This Dark Endeavor
2011 Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
ISBN – 9781442403154
Genre – Historical Fiction
Age – High School
Victor and Konrad Frankenstein are twins, and best of friends. Victor is impulsive, passionate and sometimes reckless, while Konrad is level-headed, and practical. They often share their life adventures with distant cousin Elizabeth, and longtime friend Henry. All is going well, until Konrad suddenly falls ill. Doctor after doctor is brought in to see him, but none are able to cure him. Meanwhile in his explorations, Victor finds the recipe for the elixir of life in the off limits dark library. Will he be able to find all of the ingredients necessary to save his brother’s life?
This book is fun, suspenseful, and fast-paced. All of that even before you realize that it is the prequel to Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein.” It is quite amusing to think of and then read about what made Dr. Frankenstein as eccentric as he was later in life. I really enjoyed the historical setting that Oppel built and I loved reading about the study of Alchemy and traditional medicine of the times. The teens set off on multiple adventures each more risky than the last. At certain points in the book I actually forgot that I was supposed to be worrying about Konrad! I was told that this book would be a good match for those who enjoyed The Monstrumologist series, which I did. Although it is not quite as good, I do agree with the statement. It has the historical aspect, the mystery, adventure, and the slightest bit of humor. All in all, a pretty great read!