Saturday, January 7, 2012
This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel
It seems to be a bit late for the review, but I LOVED this book! It kept me entranced the entire train ride back from NCTE in Chicago and I finished the last page as the train pulled into the A2 station.
For those who love classics, this book will not disappoint. Young Victor Frankenstein and his twin brother, Konrad, are playing around in their mansion's library with their cousin, Elizabeth, when they stumble upon a secret passageway. Further investigation leads them to a secret library and workshop where they later learn their ancestors used to illegally practice alchemy. The elder Mr. Frankenstein warns against their ever returning to the "dungeon". However, Konrad becomes ill and Victor is desperate to do anything to save him. As Konrad languishes in his bed day after day, Victor and Elizabeth struggle to seek out help from an invalid alchemist in their town in Switzerland. A search, alchemy and romance ensues as the two try to find the three ingredients needed for Konrad's life saving "elixir of life."
This novel is a true gothic read for young adults, something we don't come across very often. As a lover of historical fiction and classic fiction, I loved this book and am so very glad there will be more. I am anxious to see young Victor turn into the scientist of Mary Shelley's. The characters are wonderfully round and there is a plot twist at the end that made me gasp out loud on the train. Get a copy of this and share it with your students! Mine are fighting over it.
By the way, if you have been struggling over how to pronounce this author's last name (like I have for many years- pronunciation is very important to me), the correct way Mr. Oppel says it is: "Opal" Straight from the horse's mouth, ladies and gentleman.