This Dark Endeavour-- Kenneth Oppel

Release Date: August 23rd, 2011
Genre:  Mild Horror, Mystery, Romance
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 298
Amazon Link*: Click here
Goodreads Page: Click here
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.
Blurb: Simple, easy, and subtley creepy.

Review: I love me some prequels. I, like many, read Frankenstein in high school. I was hoping for a story full of magic, horror, mystery, and more. Well... I got some of that.

I wasn't prepared for how simple this book was. It didn't have very much magic, or horror. The book was set up very episodically. It was focused on the main characters gathering three ingredients, and it essentially followed the pattern of 1. find what the ingredient is, 2. go through something dramatic to get the ingredient, 3. wait around for information on the next ingredient.

Along those same lines, Victor was a relatively normal boy with only glimpses of the man he would become. It made the story a little less exciting, but also very authentic. I could easily believe that this boy could become Victor Frankenstein.

This pattern and Victor's easy way of thinking and talking made the book very easy to read-- I found the pages flying by-- but it also wasn't the crash bang boom I was expecting from this book. There was very little of the drama of the original Frankenstein. But all in all, a very enjoyable story. It was horror-lite enough that I think any teen could read it. And by the end I REALLY wanted to read Frankenstein again just so I could see how closely the two matched up. It was subtle, but still wonderful.

All review content © Enna Isilee, Squeaky Books 2007-2012

*I am an amazon affiliate. If you purchase this book using my link, I will get a tiny fraction of the purchase, which goes toward contests.


  1. I listened to this one on audio. I really liked it a lot, the narrator was fantastic.

  2. Ooh! I'll add it to my list of "books to listen to this summer." Summertime is audiobook time for me. :)

  3. Your reviews are always very concise and thoughtful - thank you!

  4. Ha! That's the only way I know how to work, Kristin. I try to make them longer but then I just feel like I'm being repetitive or fluffy. I always hope my shortness doesn't come across as shallowness.

  5. I've been curious about this book. I've never read Frankenstien but I still want to give it a try.

    Maybe I'll take others suggestions and try the audiobooks


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