This Dark Endeavor
The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein #1
author : kenneth oppel
pages : [paperback] 304
favorite characters : elizabeth & henry
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 peaks Victor’s curiosity more. When Konrad falls gravely ill, Victor is not be 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. Elizabeth, Henry, and Victor immediately set out to find assistance in 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 really wanted to like this book a lot more than I actually did. I’m a huge, huge fan of retold fairy tales and definitely know that the classics aren’t anything like that . . But I still thought I’d give this one a go because it sounded so interesting. It was hard to get into, partially because Victor is every bit as prideful and slightly insensitive as his older self in the original Frankenstein. Knowing that the author stayed true to this rather than making him more likeable was a nice touch. But it seemed like his personality was used as the focus for too many plot points for this to settle well with me.
The entire tale is an adventure as Victor and his friends set out to find the three ingredients that will create this Elixir and save Konrad’s life. At points this was incredibly gripping and I didn’t want to put this book down. But at other times it felt dry and forced. I’m thinking that perhaps this just wasn’t the right literary fit for me.
I can see the potential in this series, but when I began this book I didn’t even realize that there were meant to be other novels. That left me disappointed with how this ended because I wasn’t encouraged to continue on and this ending had neither a cliffhanger or enough of a resolution. It felt like it simply left me hanging. I think I’ll pick up the next novel when it is released but I will probably rent it from the library rather than purchasing it.
I do think that there will be others out there who will enjoy this story much more than I did. I don’t want to discourage everyone because I really got the feeling that this is a book that either completely works for you or doesn’t.