This Dark Endeavor

Oppel, Kenneth

(Book - 2011)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
This Dark Endeavor
When his twin brother falls ill in the family's chateau in the independent republic of Geneva in the eighteenth century, sixteen-year-old Victor Frankenstein embarks on a dangerous and uncertain quest to create the forbidden Elixir of Life described in an ancient text in the family's secret Biblioteka Obscura.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster BFYR, c2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 1442403179
Characteristics: 298 p. ;,22 cm


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“This Dark Endeavour” stars Victor Frankenstein, a sixteen year old aristocrat from Geneva, Switzerland. When Victor’s twin brother Konrad falls ill with a mysterious sickness, Victor sets off to create a cure. Victor enlists the help of his extremely distant cousin Elizabeth, his friend Henry, and an alchemist named Julius Polidori.

This novel is meant to tell the tale of the early years of Doctor Frankenstein, the scientist that created the monster from Mary Shelley’s beloved “Frankenstein”. However, all it manages to do is bore audiences. While the author has made a wonderful attempt at adding in plot twists and interesting, daring adventures, it has not worked in his favor. The end result was a dull, predictable novel that does not capture the attention of readers. The characters, for the most part, are likeable. However, they are terribly clichéd. Henry is the weak, artistic best friend and wing man. Elizabeth is the raging, outspoken female character. Victor is the rather whiny and brooding main character who constantly falls in the shadow of his much-better-in-every-way brother Konrad. There is an unnecessary and uncomfortable love triangle that occurs between Elizabeth, Konrad, and Victor. The setting is rather well written, but does no more than to remind readers that they do not live in a chateau beside a lake. The plot contains many dull moments that tend to drag out for longer than necessary. The action scenes are descriptive and easy to imagine, but are very over the top and unnecessarily over dramatic.

Overall, “This Dark Endeavour” is a relatively plain novel. The author of this review believes it suitable for ages fourteen and up. It is such a shame that this novel was executed so poorly, as a story about the early life of Doctor Frankenstein was a brilliant idea.

Sep 27, 2013
  • mvkramer rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I must confess, I thought this book would be more exciting. It was actually pretty tame -- until about the last five chapters when it suddenly ramped up in tension, adn then abruptly ended. The true interest of this book comes from the relationship between Victor and Konrad: Victor envies his brother and feels bad about it, admires him, yet resents him, wants what he has but can't get it -- it's a great set-up.

""With a delicious mix of science, history, and horror" (Publishers Weekly), This Dark Endeavor reinvents Victor Frankenstein as an arrogant, volatile 16-year-old who is intensely jealous and yet quite protective of his twin brother, Konrad. When Konrad falls gravely ill, Victor searches the family's secret library for a cure, finds a description of the forbidden Elixir of Life in an ancient text, and embarks on a dangerous quest to obtain its ingredients. Primarily Gothic in tone but injected with fiery action scenes and splashes of gore, this riveting tale of brotherly love is a good pick for fans of Rick Yancey's Monstrumologist series." September 2013 Teen Scene newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=672506

Aug 13, 2013
  • Jenna_Lambert rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This Dark Endeavour, written by Canadian writer Kenneth Oppel, is set back in the time before the tales of Frankenstein. This is because 16-year-old Victor is Dr. Frankenstein-he just hasn’t yet created his famous monster: the book takes place in the days of Frankenstein’s youth.

In this book, there are three main characters. Victor, a somewhat conceded and selfish fellow, who does good only in hopes that he will be praised, and who tends to think a little madly at times. True, he is quite stuck up and rude, but he has a side of him that you can’t help but like. He has always lived in the shadow of his twin brother Konrad, a smart, charming, and thoughtful version of himself. One of the things Victor despises about Konrad is that he managed to catch their cousin Elizabeth’s heart, when Victor had been hoping to steal it for himself. Elizabeth is a fiery girl who moved into the Frankenstein manor when she was young, and believes that all women are equal to men and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty.

The plot is adventurous and fast-paced, beginning when Konrad falls ill to some unknown sickness with no clear cure. That is, until Victor comes across a story about an old alchemist who says there is a cure-an Elixir of Life. The problem is, alchemy is forbidden in the Frankenstein house. Still, knowing that it is the only way to save his brother, Victor sets out with Elizabeth and their family friend Henry to find the alchemist and create the potion they so desire.

I found that I enjoyed this book greatly. Kenneth Oppel uses enough description that the reader isn’t too overwhelmed, but can clearly imagine everything that is taking place. It was easy to feel sympathy towards Victor, as he was constantly put below his sibling. There were also points where he was very heroic, even to the point that he had part of himself taken in order to help his brother. It was also very interesting how Oppel managed to intertwine the old Frankenstein story, showing small signs of madness in Victor that would soon lead into the story we all know so well.

There isn’t much of anything negative I can say about the book, however there are a few violent scenes. I’m not normally the one to be queasy in a grotesque scene, but there was one section that had my stomach turning. Either than that, I would greatly recommend this book, and I will definitely be reading the sequel, plus more of Oppel’s work!

Dec 08, 2012
  • waterberry5566 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A very entertaining prequel that explains why Victor will make Frankenstien Monster later on. The ending was a bit too sudden for my taste but still, the book was good! Most of the characters were fantastic! Truthfuly, I prefered Victor of all the rest , even Konrad. Konrad isn't my favourite but better than Elizabeth. She was a bit stuckup. Can't wait to read the next book!

Mar 02, 2012
  • BakerStreetIrregular rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A quick, simple read, but nevertheless thoroughly enjoyable. The ending was extremely sad.

Feb 07, 2012
  • PrimaGigi rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

It has its moments of being enchanting and very engaging story. I just wish authors would stop being so lazy with the romantic bits in YA novels, three teenage boys in love with one girl is just lazy writing. Elizabeth is likable, but I would have preferred my Dr. Frankenstein to be more into the intrigue of science and black arts then trying to be a c-block.

Jan 31, 2012
  • panaura rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I had high expectations for this book, but it reads more like a middle grade novel than a teen novel, or perhaps somewhere in the middle of the two. It was decent, particularly good in the middle, and the ending turned me for a loop.

a really great book. the ending haunted me so bad i almost put the book in my fridge :)

Nov 24, 2011
  • graceling3 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

love it! really captures the personality of the characters - provides a nice explanation for the creation of frankenstein. must read!!


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Jul 24, 2013
  • blue_zebra_421 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

blue_zebra_421 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


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Sep 27, 2013
  • mvkramer rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Young Victor Frankenstein is a rich and privileged young man, the kind of boy who you might say has everything -- but Victor has always felt second best compared to his twin, Konrad. Victor's perfect life is shaken by two events -- his brother falls terribly ill, and he finds a secret room at the heart of his house, the laboratory of an alchemist ancestor. Although Victor promises his father that he won't go back, he suspects that only alchemy will save his brother's life, and he drags his cousin Elizabeth and his friend Henry into a dangerous quest to make the Elixir of Life. This quest will challenge Victor in body and soul; as he and Elizabeth work together, he finds himself falling in love with her, even though she loves Konrad. Will Victor be able to finish the Elixir and save his brother's life?


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"It's a terrible thing," I said, "to be crippled in the prime of one's life."

"You've sprained your ankle,"


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app06 Version jokkmokk Last updated 2015/01/22 14:24