mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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Victor Kadmon. (88)

This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel.

The Monster spoke then:
"Solve, et coagula."
We were Enlightened.

This was Jenny's pick for our Eleven-Books Club, & I think we might finally be hitting our stride, because I liked this one. As YA, it has a big perk-- which it shares with Seraphina-- in being a quick, smooth read. The last Frankenstein re-imagining I read was Ackroyd's The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein which left a sour taste in my mouth; because This Dark Endeavor is a prequel, telling stories of a teenage Frankenstein, I worried that it might undercut the original in order to tell its story...but my concerns were unfounded. There is a slight "faith versus science" theme in the book, which I also thought might taint the reading experience, but again, that wasn't pushed to the forefront. I think the nearest comparison in tone, ultimately, is to the Monstrumologist books, which I also liked. The Young Adult horror genre can't just be lazy with gore & violence, so they actually have to put some thought into the spooks...though I should not that the first half of this novel is decidedly a "dark adventure" novel; it isn't really until the end that things take a horrific turn. I'm also inclined to like this book because Victor has a similar sort of inner life to the protagonist of my NaNoWriMo from a few years ago, Gillick, in Watchtower Gothic. The big addition to this book-- besides being the New Adventures of Young Victor Frankenstein-- is Victor's twin brother, Konrad. The two of them adventure with Henry Clerval & Elizabeth Lavenza, both eventual victims of Frankenstein's Monster. I suppose the other reason I like this book is that it is about alchemy; you know that is my favorite. There are three "quests" that the kids go on; of the three, the flooding caves in the search for a coelacanth were definitely my favorite. That was some good Dungeons & Dragons right there; its got a plausible & weird MacGuffin in a really great & evolving setting. I also like the penultimate fight in this book quite a lot; even though I saw it coming the way it played out in practice was pretty tense. Yep, I was pleased with this, & I'm totally going to read the next one. Right after I finally get around to reading the third Monstrumologist book.
Tags: 11books, 11booksclub, books, frankenstein, haiku, oppel

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