Welcome to my blog. I often think I was born with a book in my hand. I have always enjoyed reading, but more importantly, talking about books. This blog is partially about reviews, but is really a forum to talk about what I'm reading, and express all of the thoughts and feelings that there simply isn't room for in a professional review. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on your favourite books as you follow my reading journey.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fall Book Preview: This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein

I was fortunate enough to get an advance copy of Kenneth Oppel's new book (releasing from Harper Collins Canada in August and Simon and Schuster in the States) and while I've always enjoyed reading his books, this is his best book yet.

Identical twin brothers Victor and Conrad Frankenstein have grown up together, along with a distant cousin and mutal love interest Elizabeth. One day, they discover a secret passage that leads to an underground room known as the "Dark Library" The library contains a selection of books on alchemy and ancient remedies, intriguing Victor.

When Conrad becomes gravely ill, Victor is drawn back to the forbidden library where he discovers an Elixer of life that he hopes will save his brother. But the quest for the three ingredients is a dangerous one, and if he fails or succeeds, nobody's lives will be the same.

This book will hook tween/teen readers from the first page, and Oppel masterfully foreshadows what's to come in the first scene. The characters are complex and multi-layered, and there are shades of good and evil in all of them. Set around the time of the French Revolution, it is a time when the lines between magic and science were blurry and medicine was archaic. And it's fascinating. There are many nods to the Mary Shelly novel (including the family name of Frankenstein), but comparisons could also be drawn to Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde. It is a story of love, jealousy, courage and an exploration of how easily good intentions can become evil.

The ending suggests a second book in the future, but in the meantime, grab your copy as soon as it comes out, and drink some Red Bull because you won't be able to put this down.