This Dark Endeavor (Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein Series #1)

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Overview

Bravery, danger, and intense passion. How does obsession begin?

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 discover secret books of alchemy and ancient remedies. Father forbids them from ever entering the room again, but when Konrad falls gravely ill, ...

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This Dark Endeavor (Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein Series #1)

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Overview

Bravery, danger, and intense passion. How does obsession begin?

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 discover secret books of alchemy and ancient remedies. Father forbids them from ever entering the room again, but when Konrad falls gravely ill, Victor is drawn back to the Dark Library where he uncovers an ancient formula for the Elixir of Life. Victor, along with his beautiful cousin Elizabeth and friend Henry, immediately set out to find a man who was once known for his alchemical works to help them create the formula.
Determined to save Konrad, the three friends scale the highest trees in Strumwald, dive into the deepest lakes, and even make an unthinkable sacrifice in their quest for the elixir’s ingredients. And as if their task was not complicated enough, a new realm of danger—that of illicit love—threatens to end the ordeal in tragedy.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this stylish gothic tale, first in a planned series, teenage Victor Frankenstein makes a desperate attempt to create the forbidden alchemical Elixir of Life, in order to save his beloved twin brother, Konrad, from an untimely death. Aided by his steadfast friend Henry and his adopted sister, Elizabeth, who both twins love to distraction, Victor sets out to acquire the necessary ingredients, scales the tallest tree in the Sturmwald during a lightning storm to acquire a rare and poisonous lichen, later descending into a dangerous Swiss cave in search of the equally rare and even deadlier coelacanth. Victor, already a mad scientist in training, is passionate and easily angered, and Elizabeth makes for a fiery love interest. Written in a readable approximation of early 19th-century style, Oppel's (Half Brother) tale is melodramatic, exciting, disquieting, and intentionally over the top. For the most part, Oppel hews closely to the Frankenstein mythos, and with a delicious mix of science, history, and horror, he peers into the psyche of a young man who is beginning to hunger for greater control over life and death. Ages 12–up. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
“Oppel has reinvented the gothic thriller for modern readers. The narrative crackles with tension, emotions run high, and the atmosphere is perfectly dark and brooding. The Shelleys would be proud. I definitely recommend you check out the book when it's published August 23. I anticipate This Dark Endeavor will get a lot of attention, and rightly so."—Rick Riordan

"Oppel’s novel is a gripping tale of undying devotion, mixing hope with foreboding."—The Horn Book in a STARRED review

“Oppel’s tale is melodramatic, exciting, disquieting…a delicious mix.”—Publisher’s Weekly in a STARRED review

"Brash, jealous, and arrogant, Victor is sweet relief from today’s introspective YA protagonists, and one can easily visualize how this teen becomes the mad genius of Shelley’s Frankenstein."—Booklist

"Oppel grapples with the human duality of animal and soul in ways that recall (but don’t repeat) Shelley’s similar thematic explorations as he revitalizes the classic horror tale for a new generation."—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, STARRED review

This Dark Endeavor may renew interest in Frankenstein, but it also stands alone as an original and welcome addition to the world of young-adult fiction.”—Kelley Armstrong, author of the Darkest Power series

"A dark and dramatic back story for Shelley’s tormented creator."—Kirkus Reviews

"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."—School Library Journal

"The action and suspense begin on page one and let up very little in this excellent work of gothic science fiction."—VOYA

“Adventures do not come more thrilling, gorgeously written or absorbing than this.”

The London Times

A London Times Best Children's Book of 2011:

"Kenneth Oppel's This Dark Endeavour is a captivating Gothic novel.... Books this good are for life, not just Christmas."

"This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Oppel...is a brilliantly layered exploration of what made Victor Frankenstein the man he became.... Victor’s struggle to pit fraternal love against his baser emotions, particularly his animal attraction to their cousin Elizabeth, who loves Konrad, gives a compelling psychological edge to this richly imagined Gothic thriller.—The Telegraph

"Adventures do not come more thrilling, gorgeously written or absorbing than this."—London Times

ALAN Review - Melanie Hundley
Who was Victor Frankenstein BEFORE he created his monster? What was he like as a teen? This Dark Endeavor provides a view into his possible past. Victor and his twin brother Konrad are nearly inseparable; they share a love of adventure. They discover The Dark Library filled with secret books of alchemy and ancient potions. The boys' father forbids them to go into the Library, but that just makes Victor want to go in even more. Then Konrad becomes deathly ill, and Victor tries to save him with the Elixer of Life. The journey to find the ingredients for the Elixer pushes Victor and his friends to the limit of their endurance; their desperation to save Konrad pushes them beyond even that. This novel provides a glimpse into the making of a scientist desperate to unlock the secrets of life; its connections to Frankenstein are thought-provoking in this excellent read. Reviewer: Melanie Hundley
VOYA - Elaine Gass Hirsch
A prequel to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, This Dark Endeavor introduces readers to a teenage Victor Frankenstein as he attempts to save his twin brother, Konrad, from an incurable, debilitating illness. Following the unexpected discovery of a hidden, dark library within the familial Chateau Frankenstein, Victor; his alluring cousin, Elizabeth; and their good friend, Henry, set off on a quest to find the ingredients needed to create the Elixir of Life in order to cure Konrad. The action and suspense begin on page one and let up very little in this excellent work of gothic science fiction. Oppel is the Printz Honor—winning author of Airborn (HarperCollins, 2005/VOYA June 2006) and the award-winning Silverwing Trilogy (Alladin, 1999/VOYA April 1998), and his latest novel is on a path toward critical acclaim as well, with its eerie setting and nuanced main characters. According to the author's website, film rights have already been purchased by the producer of the Twilight films, and a script and director have been selected. This Dark Endeavor should receive a lot of attention and hopefully lead many readers to the literary classic by which it was inspired. Reviewer: Elaine Gass Hirsch
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781455802937
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 8/28/2011
  • Series: Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein Series , #1
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.37 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Kenneth Oppel has published more than fifteen books for children. In 1995, he won the Air Canada Award for the best Canadian writer under the age of thirty. Formerly Books for Young People Editor at Quill & Quire magazine, he now writes full time. He lives in Toronto, Ontario, with his wife and children.

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE
MONSTER

WE FOUND THE MONSTER ON A ROCKY LEDGE HIGH ABOVE the lake. For three dark days my brother and I had tracked it through the maze of caves to its lair on the mountain’s summit. And now we beheld it, curled atop its treasure, its pale fur and scales ablaze with moonlight.

It knew we were there. Doubtless it had smelled us coming, its flared nostrils drinking in our sweat and fear. Its crested head lifted slightly, almost lazily. Coins and jewels clinked and shifted as its body began to uncoil.

“Kill it!” I roared. My sword was in my hand, and my brother was at my side, his own blade flashing.

The speed with which the beast struck was incomprehensible. I tried to throw myself clear, but its muscular neck crashed against my right arm, and I felt the arm break and dangle uselessly at my side. But my sword hand was my left, and with a bellow of pain I slashed at the monster’s chest, my blade deflecting off its mighty ribs.

I was aware of my brother striking at the beast’s lower regions, all the while trying to avoid its lashing barbed tail. The monster came at me again, jaws agape. I battered its head, trying to stab its mouth or eyes, but it was as quick as a cobra. It knocked me sprawling to the stone, so that I was perilously close to the precipice’s edge. The monster reared back, ready to strike, and then it shrieked in pain, for my brother had severed one of its hind legs.

But still the monster faced only me—as if I were its sole adversary.

I pushed myself up with my good hand. Before the monster could strike, I hurled myself at it. This time my sword plunged deep into its chest, so deep I could scarcely wrench it out. A ribbon of dark fluid unfurled in the moonlight, and the monster reared to its full height, terrible to behold, and then crumpled.

Its head shattered on the ground, and there, among the bloodied fur and cracked crest, was the face of a beautiful girl.

My brother came to my side, and together we gazed at her, marveling.

“We’ve broken the curse,” he said to me. “We have saved the town. And we have released her.”

The girl’s eyes opened, and she looked from my brother to me. I knew she didn’t have long to live, and a question burned inside me. I knelt.

“Why?” I asked her. “Why was it only me you attacked?”

“Because it is you,” she whispered, “who is the real monster.”

And with that, she died, leaving me more shaken than I could describe. I staggered back. My brother could not have heard her words—they were spoken so softly—and when he asked me what she’d said, I shook my head.

“Your arm,” he said with concern, steadying me.

“It will heal.” I turned my gaze to the pile of treasure.

“We have more than can ever be spent,” my brother murmured.

I looked at him. “The treasure is mine alone.”

He stared back in astonishment, this brother of mine who looked so much like me, we might have been the same person. And indeed we were, for we were identical twins.

“What do you mean?” he said.

I lifted my sword, put the tip against his throat, and forced him, step by step, toward the edge of the precipice.

“Why should we not share this,” he demanded, “as we’ve shared everything else equally?”

I laughed then, at the lie of it. “No twins are ever completely equal,” I said. “Though we’re of one body, we are not equal, Brother, for you were born the sooner by two minutes. Even in our mother’s womb you stole from me. The family birthright is yours. And such a treasure that is, to make this one look like a pauper’s pittance. But I want it, all of it. And I shall have it.”

At that moment the monster stirred, and in alarm I turned—only to see it making its final death contraction. But in that same instant my brother drew his sword.

“You will not cheat me!” he shouted.

Back and forth across the ledge we fought. We were both strong, with broad shoulders and taut muscles that thrived on exertion. But my brother had always been the better swordsman, and with my broken arm I was even more disadvantaged. But my cold serpent’s resolve was strong, and before long I had smacked the sword from his hand and forced him to his knees. Even as he stared at me with my own face, and pleaded with me in my own voice, I plunged the sword into his heart and stole his life.

I gave a sigh of utter relief and looked up at the moon, felt the cool May air caress my face.

“Now I shall have all the riches in the world,” I said. “And I am, at last, alone.”

For a moment there was only the shushing of the breeze from the glacial lake—and then applause burst forth.

Standing on the broad balcony, I turned to face the audience, which had been watching us from their rows of chairs just inside the ballroom. There was Mother and Father, and their friends, their delighted faces bathed in candlelight.

My brother Konrad sprang to his feet, and together we ran back to the crumpled monster and helped our cousin emerge from her costume. Her luxuriant amber hair spilled free, and her olive complexion glowed in the torchlight. The applause grew louder still. The three of us joined hands and took a bow.

“Henry!” I called. “Join us!” We all three of us waved him out. Reluctantly our best friend, a tall blond wisp of a fellow, emerged from his lurking spot near the French doors. “Ladies and gentleman,” I announced to the audience. “Henry Clerval, our illustrious playwright!”

“Bravo!” cried my father, and his praise was echoed round the room.

“Elizabeth Lavenza as the monster, ladies and gentlemen,” said Konrad with a flourish. Our cousin made a very pretty curtsy. “My name is Konrad. And this”—he looked at me with a mischievous grin—“is the hero of our tale, my evil twin, Victor!”

And now everyone was rising to their feet, to give us a standing ovation.

The applause was intoxicating. Impulsively I jumped up onto the stone balustrade to take another bow, and reached out my hand for Konrad to join me.

“Victor!” I heard my mother call. “Come down from there at once!”

I ignored her. The balustrade was broad and strong, and, after all, it was hardly the first time I had stood on top of it. But I had always done so secretly, for the drop was considerable: fifty feet to the shore of Lake Geneva.

Konrad took my hand, but instead of yielding to my pull he exerted his own, and tried to bring me down. “You’re worrying Mother,” he whispered.

As if Konrad hadn’t played on the balustrade himself!

“Oh, come on,” I said. “Just one bow!”

Our hands were still joined, and I felt his grip tighten, intent on bringing me back to the balcony. And I was suddenly angry at him for being so sensible, for not sharing my joy at the applause—for making me feel like a childish prima donna.

I jerked my hand free, but too fast and too forcefully.

I felt my balance shift. Already weighed down by my heavy cape, I had to take a step backward. Except there was nowhere to step. There was nothing, and suddenly my arms were windmilling. I tried to throw myself forward, but it was all too late, much too late.

I fell. Half turned, I saw the black mountains, and the blacker lake, and directly below me the rocky shore—and my death, rushing up to meet me.

Down I fell toward the jagged shallows.

But I never reached it, for I landed hard upon the narrow roof of a bow window on the château’s lower floor. Pain shrieked from my left foot as I collapsed and then rolled—and my body began to slide over the edge, legs first. My hands scrabbled, but there was nothing to grasp, and I was powerless to stop myself. My hips went over, then chest and head—but at the roof’s very edge was a lip of stone, and it was here that my frenzied hands finally found purchase.

I dangled. With my feet I kicked at the window, but its leaded panes were very strong. Even if I could’ve cracked the glass, I doubted I could swing myself inside from such a position.

More important, I knew I could not hold on for very long.

With all my might I tried to pull myself back up. My head crested the roof, and I managed to hook my chin over the lip of stone. My flexed arms trembled with fatigue, and I could do no more.

Directly above me came a great clamor, and I glimpsed a throng of people peering over the balustrade, their faces ghastly in the torchlight. I saw Elizabeth and Henry, my mother and father—but it was Konrad onto whom my gaze locked. Around one of the balustrade’s posts, he had tied his cloak, so that it hung down like a rope. And then I heard my mother’s shrieks of protest, and my father’s angry shouts, as Konrad swung himself over the top of the balustrade. He grabbed hold of the cloak, and half climbed, half slid, down to its very end.

Even as the strength ebbed from my arms and hands, I watched, enthralled. Konrad’s legs still dangled some six feet from my little roof, and his landing spot was not generous. He glanced down, and let go. He hit the roof standing, teetered off balance—to the gasps of all the onlookers—and then crouched, low and steady.

“Konrad,” I wheezed. I knew I had only seconds left before my muscles failed and my fingers unlocked. He reached out for me.

“No!” I grunted. “I’ll pull you off!”

“Do you wish to die?” he shouted, making to grab my wrists.

“Sit down!” I told him. “Back against the wall. There’s a stone ledge. Brace your feet against it!”

He did as I instructed, then reached for my hands with both of his. I did not know how this could work, for we weighed the same, and gravity was against us.

And yet . . . and yet . . . with our hands grasping the other’s wrists, his legs pushing against the stone ledge, he pulled with all his strength—and then something more still—and lifted me up and over the roof’s edge. I collapsed on top of my twin brother. I was shaking and crying and laughing all at once.

“You fool,” he gasped. “You great fool. You almost died.”

© 2011 Firewing Productions

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 57 )
Rating Distribution

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(33)

4 Star

(13)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 57 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 13, 2012

    A forbidden secret library. Adventure. A love triangle. Suspense

    A forbidden secret library. Adventure. A love triangle. Suspense.
    The quest to find the ingredients to the elixir of life...

    What an amazing prequel to Mary Shelley's classic, Frankenstein -
    Victor is your typical 15 year old teen boy, everything seems to be fun and games until something serious and life-changing happens and Victor must decide if doing the wrong thing is actually the right thing to do.
    He enlists his twin brother, Konrad, their 'distant' cousin, Elizabeth, and family friend, Henry, on an adventure never to be forgotten.
    Yes, there is a bit of a love triangle going on, but it is done so perfectly that you will not lose the pace of the story, nor be distracted by it either.
    There were a few 'gasp-out-loud' moments where I had to will the images out of my head - but I am squeamish, lol, and those who are not, will love every single detail of their journey.

    This is a definite 'buzz-worthy' must read!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2012

    Reply to april 2012 annonymus

    I just wanted to say there is a sequel thank gosh!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2012

    Great but worst ending in the world!

    It was great. It wasnt scary as it sounds really. But the ending is the worst. It is sad and eveything turns out not according ro plan. If theres not a secound book im going to really MAD!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2012

    Loved it

    This book was amazing. I couldn't put it down. I'm a twin too so i could relate to Victor's pain.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2012

    Great Book.

    Kenneth Oppel is a great writer. I have not read a book like this in a while. You will not be disappointed if you buy this book.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Such adventure and excitement throughout the whole thing!

    I got sucked in from the first chapter and read this book in 2 days..... thats with a full time job and a boyfriend.... I love this twist on a classic tale. There was such adventure and excitement throughout the whole thing. It ends with an unspoken promise of a next book where we might find out more! Hope there is a next one and don't think I can wait until it come out!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2013

    Anonymous

    Best book I've read so far

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2013

    .

    .

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 3, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I love different takes on characters and stories that we've know

    I love different takes on characters and stories that we've known and loved for ages. This Dark Endeavour could be a novel that merely rides on the coattails of Mary Shelley's classic tale, Frankenstein, but it is a great story in its own right.

    Victor and Konrad Frankenstein are twins with a complicated relationship. They are both brilliant, clever, fun, gregarious and adventurous. Their differences are what separates them, however, and add an air of competition to their usually loving and close relationship.

    Elizabeth is a childhood friend that is forever caught between the two and becomes willingly involved in their adventures. Naturally, both brothers find themselves enamored of her and the divide between them escalates.

    The love triangle is not the crux of the story, however, the trio discover forbidden documents, brave fatal illnesses, hunt in the farthest reaches of the land for potion ingredients, are betrayed, betray each other, and suffer terrible losses in the course of this story.

    This Dark Endeavour takes place several years before the tale of Victor Frankenstein that we already know. I loved peeking into this part of his young adulthood and knowing the tortured man he will ultimately become.

    The beginning is enjoyable and all about the setup, but the last half is the part of This Dark Endeavour that will make you a true fan. The pace is breakneck and the twist and turns abound. After the last page was turned, I found myself with my mouth hanging open and my heart in my throat.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2012

    The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein

    In all of my reading I have rarely come across a character that I considered to be more cruel, that I have held in more disdain; that I genuinely felt true dislike for than that of Mary Shelley's mad scientist, Victor Frankenstien. What I felt was most evil about Victor was his single minded sense of purpose and rightousness that had it been forged in religon and not science, would have made him a prime candidate for one of the Spanish Inquisitors.
    Arrogance, self-rightousness and a undeniable belief that he is owed by the world for his place of privilege and education all to come to bear in Kenneth Opel's The Dark Endeavor.
    Though he is the main character, rivaled only by his cousin Elizabeth who would become his betrothed in Frankenstein, he is immensely unlikable and all his intentions; though they bring about some good are self-centered and self serving. Yet you will follow him anyway.
    You want Victor to succeed in some hope that he may learn a moral lesson from his trials but in the end all it does is fuel his own sense of superiority. In this the novel is greatly entertaining for we are voyuers into the development of the madman who would become the creator of the Monster. The young boy who would become the man who would play God.
    Good Gothic fun!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2012

    Completely Wonderful

    I loved this book. Is there more to come?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2011

    great book!!!

    this book was one of the best books i've read in a long time! although it's sad its still AMAZING!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 13, 2011

    READ THIS BOOK!

    This book is a "can't put it down -read the night through-husband and kids were jealous " kind of book. Don't read when you have to get up early the next morning! You will want to read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein all over again....

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 24, 2013

    In a unique twist on the traditional Frankenstein story, Kenneth

    In a unique twist on the traditional Frankenstein story, Kenneth Oppel offers a story about a teenaged Victor Frankenstein and his identical twin brother, Konrad. They have grown up in Geneva and enjoy a privileged life as the sons of the republic’s magistrate. However, their lives change when Konrad falls ill with a mysterious sickness that no doctor can cure. Victor vows to do whatever it takes to heal his brother, and this intent leads him—along with his distant cousin, Elizabeth, and their lifelong friend, Henry—on a dangerous quest rooted in alchemy. Victor discovers some harsh truths about his own heritage and, more importantly, about himself as his search for the Elixir of Life coincides with the awakening of his teenage passion and first love. If he does nothing, his brother may die, but if he pursues the mystical science of alchemy, he might be putting both himself and his brother in mortal peril.

    The first third of the novel sets up the story, and the ensuing plotline follows at a rapid and exciting pace that make this book difficult to put down. It is perhaps best to view this as a stand-alone take on Frankenstein rather than a prequel, as the publisher suggests, because although there are dark echoes and foreshadowings that hearken back to Mary Shelley’s classic, “This Dark Endeavor” truly explores what could have happened if Victor Frankenstein’s obsession began as a young man and does not necessarily match up with the classic novel. Thus readers may be disappointed or disenchanted if they try to read it as a continuation or a beginning of the original Frankenstein. Oppel’s book deserves to be read as its own original interpretation of a passionate and deluded amateur scientist.

    What is most striking is that at its core this story is a romance and an exploration of where passion leads even the most respected of people. While there is no profanity, vulgarity, or overt sexuality present, there are strong undertones of lust, and only older and more mature young adults should embark on this adventure. In addition, be forewarned that the story is quite dark—hence the apt title—and that there are situations that are not for the faint of heart. Flirting with fantasy, “This Dark Endeavor” takes readers on a thrilling journey through early scientific and medical enterprises that test the mettle of the young protagonists and of the readers themselves. The story does conclude, but there is a definitive “to be continued” air about the last chapter that leads into book two, “Such Wicked Intent.”

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2013

    one word. Awesome!

    I read the book at least 20 times. I believe that there is something on this earth that you desire more than anything, and it isn't me. I totally love it!

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  • Posted July 22, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The beginning was a bit slow but when the pace finally picked up

    The beginning was a bit slow but when the pace finally picked up, I couldn't stop listening.  The narrator does an excellent job of differentiating the voices of the twins, Victor and Konrad Frankenstein.  Although Victor is most of the time not the most likeable of characters, he is true to his brother, going to great lengths to find three objects that might help save Konrad.  Horror, intrigue, and ghastliness await the reader/listener.  This book turned out to be much more of a treat than I'd expected.

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  • Posted May 11, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I have not read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, but after reading T

    I have not read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, but after reading This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, I have now added it to my growing list of books I want to read. This Dark Endeavor is the story of young Victor Frankenstein. It is a dark and intriguing story of family, love, and science. Victor, his twin brother Konrad, their cousin Elizabeth, and friend Henry are a lively and adventurous group. They discover a secret library within their home which includes books of alchemy and other dark and mysterious titles. They are forbidden by their father to ever go back to the library which makes it all the more enticing to Victor. When Konrad falls ill with a mysterious illness, Victor will go to great lengths to find a cure. He goes against his father's wishes and returns to The Dark Library in search of a possible cure. Victor finds a book that includes a recipe for the Elixir of Life, a mixture he believes will save Konrad's life. Victor, his cousin Elizabeth, and his friend Henry secretly set out to find an old alchemist who they believe can help them create the Elixir. Alchemy has been banned and its use is punishable by law if caught. When they find the alchemist, he begins to translate the book and tells them about the ingredients they need to find and where to get them. The three friends head out on a dangerous journey to find the ingredients to make the Elixir and struggle with believing in the Elixir or the hope of what medicine can do to help Konrad. As the others begin to doubt the value of the Elixir, Victor continues to believe that it will save his brother's life and will go to extreme lengths to prove it. A love triangle between Victor, Konrad, and Elizabeth adds a bit of romance to the story as well, and Victor struggles with his loyalty to his brother and his growing feelings for Elizabeth. Even though Victor's motives often do not seem pure as he has a dark edge to his character, you want to root for him because you see his other side where he will do anything for those he loves. Once I started this book, I couldn't put it down. It has a bit of everything in the story and kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved the characters, and the story is well written.

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  • Posted April 29, 2013

    What an amazing book and an amazing author! I went into this boo

    What an amazing book and an amazing author! I went into this book thinking that it was going to be like a Frankenstein movie, you know, "It's alive!" (in my best Frankenstein movie voice) and all that. But this was a very refreshing and adventurous story of a young man of sixteen who seeks out alchemy to help his sick and dying twin brother. A very refreshing take on an old classic.

    The author had a way of telling this story so well that you would believe that you were the one actually living it, and the way he used the dialect made you actually hear the accents as you were reading.

    The characters were quite likable, and I found myself feeling pity for Polidori, the crippled apothecary. I did cry a few light tears while reading this, which was unexpected, to say the least, and the outcome of this book was not expected, however, at the same time, it was. The backdrop of the story was incredible, I have always been fascinated with Geneva and it's history for some reason.

    When reading this, I found myself amazed with Victor, the younger of the twins. He had such strength and passion for what he was setting out to do that I think drove the other characters, Elizabeth and Henry. And Elizabeth was not the squeamish, ordinary type of girl you find in historical novels, which was refreshing.

    I cannot wait to read the second book in the series, Such Wicked Intent, to see what is in store for Victor and Elizabeth.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2013

    Great book (spoiler)

    Ok. The ending is horrible but i love the whole story. The suky part is the very ending konrad dies after drinking the elixer of life. BTW a few days aftr he drinks it. I still love the book and cant wait to read the second book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2013

    AWESOME!!

    I really liked this book! One of my favorites.

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