Thursday, May 3, 2012

This Dark Endeavor By Kenneth Oppel

This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein
Author: Kenneth Oppel
YA Book
(Annette's Review)

In this prequel to Mary Shelley’s gothic classic, Frankenstein, sixteen-year-old Victor Frankenstein begins a dark journey that will change his life forever. Victor’s twin, Konrad, has fallen ill, and no doctor can cure him. Unwilling to give up on his brother, Victor enlists his beautiful cousin Elizabeth and his best friend, Henry, on a treacherous search for the ingredients to create the forbidden Elixir of Life. Impossible odds, dangerous alchemy, and a bitter love triangle threaten their quest at every turn.  Victor knows he must not fail. But his success depends on how far he is willing to push the boundaries of nature, science, and love — and how much he is willing to sacrifice.

I have not read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, but after reading This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, I have now added it to my growing list of books I want to read. This Dark Endeavor is the story of young Victor Frankenstein.  It is a dark and intriguing story of family, love, and science. Victor, his twin brother Konrad, their cousin Elizabeth, and friend Henry are a lively and adventurous group.  They discover a secret library within their home which includes books of alchemy and other dark and mysterious titles.  They are forbidden by their father to ever go back to the library which makes it all the more enticing to Victor.  When Konrad falls ill with a mysterious illness, Victor will go to great lengths to find a cure. He goes against his father’s wishes and returns to The Dark Library in search of a possible cure.  Victor finds a book that includes a recipe for the Elixir of Life, a mixture he believes will save Konrad's life.  Victor, his cousin Elizabeth, and his friend Henry secretly set out to find an old alchemist who they believe can help them create the Elixir.  Alchemy has been banned and its use is punishable by law if caught.   When they find the alchemist, he begins to translate the book and tells them about the ingredients they need to find and where to get them. The three friends head out on a dangerous journey to find the ingredients to make the Elixir and struggle with believing in the Elixir or the hope of what medicine can do to help Konrad. As the others begin to doubt the value of the Elixir, Victor continues to believe that it will save his brother's life and will go to extreme lengths to prove it. A love triangle between Victor, Konrad, and Elizabeth adds a bit of romance to the story as well, and Victor struggles with his loyalty to his brother and his growing feelings for Elizabeth.  Even though Victor’s motives often do not seem pure as he has a dark edge to his character, you want to root for him because you see his other side where he will do anything for those he loves. Once I started this book, I couldn’t put it down.  It has a bit of everything in the story and kept me on the edge of my seat.  I loved the characters, and the story is well written. 

Rating 4 out of 5

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