This Dark Endeavour - Oppel, Kenneth

This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel

In this prequel to Mary Shelley’s Gothic classic, Frankenstein, 16-year-old Victor Frankenstein undertakes a dark journey that will shift his life into a new shape that no one predicts. Victor’s twin, Konrad, has fallen ill, and no doctor is able to cure him even after performing drastic operations. Reluctant to let go his brother, Victor calls on his attractive cousin, Elizabeth, and best friend Henry on a hazardous search for the ingredients to create the forbidden Elixir of Life. Impossible odds, perilous alchemy and a bitter, sour love triangle that threatens their quest at every turn. Victor knows he has no option of failing. But his victory depends on how far he is willing to push the boundaries of nature, science, love, and loyalty. Along the way he has to decide how much he is prepared to sacrifice, a piece of him, his love, or his own inseparable twin.

The book is written in the first person, from the point of view of the young, bold Victor Frankenstein. At the beginning of the book we have the ‘hero’ engaging in all sorts of normal teenage hobbies with Konrad, Elizabeth Lavenza, and Henry Clerval. Readers of the original work by Mary Shelley will automatically notice the disparity, Konrad is a new character. But he is fundamental to the plot and as the book develops it is clear to see how Kenneth Oppel uses the entangled relationships between Konrad, Victor and Elizabeth to evolve Victor’s personality.

The rest of the book is filled with the quest to find the items for the possible cure. Along the way, the reader is shown Victor’s thoughts and a number of moral dilemmas about relationships, magic, medicine, core values, incentive. However it is never straightforward with Victor, his motivation for discovering the cure is mainly about how it will benefit him and his own ego, than saving his own twin’s life. This sour feeling came from the fact that his twin was always better at fencing, talking, relationships, and everyone liked him. He was also jealous that Elizabeth and Konrad like each other. The decisions that he makes along the way begin to form into the beginning for the dark path that will be forced to walk through.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and the morale accepts of it and all the descriptions are very detailed. The story runs smoothly and it’s easy to follow. I would rate it 9/10 and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good story with love triangles, alchemy, and ethics .