Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Mad Musings On: "This Dark Endeavor' by Kennth Oppel

This Dark Endeavor (The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, #1)
The Blurb:
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.

Mad Musings:
My 14 year old son brought this home from school one day, and when I was helping him write a book report for it, I realized what it was about - this is a re-telling of a young Frankenstein!  That was all it took for me to want to drop everything and read it.  Mary Shelley's classic story is one of my favourites.  And it certainly didn't disappoint.
So imagine my surprise when I'm reading and - whoa and behold, there's steampunk and alchemy elements in it!  That ticks off two things I've been obsessing on this year (Or, I should say LAST year.... 2012? Remember thisthis, and this grand obsession?)  This was a clever and very surprising imagining of a classic, well-known story.  And just when you think you know what's going to happen next, events unfold to deepen the mysteries.  I don't think this story exactly matches the original Frankenstein story's history, but it's forgivable, since it's a re-telling.  For example, in the original, Victor is obsessed with re-animating the dead because his mother died in childbirth and I'm pretty sure he didn't have a twin brother either.  Not the case in this story...
As much as I enjoyed reading Kenneth's book, I realized afterwards that he is a Canadian writer - score another point!  I'm always on the look out for Canadian writers I like.  He was actually at my son's school!  Doing a reading and signing (thus the reason his class was reading the book to begin with)!!  Where on Earth was I hiding when that was going on? I ask myself now....  *DOH*facepalm*

Will I be reading the next book in the series, 'Such Wicked Intent'?  Well, I did make sure Santa brought it for the boy for Christmas, after all, so I'd say chances are looking pretty good :)  Now, to convince him to watch Mary Shelley's Frankenstein with me....



  1. Kenneth Oppel was at your son's school for a signing??!?!? That would've been so exciting!

    I loved this book and can't wait to read Such Wicked Intent -- it's going to be great! Glad you found this one. :)

    1. Me too! Turns out my other son is reading another of Oppel's books - Silverwing. He says it's really good even though it's about bats LOL.