Tuesday, January 10, 2012

This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Oppel

This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Oppel
Release Date –  August 30, 2011
Publisher Website – HarperCollins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages -   304 pages
My Rating- 9.5/10
**Obtained from the library**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Victor and Konrad are the twin brothers Frankenstein. They are nearly inseparable. Growing up, their lives are filled with imaginary adventures...until the day their adventures turn all too real. 
They stumble upon The Dark Library, and secret books of alchemy and ancient remedies are discovered. Father forbids that they ever enter the room again, but this only peaks Victor's curiosity more. When Konrad falls gravely ill, Victor is not be satisfied with the various doctors his parents have called in to help. He is drawn back to The Dark Library where he uncovers an ancient formula for the Elixir of Life. Elizabeth, Henry, and Victor immediately set out to find assistance in a man who was once known for his alchemical works to help create the formula. 
Determination and the unthinkable outcome of losing his brother spur Victor on in the quest for the three ingredients that will save Konrads life. After scaling the highest trees in the Strumwald, diving into the deepest lake caves, and sacrificing one’s own body part, the three fearless friends risk their lives to save another
I read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein years ago. I enjoyed it and my interest was piqued when I heard there was going to be a prequel set when Victor Frankenstein was a teenager.

The references to Shelley’s Frankenstein are apparent and done so well. The story absolutely fits into her created world and is just as engaging in it’s own right. The writing is well paced, and this book is really well written. You’ll be sucked in immediately. The story is action packed. I was holding my breath in some parts, because they were that tense.

Twins Victor and Konrad are as different personality wise as they are similar look wise. Konrad is more level headed, a strong student, and a gifted athlete. Victor however is a complex, highly emotional young man. He is more mischievous than his brother, and more likely to get into trouble. I found both of them very likeable.

The relationship between Victor and Konrad is so wonderfully developed. The author manages to create a bond that seems very real. The feelings Victor has of being inadequate when comparing himself to Konrad are very common in sibling relationships and the love he felt at the same time equally common. He would do anything for Konrad, but still strives to be better than him.

The whole notion of power, and what happens when people have it is teased throughout the novel. Victor pushes, and tests the boundaries of alchemy. Flushed with minor success he constantly wants more, creating dangerous situations. It really foreshadows the events in Frankenstein.

The love triangle that exists between Victor, Konrad and Elizabeth is one of the better triangles in YA. While the thought of a woman coming between two brothers is a hard one to stomach, this doesn’t feel wrong. Elizabeth is presented as a wonderfully complex, caring, strong, intelligent, and brave young woman. It is no wonder both boys love her. Each loves different parts of her - Konrad her “angelic” side and Victor her wild “animalistic” side. I enjoyed that while the relationships certainly progress and push forward the plot they were secondary to the action.

The last few pages will leave you crushed, and gasping for the sequel.  The story pretty much begs to be made into a movie, and I hope it happens. Those looking for a glimpse of what happened to cause Victor  to go down his dark path will enjoy this well written read.


  1. All of the reviews of this book have been really good and yet I'm still hesitant to pick it up and read it. I think my hesitation comes from the fact that I've read Frankenstein three times already for school and analyzed the heck out of it so I'll probably do the same thing to This Dark Endeavour. Still, I'm really curious to see what it's like! Great review :)

  2. I completely agree that the last pages leave you anxiously wanting the sequel. Great review. I absolutely loved this book as well. I definitely felt that I was left breathless as well with a lot of the adventure scenes. Kenneth Oppel did an amazing job with this book!
    PS. New follower :)


  3. Great review Kat! Love that you reviewed this and your observation on what you liked about the love triangle. This book sounds interesting. A male writer in YA isn't exactly common so that aspect is interesting too.


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