April 29, 2013

Review: This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel

Title: This Dark Endeavor
Author: Kenneth Oppel
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: YA, Historical, Fantasy
Release Date: Aug 23, 2011
Source: RAK
Purchase: TBD | Amazon

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. 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 be 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. Elizabeth, Henry, and Victor 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 Konrads life. After 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.

What an amazing book and an amazing author! I went into this book thinking that it was going to be like a Frankenstein movie, you know, "It's alive!" (in my best Frankenstein movie voice) and all that. But this was a very refreshing and adventurous story of a young man of sixteen who seeks out alchemy to help his sick and dying twin brother. A very refreshing take on an old classic.

The author had a way of telling this story so well that you would believe that you were the one actually living it, and the way he used the dialect made you actually hear the accents as you were reading.

The characters were quite likable, and I found myself feeling pity for Polidori, the crippled apothecary. I did cry a few light tears while reading this, which was unexpected, to say the least, and the outcome of this book was not expected, however, at the same time, it was. The backdrop of the story was incredible, I have always been fascinated with Geneva and it's history for some reason.

When reading this, I found myself amazed with Victor, the younger of the twins. He had such strength and passion for what he was setting out to do that I think drove the other characters, Elizabeth and Henry. And Elizabeth was not the squeamish, ordinary type of girl you find in historical novels, which was refreshing.

I cannot wait to read the second book in the series, Such Wicked Intent, to see what is in store for Victor and Elizabeth.


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