Hello, today I will be reviewing The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten
White! This is actually the first book that I have read from her, and it is fair to say that I loved it. The relationship I had with this book was actually kind of weird because I went in expecting one thing, and got something else entirely, but still loved it regardless. Let me know how you feel about this book in the comments once you read my review, and if you think it is different from what you thought it would be like!
Hardcover release: September 25, 2018
Hardcover page count: 304
My rating: 5/5 stars
Ever since she was young, Elizabeth has been in the care of the Frankenstein family. Sold by a woman who beat and starved her, Elizabeth knows she will be returned to her horrid existence if she fails at her task: becoming the friend of the solitary and strange Victor Frankenstein. And she succeeds, soon becoming his closest friend and is forever glued by his side. But as the years pass, Elizabeth’s survival depends on her ability to manage Victor’s temper and satisfy his every whim, no matter the price.
This book was not at all what I was expecting but was still very interesting. Diving into it, the reader expects to be taken through the life of Elizabeth as she grows up but, they are actually brought in when Elizabeth is older and in the middle of looking for Victor. But this does not mean that you never get to see their relationship as it grows. The author shows glimpses of the past several times throughout the book, allowing the reader to watch their growing relationship while growing uneasy as they see the disturbing actions of Victor as a young boy. Including these bits of the past also worked great in building Elizabeth’s character. Though it might be revealing too much to say exactly what happened in these flashbacks, I loved how much insight they gave into Elizabeth. The reader is able to see exactly what motivations she has and why she makes the decisions she does.
Another amazing part of this part was the setting. Set in an 19th century Europe, the author took us through many of the places characters go to in Frankenstein. Through the murky slums of Ingolstadt to the vast mansion Geneva and the harsh winters of Northern Russia, the reader in instantly immersed in the scenery flowing from the author’s pen. Reading the book, I felt shivers down my spine as the characters as they went through each of the locations. These places were also true to the original book which I thought was pretty cool.
Lastly, the main part of the book that I enjoyed the most was the tone. Dark and mysterious throughout the book, it rang true to the original insanity that was such a big part of the classic. Elizabeth, for example, constantly ignores the evils of Victor in order to stay with him and live a peaceful life. Even when he cuts open animals to examine them, she doesn’t say a thing so he can remain happy. I enjoyed parts of the book that discuss this because it almost felt like a psychological analysis of the character of Elizabeth. As I said, this was only one example of it, but as we see Elizabeth do crazy things at great lengths just to please Victor, we are able to see more of her psyche then we were able to in Frankenstein. Originally, Shelly wrote her as more of a side character in love with Victor. But in this book, we are able to dive further into what makes her, her. There was even a mention later on about how Victor kept a diary where he wrote his own version of the events that happened between him and Elizabeth. Readers who have read the original will be happy about this because it connects the two works in a whole new way.
If you love dark, psychological thrillers, this book is for you. For those who have never read Frankenstein, no worries because you need no prior knowledge in order to read this. Much like how the Penelopiad was too the Odyssey, The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein is to Frankenstein. It brings to light the woman’s part of the story that is often given less attention too in great works like this. I would recommend this book for readers 13/14 and up because of numerous mentions of maiming and violence throughout the book.
I hope that you enjoyed this review! I loved this book so much despite how I originally did not. I also loved how this is a retelling of a story that is not really retold, and how it was from Elizabeth's perspective instead of Victor's.
Are there any books that you would like me to review? If so, let me know in the comments below!
Until next time!
Original Review Posted on: http://teenreaderscouncil.blogspot.com/2018/09/review-dark-descent-of-elizabeth.html
Welcome to the Book Enigma! I review different genres of books from young adult fiction to sci-fi. Enjoy!
Aspiring author who, along with reading YA and with other genres, also fosters kittens, and play the piano and cello!
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