Saturday, 4 February 2012

Review: This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel


The Story (from Goodreads):
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.


My Thoughts:
Firstly, I'd like to thank Cathy from Abnormally Paranormal Reviews for bringing this book to my attention. Without her, I would never have known about this book nor would have I bothered to read it as I'm not big into horror. Click HERE to read Cathy's awesome review.
      I don't know what to say about This Dark Endeavor. I was never a big fan of Frankenstein but the idea of reading about Victor's journey to becoming such a literary monster intrigued me. I expected to read about an unlikeable boy who was bad to the core. Instead, what I got was a heart wrenchingly realistic portrayal of the many small deeds and motivations that would lead a normal person into committing a terrible act.
      This Dark Endeavor is first and foremost an adventure. It follows Victor and his friends on a journey to discovering the elixir of life. Along the way, we learn about the fierceness of Victor's devotion to his brother Konrad, his unflinching though not wholly unexpected love for his distant cousin Elizabeth and the beginning of his obsession with alchemy.
      Maybe I have a little (lot!) of darkness in me too because I identified so much with Victor. There are a million little thoughts and ways in which you could see his darker side starting to appear but in all honesty, I would have thought and acted in the same way. You can see that throughout his life so far, Victor has felt that he is not as highly regarded as his brother Konrad. So when Konrad comes down with a mysterious disease, Victor is motivated not only by love for his brother, but also by an ambition to be a hero. To be the one who saves the day.  Totally understandably in my opinion.
      I can't speak highly enough of the characters in this book. I loved them all, good and bad. I especially loved Elizabeth who is so worthy of the admiration that she receives from Victor. Though their romance is doomed from the beginning, I couldn't help but hope for some kind of dramatic author's license to give them a happily ever after.
      I can totally recommend this book to any reader, even if you haven't read Frankenstein.

The Rating:
9/10

16 comments:

  1. Good to hear. I have a soft spot for Viktor and am a little sick of all the bashing he gets. If this one really does try to make you understand his motives, I'm all there.

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    1. Victor is so relatable in this book. To the point where I started to think that Konrad was just too good.

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  2. Yay!!! You liked it!! I'm so happy, Lan. I'm glad I rec'd a book that you didn't hate. But, if you did, that would have been fine, too. No pressure.

    Just FYI, there will be a sequel coming out in August/Sept. this year, in case you want to read more. I'm really excited about it!

    P.S. Thanks for the shout out!

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    1. I'm yet to come across a book you've recommended that I haven't liked! Although...I'm still scared to try Infernal Devices! Will totally look out for the sequel. Didn't realise this was going to be a series. After that ending, I was kinda shattered.

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    2. Yeah, people read this book and thought that was the end of it, but I could tell there would be another book for some reason. And, then I found out that there definitely will be a sequel later this year. To me, it seemed Victor wasn't finished being all obsessed with playing God, just yet. (Of course, he will end tragically in Mary Shelley's book.)

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  3. WOW!! I never would've thought I'd be so intrigued by a Frankenstein-oriented book before! x) LOL I always avoided reading the original Frankenstein because I'm not a fan of horror, but I'm starting to get over my scaredy cat ways and this book actually sounds SO cool! I think I can understand Victor's motivations too! ;)

    Awesome review, Lan! Thanks so much for putting TDE on my radar! :)

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    1. I am a complete scardy cat as well Mimi! So if there's anything remotely scary (ghost wise at least) in a book, I steer clear. This one probably isn't in the horror league. I think you'll enjoy it if you give it a go.

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  4. I love, love Frankenstein. The book, not the movies, so this sounds very neat. I may have to add it to the TBR.

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    1. I think this one is totally your thing Beth. It's totally uncompromising and with some plot twists I didn't see coming at all.

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  5. Great review! I've seen this book around . . . sounds awesome!

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    1. It's def one of the better ones I've read in a while. Hope you get a chance to check it out!

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  6. Oh, I have to get a copy of this book. :D I vaguely remember the Frankenstein book. I like the book cover, signifying the keyhole view from inside restricted room.

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  7. OHHHHHH.
    OHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
    OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

    I want to check out this book so badly now (great review) ! I absolutely am a HUGE fan of Frankenstein.... ahh, you've made me all excited!

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  8. this sounds AWESOME! I must read it! Thanks for the review!

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  9. When I first heard about this book I put it on my list of books I was definitely not interested in reading. Although I love Frankestein, I've had to read the book 3 times over the past 3 years for school....so I'm a little Frankenstien'd out. Having read so many really positive reviews though I'm starting to reconsider! It probably would be interesting to see how Kenneth Oppel has remained this classic tale. It's now being moved over to me to-read list. Thanks for sharing :)

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  10. Man, I can't decide if I want to read this one or not. It sounds fascinating, but I usually can't handle books where the character becomes a worse person instead of a better one. But great review, as always, Lan!

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