This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein

By: Kenneth Oppel

Fifteen-year-old Victor Frankenstein has uncovered the recipe for the Elixir of Life. Can he find its ingredients in time to save his dying twin brother?

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ISBN: 9781442403154

JLG Release: Sep 2011


Sensitive Areas: Fighting
Topics: Twins , Brothers , Love triangles , Alchemy , Victor Frankenstein , Geneva (Republic) , Eighteenth-century history

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Awards & Honors

YALSA 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults; YALSA Readers' Choice Nomination 2012, Horror/Thriller

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist, The Horn Book Magazine*, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal

School Library Journal

When Konrad Frankenstein, the beloved twin brother of headstrong, quick-tempered Victor, falls inexplicably and deathly ill, Victor embarks on a dark quest to find a cure. Enlisting the help of his cousin/adopted sister, Elizabeth, and his best friend, Henry Clerval, he seeks a disreputable alchemist named Polidori who sends them to retrieve the in When Konrad Frankenstein, the beloved twin brother of headstrong, quick-tempered Victor, falls inexplicably and deathly ill, Victor embarks on a dark quest to find a cure. Enlisting the help of his cousin/adopted sister, Elizabeth, and his best friend, Henry Clerval, he seeks a disreputable alchemist named Polidori who sends them to retrieve the ingredients for a potion that will supposedly restore Konrad’s health. However, the potion also has a history of killing those who drink it. Despite the ambiguous nature of the remedy, Victor feverishly follows his course, pulling himself, Henry, and Elizabeth into greater danger with each relentless step. Sharp readers will find allusions to Mary Shelley, her literary circle, and classic horror films; for those simply wanting a good story with plenty of action, this book will not disappoint. Many details remain the same as in the original work; for instance, Victor’s arrogant desire to overcome the power of illness and death makes him a slightly unlikable protagonist. But here’s a sign of a good storyteller: readers may not like Victor, but they will certainly want to find out what happens to him.—Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO

Horn Book

[STAR]
Konrad and Victor Frankenstein, sixteen-year-old identical twin brothers and best friends, live with their family in a chateau just outside of Geneva in the late 1700s. Konrad is sensible and charming, whereas Victor is rash, headstrong, and arrogant. When Konrad contracts a mysterious illness the doctors are unable to cure, Vict
[STAR]
Konrad and Victor Frankenstein, sixteen-year-old identical twin brothers and best friends, live with their family in a chateau just outside of Geneva in the late 1700s. Konrad is sensible and charming, whereas Victor is rash, headstrong, and arrogant. When Konrad contracts a mysterious illness the doctors are unable to cure, Victor, their cousin Elizabeth Lavenza, and their close friend Henry Clerval search for an answer in the Dark Library, a secret room inside the chateau where they discover alchemist Cornelius Agrippa’s Elixir of Life recipe. In a race against Konrad’s failing health, the three friends repeatedly risk their own lives to track down the elixir’s ingredients. Secrecy, a love triangle, and ultimately deception complicate this dangerous quest, but as Oppel makes hauntingly clear, it is Victor’s intense desire to save Konrad’s life, no matter the cost, that propels the novel’s action. As a prequel to Mary Shelley’s gothic classic Frankenstein, this is both meticulously researched and highly original, with the invention of Konrad providing a provocative backstory. The story continually hints at how the brothers’ personality differences and Konrad’s illness will inevitably lead Victor down the dark path that consumes his adult life. Written from Victor’s perspective and filled with his believable internal moral struggles, Oppel’s novel is a gripping tale of undying devotion, mixing hope with foreboding.

Book Details

ISBN

9781442403154

First Release

September 2011

Genre

Dewey Classification

Fiction

Trim Size

5 1/2" x 8 1/4"

Page Count

304

Accelerated Reader

Level 4.9; Points: 11;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 4.3; Points: 19;

Lexile

Level 690L

Format

Print Book

Edition

-

Publisher

Simon & Schuster

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Fighting

Topics

Twins, Brothers, Love triangles, Alchemy, Victor Frankenstein, Geneva (Republic), Eighteenth-century history,

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