Review: This Dark Endeavor (The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein #1) - Kenneth Oppel

Release Date: August 23, 2011
Published By:
Harper Collins
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Rating: 3 out of 5

Synopsis: 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 piques 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.

Review: To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect when I purchased the audiobook version of This Dark Endeavour (From I knew it was based on a young Victor Frankenstein and that was about it. Sometimes it’s a good thing going into a book with no expectations and just seeing the adventure you’re taken on.

I was very pleasantly surprised with this read! The story itself is about Victor Frankenstein, his twin brother Konrad, Elizabeth (who ends up being the love interest to both brothers) and their cowardly but pretty cute friend Henry.

I enjoyed this book for two main reasons:

1) The adventure aspect of the book. The teenagers find a mysterious dark library filled with forbidden books. Konrad falls deathly ill, and it’s up to Victor, Elizabeth and Henry to try and save Konrad by finding ingredients to a potion of sorts that is going to save Konrad’s life. In order to put the elixir of life together, they seek out an alchemist in Julian Polidori to help them. During their mission to find these ingredients, the teens put their lives at risk on several occasions all in the name of saving Konrad.

2) The love triangle. Sigh. I am a bit of a sucker for a good love triangle. And I kinda love a bit of unrequited love at times also. This book had both. Konrad and Elizabeth are in love. The trouble is, Victor also loves Elizabeth, and knowing that his brother and Elizabeth are together is not going to stop him. He will try and be with her at all costs.

Overall, the characters themselves were quite endearing and likeable. There was an awesome villain appearance at some point in the book also, which regular readers will know I (deep down) love every now and then. And there’s also a pretty huge twist to be had at some point in this book too. Certainly had me reeling when I had finished the book - and I’ve now rushed out to buy the sequel to find out what happens! Very entertaining read.


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