Thursday, December 8, 2011

This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein by Kenneth Oppel

In this book Kenneth Oppel imagines what Dr. Frankenstein might have been like as a teen and what might have begun his journey down the path to creating his monster. Victor feels that he is inferior to his twin brother Konrad in many ways even though he loves Konrad more than anyone else in the world. Driven by his competitive nature to try to best Konrad - as well as trying to impress their cousin Elizabeth - Victor takes risks including exploring a secret passageway that leads to a library full of occult books. Although their father forbids the boys and Elizabeth from entering the dark library ever again, Victor returns when Konrad falls ill with a life-threatening sickness. Victor finds a recipe for the Elixer of Life and believes that if he could just make the elixer, he would save Konrad and get all the glory for himself. Victor, Elizabeth and their friend Henry get help from Julius Polidari, a man who is known to have worked on mysterious potions in the past. The three friends embark on a series of increasingly dangerous quests to find the necessary ingredients to save Konrad. I have never read Frankenstein so I was not troubled by any discrepencies between this story and that one. This book was adventuresome, mysterious and thoughtful. Is Victor a good guy or a bad one? It's a hard question to answer and by giving us a look into his thought process Oppel let's you see how a person can make some decisions that lead to some bad consequences.

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