Wednesday, January 11, 2012

This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel

"There is a passion in you that scares me."

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. Their 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 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. Victor, with the assistance of his friends, Elizabeth and Henry, 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 Konrad’s life. 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.

 My rating:

I picked it up because:
I saw it Rick Riordan’s blog a while ago. (If you don’t know the amazing-ness that is Rick Riordan, make a beeline for the nearest library/bookstore and find the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Do not read anything else until if you have finished this amazing series. You’re welcome.) Anyway, I saw it at the library yesterday and picked it up.

What I liked:
The setting. It’s somewhere in the eighteenth century, I would guess, and I love the way the characters talk. Their words—and the author’s descriptions—have a poetic kind of sense. Every sentence made me want to keep on reading; I read the 298 pages straight through, never once bored. It’s definitely an adventure, from the very first page until the last word.
I love Victor, the main character, because he’s complex. He isn’t black and white—he’s consumed by shades of gray. He’s quick to anger. Sometimes he realizes he’s after something only for himself. When he wants something, he’s willing to put up his best fight to get it. And when he believes he’s right, he’ll be stubborn in his belief until the end of time. But despite his flaws, I rooted for Victor the whole way through.

What I didn't like:
So this is a purely personal opinion, but I don’t like sad endings. Not that every book’s last chapter must detail the main character’s happy wedding to his or her soulmate, followed by prancing through a field full of lilies and and all wrongs righted. Really, that isn’t what I like—I want endings to be real. But on the flip side, I can’t stand it when tragedy befalls my beloved character and there isn’t some kind of solution or cure or hope that the author leaves us with that things will get better. I can’t stand to think that these characters will forevermore be left how I last saw them.

This Dark Endeavor is a prequel to Mary Shelley’s classic, Frankenstein. I haven't read it, so my review on the characters and the plot is based solely on This Dark Endeavor. If I read Frankenstein, I think my review of this book would probably change, based on what the author was thinking when he wrote the prequel for someone else’s book.
But overall, I enjoyed this book; it’s gorgeous. If you’re not one for sad endings, I don’t suggest it. But if you don’t mind it, don’t miss this one. I’ll be thinking about this one for a long time to come.
Read more reviews for This Dark Endeavor at:


  1. I’m a writer, book lover, and your newest blog follower! My blog is Life of Lois Feel free to stop on by.

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  3. I read this book last week!! it was awesome,i wonder if elizabeth likes victor....

  4. I know, I think Victor is so sweet. (: He and Elizabeth would be a really cute couple.