This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein by Kenneth Oppel. A YA, slightly steampunk retelling of Frankenstein. By all accounts, 16-year-old Victor Frankenstein is handsome, clever, and athletic. But not as clever and athletic (and kind) as his twin brother Konrad. So Victor has an inferiority complex, which often makes him reckless and stubborn. But he’s also brave and loyal, so when Konrad falls ill and the local doctor has no idea what to do (besides applying leeches, of course), Victor teams up with Elizabeth (an orphaned, distant relation brought to live in Chateau Frankenstein when she and the boys were young), and Henry (a timid, poetry inclined friend) to use forbidden alchemical knowledge to find a cure. Will they find the cure in time? Will they be betrayed by the people they trust? Will they be pecked to death by vultures? Tune in to find out!
I’ve never actually read Frankenstein (it’s up after Such Wicked Intent, the sequel to This Dark Endeavor) so I have no idea if it covers any backstory. It’s a fairly short book though, so I imagine the creating the monster, monster roaming free, monster wanting love, mob mob mob, takes up most of the space. This Dark Endeavor covers the backstory in a chilling, slightly horrifying, sometimes funny, often exciting, and always engaging way.
Kenneth Oppel is BRILLIANT at creating believable, sympathetic characters who don’t stray in to Mary Sue territory. He creates realistic characters and relationships, making it much easier to get involved in the story and suspend disbelief when whacky stuff is going on. And there are a couple of things that strain credibility. But overall it’s a lovely, fun book and I’m really looking forward to the sequel.
Please to note, I “read” the audibook version of This Dark Endeavor. I have no complaints about the reader and that’s really saying something. I am a picky, picky bitch when it comes audiobook readers. I once wanted to track down and stab a reader for the way he said “sloth.” So take my word that this is an enjoyable audiobook experience.