Title: This Dark Endeavor
Author: Kenneth Oppel
Genre: Teen Fiction, Historical Fiction
Publication Date: August 23, 2011
Publisher: Quirk Books
ISBN-13 Book: 9781442403154
Audiobook Publisher: Brilliance Audio
ISBN-13 Audio: 9781455802906
Length: 8 hours 7 minutes (7 CDs)
Disclosure: I was given a copy of the book for committee work and checked out a copy of the audiobook from my public library. This is my honest review!
This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Victor Frankenstein lives a happy life with his family and his twin brother, until his twin falls suddenly ill. Doctors are summoned, but no one knows what truly ails Konrad. In the Dark Library Victor uncovers a mysterious book that claims to have a recipe for the Elixir of Life. To save Konrad, Victor, embarks on a quest that will have him risking both life and limb before it is complete.
Oppel’s writing is amazing. There is an elegance to his text that I haven’t experienced in such a long time. He does a superb job creating mood and giving the reader the full effect of goose bumps and horror!
His characters are well developed. Victor is at time both likeable and detestable. There are moments when you admire his cleverness, and his determination, and then seconds later you see the jealousy and the anger. I loved how Oppel fully fleshed out this character and made him a man whose motivations you could understand, and detest at the same time.
This novel has depth and a lot to talk about. I know I didn’t love Victor, I am not even sure that I like him, but after reading this novel you begin to understand what motivates him. It is an interesting and unique look at the boy who would one day create a monster.
The setting is perfect. Oppel gives you wonderful descriptions of the forests, caves, library, laboratory, and even the city to make you believe you are there.
In many ways this novel is very cinematic, and you find yourself holding your breath. There were parts of this book that haunted me hours after I had read it. On the other hand, there were parts that were predictable. In some ways this predictability worked for the author to remind the reader of Victor’s youth and his naiveté. In other ways it was too predictable.
Audio Book Review:
The audiobook version of this novel is produced by Brilliance audio and read by Luke Daniels. Daniels sounds a little too old to be our narrator, but despite this he excels at the narration. He does a great job with all the voices, and I can’t really imagine anyone else reading this novel as well. Despite my initial concern about him sounding too old, he turned out to be the perfect narrator for this novel. The novel is approximately 8 hours and 7 minutes long and consists of 7 CDs.
Overall this was an interesting book and a chilling tale about the boy who would one day create the Frankenstein monster. You could definitely see his origins in this novel. So you are probably wondering why I gave it the star rating I did? It is as simple as this, while I recognize and admire the quality of the work, I think Oppel may have done too good a job with this novel. It made me cringe, and squirm, and I don’t usually look for novels that make me this uncomfortable. Will I read the sequel? We’ll see. Seriously though, if you want something creepy, and full of suspense, give this one a shot. It is great.
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