A Feast of Rich Prose: This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel

This Dark Endeavor
This Dark Endeavor
Kenneth Oppel
304 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: August 23rd, 2011
Source: Hardcover from Publisher

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.

   Kenneth Oppel’s This Dark Endeavor is a feast of rich prose and lush descriptions. With an air of history, science, and ancient crafts, this prequel to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is one to be read.

   Young Victor Frankenstein lives a perfect life – with the exception of forever being in the shadow of his twin, Konrad. But when Konrad falls ill, Victor is far from happy to be in the spotlight. And when not even the most famous of doctors can cure his best friend and brother, Victor turns to alchemy. Or, as the country of Geneva has put it, witchcraft.

   Victor was flawed. Flawed in his heart and in his actions. He scarcely had control over his actions and a passion to do before he thinks. With the help of his beautiful cousin Elizabeth and his good friend Henry, they set off to find a cure to Konrad’s illness before they lose him forever.

   Though This Dark Endeavor is in no way a classic, it certainly portrays a classical air that leaves you savoring every sentence and dialogue. The writing is flowing and historic. And while the plot is full of gloom and doom, Kenneth Oppel found a way to make his readers laugh as well. Narrated from a male’s point of view, the novel will appeal to readers of both genders and the most reluctant of readers.

   This Dark Endeavor is an adventure from the start. And at times, the pages can’t be flipped fast enough. It’s not just a story of adventure. It’s a story of finding one’s self, believing in one’s self, and the ties will forever bind us to one another.

   In short, This Dark Endeavor is beautiful.

Find Kenneth on Twitter | Website | Goodreads


Hafsah Faizal is a YA author, designer, and blogger. Her designs have graced the sites of New York Times bestselling authors, bloggers, and more. She resides in Texas, with her family.



  1. Reply


    August 6, 2012

    I love a good adventure and I remember Pushy reading these books and really liking it :))

  2. Reply

    beth dean

    August 6, 2012

    I seriously cannot wait to read this! So excited for the prequel to Frankenstein (my secret obsession). Thanks for giving me an idea of what to expect :)


  3. Reply


    August 6, 2012

    I adore books with phenomenal writing and thorough descriptions so I think I may need to break out my copy of this one! :D Thank you for the review, Hafsah!

  4. Reply

    Rummanah Aasi

    August 6, 2012

    I really liked this book and was pleasantly surprised how well it worked as a prequel to Frankenstein. Writing a prequel to an already classic and well known book isn't easy. I'm really looking forward to the next book!

  5. Reply

    Katie @ BlookGirl

    August 6, 2012

    What a wonderful review! I've been curious about this one for some time and am glad to hear that you enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Hafsah :-)

  6. Reply

    Katie @ BlookGirl

    August 7, 2012

    Update: I just found out that Kenneth will be here next month for a signing! Squee! :-)

  7. Reply

    Dazzling Mage

    August 7, 2012

    I saw this in a bookstore once, and now I'm kicking myself for not picking it up. So going to do that when I see it next time!

    Great review!

  8. Reply

    Danielle West

    August 11, 2012

    This sounds amazing! I love the idea of this. Will definitely put this on my list.

  9. Reply

    Sierra Abrams

    August 11, 2012

    I'm soooo glad you liked this one! I felt the same way – not a favorite, but definitely wonderful. I can't wait for Such Wicked Intent! :D

  10. Reply

    Courtney N.

    October 3, 2012

    I remember reading Kenneth Oppel's Silverwing series when I was younger. I definitely need to read this!

  11. Reply

    Chi Kittie

    October 17, 2012

    I just bought this book from Amazon and will be reading it soon. Your review was a great way to know what to expect. ;)

    – Beckie

  12. Reply


    November 22, 2012

    This sounds like a great read. I'm really intrigued and if you say the prose is good, then I really want to read it. I'm a sucker for those!

  13. Reply

    Alyssa Susanna

    February 6, 2013

    Hmmm, I've heard some good and bad things about this book! I passed it in the bookstore the other day, and didn't really like the sound of it. I may have even read the end just to see if there was something that stuck out to me – and I wasn't extremely impressed. Nevertheless, I may come back to this series! Great review!