Rummanah Aasi
  Are you looking for a gothic,ghostly read that isn't overly scary for you? Then I would suggest picking up Kenneth Oppel's new series called the Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, which is a re-imagined origin story of Shelly's anti-hero. Such Wicked Intent is the perfect read for this Halloween season.

Description (from the publisher): When does obsession become madness? Tragedy has forced sixteen-year-old Victor Frankenstein to swear off alchemy forever. He burns the Dark Library. He vows he will never dabble in the dark sciences again—just as he vows he will no longer covet Elizabeth, his brother’s betrothed. If only these things were not so tempting.

When he and Elizabeth discover a portal into the spirit world, they cannot resist. Together with Victor’s twin, Konrad, and their friend Henry, the four venture into a place of infinite possibilities where power and passion reign. But as they search for the knowledge to raise the dead, they unknowingly unlock a darkness from which they may never return.

Review: Such Wicked Intent begins three weeks after the events of This Dark Endeavor took place. We find Victor and his family in mourning for their terrible loss. He rejects alchemy and complies with his father to burn down the Dark Library where he first heard of the Elixir of life. All of the books in the library burn with the exception of one. Soon visits to a spirit world and discovery of an ancient text on the wall of a cavern beneath the chateau revive Victor’s hopes, leading him to attempt creation of a replica body for Konrad’s spirit to inhabit. Of course the traveling back and forth from the spirit world has consequences, but that doesn't stop Victor's obsession nor does it quell Elizabeth's yearning to hold her fiance once again.
  This Dark Endeavor presented us with a love-triangle with Konrad and Victor pitted against one another for their affections for Elizabeth. Such Wicked Intent now turns the triangle into a square by adding another pursuer of Elizabeth's heart which complicates matters, as does Victor’s growing obsession with power. How far is he willing to go to bring his brother back to life? Does he really want to re-animate his brother? And for whom? What else could he learn from the spirit world? Oppel fleshes out these questions through Victor’s internal moral quandaries and continued scheming.
  I loved the vivid descriptive language found in the book and the further character development of the main characters. I like how Oppel uses Elizabeth, the symbol of passivity as well as Victorian female virtue in the original novel, as a three dimensional person who has her own selfish desires despite her tireless efforts to stay true to societal's conventions in his story. The conflict of interests among all of the characters keep the narrative intense and engaging. The reoccurring theme of science versus religion is done very well without being too heavy handed. While the dark supernatural powers and the back-and-forth travel to the spirit world aren't necessarily plausible, however, Oppel's great storytelling skills doesn't make us seem to notice. Plus, there isn't really much of an explanation in the original Frankenstein of what mixture of science and magic Victor exactly used to create his monster.
  Though Victor learns an important lesson at the end of this book, there is still the curiosity and the drive to see how far humans can go with science in the back of his mind that is not only very chilling but in a morbid way excites us to learn what boundaries he will cross next.

Curriculum Connection: Use to accompany the original novel.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: Mild PG language, an attempt at sexual assault, and some disturbing images. Recommended for strong Grades 6 and up particularly for those who enjoy historical fiction, horror, and adventure with a minor romance subplot.

If you like this book try: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Death Note manga series by Tsugumi Oba, Clay by David Almond, Prodigal son by Dean Kootz (an adult book with YA appeal)
8 Responses
  1. This is the second Frankenstein related review I've read today. I've never read the original. Maybe I'd be more interesting in the story if I'd actually read Shelley's book.


  2. Jenny Says:

    Okay, I skimmed this review because I have yet to read book one, but I've heard great things about this series. Based on my skimming, it seems like this book avoids some of the pitfalls of a sequel, and that's definitely making me want to give these books a try! Glad you enjoyed it Rummanah!


  3. I must be honest here and admit that all these love interests worry me a bit, but I'm willing to forgive almost anything if the writing is good enough, and this one sounds beautifully descriptive, just the way I like it. I've been looking something that can get me in that weird, atmospheric mood Amanda Stevens manages without effort, but so far I haven't had any luck. Perhaps this will be it.


  4. M.A.D. Says:

    The original Frankenstein struck me as rather sad, overall - but as I would still enjoy reading this I've also skimmed the review lol

    Must say - that cover is eye-catchingly gorgeous!


  5. I still need and want to read the first one and now I know I must! This sounds like a great book for me. I like the sound of this one and it is just complex enough for me to enjoy it. I am glad it didn't lose that being YA.


  6. mobb Says:

    this is really interesting=)


  7. "Are you looking for a gothic,ghostly read that isn't overly scary for you?" Uh yes, please :)

    I kind of skimmed this review just because I haven't read the first book but it sounds like this one is just as good. Looking forward to reading this series soon, Rummanah!


  8. Candace Says:

    Hmmm... I remember seeing reviews for the first book and it got my attention because of the description mostly because I think yours is the most positive review I have seen. Sounds like I need to look for the first book at the library!


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