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Book Review: This Dark Endeavour by Kenneth Oppel

This Dark Endeavour
Title: This Dark Endeavour
Author: Kenneth Oppel
Series: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein #1
Pages: 352
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Date of Publication: 6th October 2011
Source: Publisher
Synopsis from Goodreads: The purest intentions can stir up the darkest obsessions.In this prequel to Mary Shelley’s gothic classic, Frankenstein, 16-year-old Victor Frankenstein begins a dark journey that will change his life forever. Victor’s twin, Konrad, has fallen ill, and no doctor is able to cure him. Unwilling to give up on his brother, Victor enlists his beautiful cousin Elizabeth and best friend Henry on a treacherous search for the ingredients to create the forbidden Elixir of Life. Impossible odds, dangerous alchemy and a bitter love triangle threaten their quest at every turn.Victor knows he must not fail. But his success depends on how far he is willing to push the boundaries of nature, science, and love – and how much he is willing to sacrifice.

My Thoughts:
I had no idea what to expect with this book. We read Frankenstein in Year 7 at school, and I quite liked it (I'll say it was definitely one of the better books we read in school), so when I heard about this, I thought I might give it a go, see how it was. And then when I actually got it, I put it off and put it off, and I have no idea why. Anyway, I finally read it, and it was OK. It was not the best book I've ever read, but not the worst, either. There were lots of good bits, and then there were parts which I didn't like so much.

The best thing about this book for me were the characters, especially Victor. I thought their relationships felt very real and while reading it was obvious that Victor was a teenager. Just the way he thought and the things he did screamed teenager at me. Especially when Victor was discovering his feelings about Elizabeth - I felt I could relate to him, in his not quite knowing what he thinks of the people around him (not because that's how I feel, just because I can imagine feeling like that in that situation, if you know what I mean). I think that his jealousy for his brother, and his eagerness to cure him, and the way he goes about doing it without a second thought, just seemed so real and believable to me. He was definitely my favourite character, and he was a great lead to the book.

Another thing I really liked was the way that it felt very true to the time period it was set in. There were the obvious clues, like the candles instead of torches, but then there were subtle differences like the language they use, and the way that alchemy was seen as witchcraft, that really made me feel as if I was reading about the past, and I really liked that. Sometimes for me, books can seem like they've been set in the past for no reason - they read just like a modern book with modern characters, just set 200 years ago...

But, as you may be able to tell, overall I had mixed feelings about the book. At the beginning, I quite liked it, and I managed to read quickly and I found it interesting. However, for me, it was just one of those books that hold your interest for a while, but then as you read on, you find yourself not caring about what happens anymore, you just want it to finish. Whether this was because the story wasn't interesting enough for me, or the writing wasn't great, or just that at that moment in time I simply did not want to be reading this, I have no idea. Either way, I had to skim read the last third of the book. There was no way I would have been able to finish otherwise. And I know, that's so bad, but I skimmed it so that I understood everything that was going on, and I promise I didn't skip any parts... Skimming it meant that I could just read the most important parts of the story and not get bogged down by little pieces of information that I didn't need to know about.

To me, this book read more like a middle grade book than a young adult one. I think it was because the plot was incredibly simple, and I was just looking for more. More depth, more thought, more twists. Nothing really surprised me in the book, and some of the things that happened just seemed like there could have been a lot more to it. Also, from the cover and the synopsis, and having read Frankenstein, I expected it to be a lot darker than it actually was. And while this wasn't necessarily a bad thing, I was kind of disappointed because I was looking forward to reading a dark and gritty novel, and it not being there kind of took something away from the plot for me...

This Dark Endeavour, overall, was just not for me. And I think it was more that I had problems with the plot, rather than because the book itself was bad. It was a quick read, and while I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would, I'd still say that, if you're interested, give it a go, because mainly for me, it was a plot thing. If it sounds like something you'd like, read it! I've included some links down below to other reviews from bloggers who really enjoyed it, so you can gain a different perspective on this book...

Mundie Moms - gave it 5 stars
Dazzling Reads - gave it 5 stars
Starting the Next Chapter - gave it 4 stars
ThirstForFiction - gave it 4 stars

My Rating:
I give it 2 Feet.

2011 100+ Reading Challenge #90


  1. Thanks for the honest review! I thought it was gonna be dark and gritty too... At least I have an idea what to expect now! Great review :)

  2. I have this on my to-read pile, so I'll have to see if I like it. But, now I'm not so sure I will. But, as Cicely said, now I know what to expect!

    - Asher (from Paranormal Indulgence)

  3. Thanks for this honest review! =)
    I keep putting this book off too, not sure if it's something I will enjoy!


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