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

Posted by on August 6, 2012
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

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  1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

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