Much like the first book, this was an ominous and gripping Frankenstein-inspired story about a character enticed by power and the bond between twins.
In fact, I would say this book was even more ominous than the first, and also a little bit creepy at times, because of the things happening in the plot.
Once again, Victor was an intriguing character with some darkness in him, but a character who was definitely not all bad. Something he did near the end was especially touching. As I’ve said before, he struggled with always making the right choices, but I think his heart was ultimately in the right place.
What I especially liked about this duology was the retelling aspect. Well, it wasn’t so much a retelling as it was a prequel of a somewhat alternate version of Frankenstein since the details of Victor’s life weren’t quite the same (e.g. he didn’t have a twin in the original). I liked how this showed the beginning of Victor’s obsession, how easy it was for him to descend a bit into madness. It showed how a character could let something like what happens in the original book (creating life, messing with those kind of things) happen. This story was rather open-ended though. And unpredictable, for that matter. I kept predicting how it would end, how it would relate to the original, but I kept being wrong. *SPOILER* (First I thought their plan would work. Then I thought they were going to bring back Konrad into that possessed body, and it would fit with the original story but with the resurrected Konrad as the monster. Then I thought Wilhelm would win and keep Victor’s body, and that would explain why he would do the things he did in the original book. But none of those things happened.) *END SPOILER* But there was one specific reference to the original, one that tied it to this duology, that makes me wonder exactly what the reader is supposed to infer. *SPOILER* (Victor had that dream of himself chasing after Konrad in the arctic, which is clearly referencing the original since Victor chases his monster across the arctic, so… are we supposed to believe that Victor eventually learns how to resurrect using lightning and does bring his brother back? But then the next questions is, does Victor changes his mind and abandon him, like in the original? Or does the resurrection go wrong and he’s just disappointed when it isn’t Konrad, or some twisted version of Konrad? Or does he end up resurrecting him, and they actually have an adventure together, like he always wanted? Or was that not Konrad in the dream, but Victor just thought it was because he so wanted it to be?) *END SPOILER* Like I said, seemingly open to interpretation. Not my favorite type of ending, to be honest, but sometimes speculating on different possibilities is fun, and it was a creative retelling/prequel all the same.
My only real complaint is that I wanted more from these books. More darkness. More interaction between Victor and Konrad. More emotion from Victor.
But, like I said in my last review, despite any minor issues I had, I was enthralled while reading and didn’t want to put these books down. It only took me two days to read each, and that’s saying a lot with the slump I’ve been in.
Overall, I thought this was a gripping alternate-Frankenstein prequel duology. Although I’m pretty sure this is not going to happen, I would happily read a continuation—a retelling of the main story—if the author ever chose to write it!
Fans of Book 1 in Kenneth Oppel's The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein series. Anyone who likes ominous books, Frankenstein retellings, and twin relationships.
More Books in the Series:
Devotion turns deadly in this second Gothic thriller from Printz Honor–winner Kenneth Oppel that is “every bit as thrilling and engaging” (VOYA) as This Dark Endeavor.
When does obsession become madness? Tragedy has forced sixteen-year-old Victor Frankenstein to swear off alchemy forever. He burns the Dark Library. He vows he will never dabble in the dark sciences again—just as he vows he will no longer covet Elizabeth, his brother’s betrothed.
If only these things were not so tempting.
When he and Elizabeth discover a portal into the spirit world, they cannot resist. Together with Victor’s twin, Konrad, and their friend Henry, the four venture into a place of infinite possibilities where power and passion reign. But as they search for the knowledge to raise the dead, they unknowingly unlock a darkness from which they may never return.
Book Author: Kenneth Oppel
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Series: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein
Genre: Fantasy, Frankenstein Retelling, Historical Fantasy, Retelling, Young Adult
My Rating: 4
Series/Standalone: Part of a Series