Author: Kenneth Oppel
Release date: August 23, 2011
Published by: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Konrad and Victor Frankenstein are 16-year-old twins living in a chateau in Geneva with their parents, two younger brothers, close cousin (Elizabeth), and friend (Henry). Konrad is the serious and beloved twin who always seems to know what to do and say, at least according to Victor. And while Victor loves Konrad and feels deeply connected to him (as any twin would), he can’t deny that he is a little jealous at times because Victor is seen as the impulsive one who doesn’t always take his studies seriously.
But one day, Konrad falls gravely ill, and no doctor can figure out what is wrong. They bleed Konrad, give him various potions but nothing works to rid Konrad’s body of the disease. That’s when Victor decides to take matters into his own hands because he can’t conceive of a world without his brother. With the help of Elizabeth and Henry, Victor goes to the Dark Library—a forbidden place—hoping to find the answer to his brother’s problem.
Will what he discovers be just what Konrad needs? Or will it lead Victor on an unimaginably darker journey?
My Thoughts: If you’ve ever wondered what drove Victor Frankenstein to passionately pursue the answer to reanimating life, thus leading to his Creation, then Kenneth Oppel has the answer you seek!
When I first read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, I thought that Frankenstein’s passion had driven him to pursue such madness (crazy, loony, utterly nuts!), but Oppel’s tale develops Frankenstein’s childhood and gives solid reasons for Frankenstein’s seeming craziness in later years.
Victor is the narrator of Oppel’s story. At 16, he is just being exposed to the fear of loss, and he wants to find a way to save someone he loves. Thus, he turns to the forbidden art of alchemy—who wouldn’t? He is impulsive and passionate. There is one line that I love (it also appears on the back of the hard cover jacket). Elizabeth is telling Victor why she prefers Konrad’s love to his. She says, “There is a passion in you that scares me.” And throughout the story, you see this passion drive Victor to do things that he maybe shouldn’t. It actually took me awhile to like Victor. I struggled to connect with what I perceived as a spoiled, jealous, slightly mean boy. However, as I grew to know Victor, I could see that at the heart of things it is really love that drives his actions—they may not be the right actions but the motivation is true.
This truly is a dark tale. It starts off with some exciting action and fun dialogue, but quickly turns into a desperate and dangerous tale. Your heart will pound as Victor and his companions search for the ingredients to the Elixir of Life, which are neat easy to obtain while the clock ticks down on Konrad’s life. The whole time I was reading, I was waiting for someone to die—and I wasn’t even thinking of Konrad—because the places they go (forest, caves) and the things they have to face (giant vultures, ginormous fish) are so scary!
Victor Frankenstein’s dark endeavors will suck you in and grab your emotions!
I can’t wait for the next book, coming in August—whoohoo!