Review: This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel

This Dark EndeavorThis Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel
Read: June 25 – June 30, 2013
Personal read.

Goodreads Book Blurb: 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 Konrad’s 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.

My Opinion: I should preface this by saying that I have not read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It is on my TBR pile, but it gets pushed down because of my minor fear of classics. I think it is safe to say that everyone knows the basics of the story, though. Except that Frankenstein was not the monster. But I digress.

I was really interested in this series when I saw the second book advertised. A young adult prequel to Frankenstein? I really liked Oppel’s Silverwing series when I was younger, so I thought I would give this a try, and requested it from my library.

Either I am not remembering Silverwing very clearly, Oppel’s writing has changed significantly, or I had much lower standards back then. While there was nothing glaringly horrible about This Dark Endeavor, neither was there anything that really grabbed me and made me love the book.

I really didn’t like how Victor and Konrad were written. I don’t have a twin, and I get annoyed with the way twins are portrayed in literature. It seems like there is always one good twin. There is always rivalry. There is always some super awesome twin-ness. Twins are normal people, and just once I would like to see them written that way!

Aside from the twin things, Victor was just a little too… off. I really don’t mind darker characters, and I know this is a setup for not only Oppel’s other works in the novel’s world, but also Mary Shelley’s character. Again, not having read the actual classic Frankenstein, I don’t know if Oppel’s Victor is anything like Mary Shelley’s.

The plot of This Dark Endeavor was predictable, and contained a love triangle (with cousins, which I think was just done for shock value) that had no real need to be there.

Bottom Line: This book did not grab me, nor did it inspire me to read the original Frankenstein. I will probably pass on the sequel.

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4 thoughts on “Review: This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel

  1. Please, PLEASE read Frankenstein. It is one of my favourite books of all time, and is seriously amazing.
    I picked up this novel, and DNFd at after about two chapters. It is nothing like Frankenstein, so please don’t let it affect your decision to read one of the greatest books ever.

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