Book Talk – THIS DARK ENDEAVOR by Kenneth Oppel

I had to giggle when I looked for this book on Goodreads and accidentally put “This Darn Endeavor” into the search box. That was pretty much the last laugh I had while reading this book.

And that’s a major compliment. It takes a lot to stop me from making fun of things. THIS DARK ENDEAVOR is a YA retelling at its best, a Gothic masterpiece that filled the void left empty while waiting for another MONSTRUMOLOGIST title from Rick Yancey.
Viktor and Konrad Frankenstein are twins in every way, yet Viktor feels constantly outstripped by his more charismatic twin. When Konrad falls ill and Viktor discovers his ancient family’s Dark Library of alchemy, he’s determined to make the Elixir of Life… although whether he’s doing it to save Konrad’s life or for his own glory isn’t clear even to himself.
The Elixir requires odd ingredients that come at a high price. A wheelchair-bound hermit (Dr. Polidori, who by the way, lives in Wollstonekraft Alley) helps Viktor translate what those might be and his long-time friend and adopted sister Elizabeth come along for the harrowing, nearly-fatal adventures required to gather them.
But the trips to Polidori’s underground lab and their nighttime adventures together have given more than forbidden knowledge to Viktor. He discovers his own secret feelings for Elizabeth, who is in love with Konrad. If Viktor does manage to create the Elixir, will he use it?
Viktor is as complicated a teen as Mary Shelley imagined him as an adult, and THIS DARK ENDEAVOR gives fantastic insight in what might have created the living monster we meet in her classic tale. The sequel SUCH WICKED INTENT is available now from Simon & Schuster.

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