Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Guest Blog: This Dark Endeavor

This Dark Endeavor:
The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein

by Kenneth Oppel
298 pages
Grades 8-12
Reviewed by: Daryl M.,
Reference Librarian, Buena Vista

S U M M A R Y :

Twins Konrad and Victor Frankenstein have lived an idyllic life in the family’s chateau just outside of Geneva. Their days are filled with all of the normal obligations for young gentlemen of their age--tutorial sessions, language lessons, and fencing drills--but they also seek out adventure at every opportunity. One of these adventures ends in the discovery of a hidden passage in their library that leads to a secret chamber filled with books about alchemy. Their father discovers them in this dark library and forbids them ever to visit it again. But when Konrad suddenly falls sick from an unknown illness and the local physicians seem unable to diagnose or treat him, Victor is drawn to these volumes in search of a cure. Is there something in these forbidden books about the dark arts that can save his brother’s life?

R E V I E W :

In This Dark Endeavor, author Kenneth Oppel creates a prequel of sorts for the characters from Mary Shelley’s classic novel Frankenstein. The result is an entertaining read that explores aspects of the characters mostly ignored by their original creator. However, those who have already read Shelley's Frankenstein will know too much about what happens next (sort of a "spoiler" in reverse!), meaning this novel won't be as thrilling as it could be; so if you have NOT read Frankenstein yet, maybe read this book first, and let it introduce you to a classic story!

This Dark Endeavor is the first of a series, with the second book, Such Wicked Intent, due out soon. (On order at Burbank Public Library.)

Did you know? Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein when she was only 19 years old! It was inspired by ghost stories, insomnia, and a philosophical discussion with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley.

If you go to our library catalog and search the word "Frankenstein," you will find lots of other books that are spin-offs from Shelley's famous work--including a spooky Dean Koontz retelling, and Melissa's personal favorite from the children's room, Frankenstein Makes A Sandwich, by Adam Rex!

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