The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein (series)

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Best. Titles. EVER. Kenneth Oppel’s gothic two book series starts with This Dark Endeavour and ends with Such Wicked Intent.  How can you not want to read them?  Never have I wanted a series to go on and on so badly!   (I will probably say that often, but it is true. Every. Single. Time.)

Victor Frankenstein lives a charmed life in the family chateau with his  twin brother Konrad and cousin Elizabeth.  Along with their close friend Henry, they study their lessons and explore the mountains surrounding their home.  They also spend time exploring their ancient chateau, endless corridors and half forgotten rooms, no place off limits to them.  Except the Dark Library, home to books full of mystery and magic.  Which of course, makes it a very enticing place to Victor.

When Konrad falls deathly ill, Victor broaches the Dark Library,  searching for answers to his sickness. His intense all consuming desire to save his brother’s life leads him down a path that will eventually end in Mary Shelley’s gothic classic.  This series explores alchemy and the supernatural, obsession and love, a romance that grips the reader and does not let go.

Victor is a wonderful character, a normal yet troubled teen, one with all the trappings of noble bloodlines and inherited wealth.  He is stubborn, arrogant and rash, yet you still root for him.  There were times I wanted to grab him by the shoulders and shake some sense into him.  Konrad is gentle and kind and intelligent, immensely likeable, but you know from page one about whom the story revolves.  His parents have high expectations for their offspring and niece, showing the examples hard work and courtly behaviour in all instances.  In his upbringing and deportment, and then his increasingly erratic and obsessive behaviour, you can see in Victor the man who will be Frankenstein.

Both books are beautifully written, with absolutely incredible character development.  No words are wasted on unnecessary description. The last 30-ish pages of  Such Wicked Intent were impossible to put down; I was a wee bit late picking my kids up from school that day. (Thank goodness the admin are easily bribed with good book recommendations!)

Oppel leaves the reader wanting more, and deliberately so.  His prequel homage to Shelley is beautiful in its imagery and language, and readers of the original will not be disappointed.  (I LOVE Shelley’s Frankenstein). The ending has promise of yet another installment, an epic cliff-hanger.  Will there be one?  I have been haunting Oppel’s website for ages now, waiting!

Great for teens who like classic horror novels.

This Dark Endeavour and Such Wicked Intent are published by Harper Collins Publishers Ltd.

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