because she was strong willed, rather fiery, independent, and she managed to hold out against Victor, for the most part. Victor, to me, seemed slightly unlikeable and rude, but I think that’s just how the author was trying to show him.
I also felt that the love triangle between Elizabeth, Victor and Konrad was a bit weird. I think it’s because Konrad was out of the picture a lot, since he was, you know, deathly ill most of the time, and Victor was trying to make Elizabeth love him even though he knew that she loved Konrad. Victor was rather forward when he was with Elizabeth. At times it didn’t really seem like a real love triangle.
Usually I don’t mention this in my reviews, but I feel like I need to in this one. There are two covers for This Dark Endeavor. One of them has a short haired, black-overcoat-wearing Victor seen through a key hole, and the other cover has an older looking Victor with long hair, standing in front of a couple buildings in what I assume to be is Geneva, and he’s not wearing an overcoat. Personally, I prefer the cover with the keyhole. Victor seems like he really is sixteen there.
And two other things: This Dark Endeavor is in talks to be made into a movie by the same people who made Twilight. Also, it’s going to have a sequel, Such Wicked Intent, which is releasing on August 21 this year. I’ve mentioned this before, because it’s on my “Books to Read” post.
Overall, I found This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel to be a highly enjoyable book, filled with action, suspense and romance. It will delight almost anyone, even non-horror fans. I liked it very much, and I hope that you will to, if you decide to read it. 🙂
Thanks to Kenneth Oppel, goodreads.com, Chapters and Google images