Simon & Schuster
August 23rd, 2011
The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein #1
For Review from Publisher
Synopsis via Goodreads
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 Konrads 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.
For me, this book was a little more like, This Dim Endeavor. By this, I do not mean to insult so much as point out that it wasn't nearly as dark and twisted as I'd hoped. That said, it wasn't a fluffy light read either.
So, Victor was a fairly likable MC. He's got the whole underdog thing going for him within his brother rivalry and when it comes to Elizabeth's heart. He's more adventurous and is rougher around the edges, behaving quite wickedly at times. Honestly, in the love triangle between Victor, Elizabeth, and Konrad, I didn't really find myself caring much one way or the other. Though if I had to choose, I'd pick Victor. All of the characters came off as a little young to me and I found that I was craving much more character development from Konrad and Elizabeth. Henry was quite a trip though and really livened up this book. He's a character that had me lol-ing on several occasions. I liked that the parents were actually involved in the story, adding some well appreciated, additional conflict to the story.
As I said before, the plot wasn't as dark as I had hoped. There were some darker aspects but in the whole, it was a lighter read than I had anticipated. At times, I confess, it came off as a little melodramatic to me, both some of the events that took place and the characters themselves. That said there was some great world building and a well layered story-line that kept me guessing and wondering what was waiting for me around the next corner or behind the next door, sometimes literally. The overall concept alone is worth praising. I mean, a prequel to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein? Um, yes! This is definitely a series that is going to be filled with excitement.
Though I did find fault with a few things, the writing was not among those. While not anything that will just completely blow a person away, Oppel's writing style was fast-paced and his use of imagery went on to further enhance the atmosphere and story world.
The ending left me a little befuddled but it set the next book up quite nicely; I can't wait to read Such Wicked Intent!
Recommendable: Yes, especially if you don't start with super high expectations like I did.
Overall: An adventurous and captivating start to a new and unique series!
Cover: Wicked cool!
Buy This Dark Endeavor