Monday, April 2, 2012

Review: This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel (The Dark Endeavor Chronicles #1)

This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel (The Dark Endeavor Chronicles #1)
Pages:  304
Release Date:  August 23rd, 2011
Date Read:  2011, Oct. 25th-20th
Received:  Library
Rating:  4/5 stars
Recommended to:  14+

Victor and Konrad Frankenstein are twins - together from birth, inseparable at any cost.  They are both the same in looks - and yet so completely different in personality, wisdom, and vision.  When Konrad grows ill, and none of the doctors seem to be able to heal him, Victor decides to take the matter into his own hands.  He wishes to create the Elixir of Life, to bring his brother to complete health again.  With the help of his friends Elizabeth and Henry, Victor will risk everything to save his brother's life, before it's too late.

I love Kenneth Oppel.  I love the way he writes, the way his characters spring to life, imperfections and all.
This Dark Endeavor shot up my reading list when I saw it.  It was first in line, even with tons of stuff going on.  I had to have it.
And it was totally awesome!  Maybe not as memorable as the Matt Cruise books; maybe not as totally incredibly amazing - but wonderful all the same.  Totally different, too.  For a while, I wasn't sure what to rate it, but 4 stars feel right.  While it didn't blow my mind, it was still so solid and right and good and just soooo well-written because you really can't expect otherwise from Kenneth Oppel.

Victor and Konrad were so perfect for each other and this book.  Because not only are they twins ad best friends, but they are also, in a way, opposing forces.

Victor had a great leading role voice.  The reason?  He was a fool, lacking in wisdom and grace.  And yet, I absolutely loved him.  That Oppel was able to show Victor's immense stupidity without making the reader hate him is an incredible feat.  Seeing Victor change throughout the book, whether for good or bad, was also something I could hold onto about Victor.  I still think of him.  HE was memorable, that's for sure.

Elizabeth and Henry were extraordinary; Elizabeth with her two sides, Henry with his fears and doubts.  They were 3D and easy to relate to and totally different.

And Konrad.  He's not a favorite, but he was indeed strong and valiant, at heart if not in body.  If I had not cared for him, the drive to the story would have been lost.  He was important, and I definitely value presence in the book.

At first, I was incredibly intrigued.  What would Oppel do with a retelling/prologue of Frankenstein's life?  The first chapters were both startling and beautiful, as well as sad and foreboding.  Then I got busy with life and couldn't read for two days and lost track of the story at a slower part...and it took a bit of shoving my way back in before I felt at home again.  But as soon as I was, the story flew ahead and - wow.

It was crazy.  The quests and feats they accomplished to get the three ingredients to the Elixir were intense and really revealed character strengths and weaknesses.

There were some very crazy twists in the end, and I was happy to find that Oppel delivered his usual - where just when you think things can't get any worse, they do.  This happens for a few chapters and then - BAM!  You're shocked by the final, climactic scene.  I love Oppel for that, among other things.

Also -the love triangle. Woah!  I've never read anything quite like that.  Yikes!  What will happen?!

Bitter.  Usually I don't use negative words to describe books I like, but it's so true.  This book was full of bitterness - mixed with love, braver, passion, and madness.  What a crazy combination - one that I heartily enjoyed - and even shed a tear over.  Wow!  Such Wicked Intent comes out late this summer and I'm SO EXCITED to read it!! :D

For the Parents -
Maybe one minor cuss word.  Some passionate kisses; Victor sees Elizabeth's wild, passionate, side and feels something powerful towards her - love, surely, but also an animal-like lust which he tries to overcome.  Non-explicit talk of a wedding night.  Some very intense scenes (emotionally and physically).  Recommended 14+


  1. Oh gosh, Sierra, the  way you talk about this book makes me want to drop everything just to read it!! x) I LOVE how this book is based off of Frankenstein because Frankenstein is awesome -- and I love how the main characters are twins even more, because twin relationships are always so fun to read! Plus , now you've got me anticipating that BAM-worthy climax and I haven't even picked up the book yet LOL!

    Amazing review, Sierra! This is another awesome book I haven't heard much about that you made me so excited to start! I can't wait! ;) <3

  2. Thanks so much for the comment, Mimi! :D  I hope you get to read this one soon - and that you love it!!  I definitely think it's your type of book!  Can't wait to chat about it with you!

  3. Bitter? But mixed with good things? Hmmm...maybe I'll give this book a chance. You've made it sound intriguing! Thanks for reviewing it.

  4. Ok. So maybe I should definitely hunt this one down. The book had caught my interest and then it got pushed to the backburner in my TBR, which, of course, made me lose track of it altogether, BUT I think I'm going to have to rectify that.


  5. Hi I might be so late with reading this but I came here since I clicked the link from your review of the second book (which I still haven't been able to buy) but I just gotta say that thanks to your review I'm 100% sure that I must buy it asap and why am I commenting on this review? I find it well written with well explained points unlike most reviews that simply says oh yeah it was a good book but don't really say why. I also have a few questions to you if you even read comments I mean as I said I am a bit late to the party. I see that you recommend this book to 14+ how old are you? Has Kenneth written any other good series? I'm out for your opinion since we seemed to feel the same about these books so you know I figured that maybe I also like the other ones you like.