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This Dark Endeavour: The Apprenticeship Of Victor Frankenstein [Hardcover]

Kenneth Oppel
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 19.99
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Book Description

Aug. 22 2011

2011 Governor General’s Literary Awards Finalist - Children's Literature (Text)

Victor Frankenstein leads a charmed life. He and his twin brother, Konrad, and their beautiful cousin Elizabeth take lessons at home and spend their spare time fencing and horseback riding. Along with their friend Henry, they have explored all the hidden passageways and secret rooms of the palatial Frankenstein chateau. Except one.

The Dark Library contains ancient tomes written in strange languages and filled with forbidden knowledge. Their father makes them promise never to visit the library, but when Konrad becomes deathly ill, Victor knows he must find the book that contains the recipe for the legendary Elixir of Life.

The elixir needs only three ingredients. But impossible odds, dangerous alchemy and a bitter love triangle threaten their quest at every turn.

Victor knows he must not fail. Yet 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.


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Review

"In this stylish gothic tale, first in a planned series, teenage Victor Frankenstein makes a desperate attempt to create the forbidden alchemical Elixir of Life, in order to save his beloved twin brother, Konrad, from an untimely death. Oppel hews closely to the Frankenstein mythos, and with a delicious mix of science, history, and horror, he peers into the psyche of a young man who is beginning to hunger for greater control over life and death."
- Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) ()

About the Author

KENNETH OPPEL is the Governor General’s Award–winning author of the Airborn series and the Silverwing Saga, which has sold over a million copies worldwide. His most recent novels are Half Brother, winner of both the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award and the Young Adult Book Award; This Dark Endeavour, finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award; and Such Wicked Intent, finalist for the CLA Young Adult Book Award. Canada’s nominated author for the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award, he lives in Toronto with his wife and three children.

WEB:KENNETHOPPEL.CA
FACEBOOK: KENNETH OPPEL
TWITTER: @KENNETHOPPEL


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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Darkly twisted but very addictive! Jan. 25 2012
By Steven R. McEvoy HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
I have been going back through and tracking down all of Oppel's older books and reading them. This is his newest and it blew me away. It had a dark edge I have not seen in Oppel's writing before. The story is amazing and leaves you desperate for more.

Summary: It is the story of the Frankenstein brothers, Victor and Konrad. They are the closest of brothers and as they have grown up in the Frankenstein manor, they have lived a life of privilege and adventures, both real and imaginary. But then as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. After they stumble upon a hidden library, a library of the dark arts, their life takes a turn for the worse. Soon Konrad has fallen ill, and Victor, their friend Henry, and Elizabeth, a distant relative who was raised in the Frankenstein household, embark on a dark and dangerous journey to discover the Elixir of Life. As the friends risk life and limb to save Konrad, a dark secret is growing in Victor's heart.

This story is very well written; it is a study into the hearts and minds of a group of people. It looks at not only what they do, but why they do it. It also touches upon how twins have a bond, and as we read, the story and characters become real. There is such craft in the writing of this book you will become lost in the pages and the story will stay with you for a long time after reading it. The book is impossible to put down, and even after you finish it, you find yourself desperate for book two.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing young adult book. Dec 26 2011
Format:Hardcover
I picked up this book originally because I found the concept interesting and was very pleased with it. Not only is the idea of the book fantastic, but the writing as well. The characters were well developed and interesting. The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is because I felt the book could have been more descriptive for the time period.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The dark path of Victor Feb. 22 2014
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Victor Frankenstein is one of the most hatable characters in gothic literature, but how did he become that way?

Kenneth Oppel attempts to explore the archetypical mad scientists' teen years in "This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein." It's a colorful, bleakly passionate story full of dark alchemy and seething resentment, written in a style that hearkens back to 19th-century writings. And you're constantly aware that it will get worse.

Victor Frankenstein and his twin brother Konrad are inseparable, along with their beautiful cousin Elizabeth. But one day Konrad becomes horribly ill, and slowly begins to waste away. Desperate to save his brother, Victor takes a forbidden book of alchemy from a hidden library, and sneaks it off to an old alchemist named Polidori, who may be able to help him create the Elixir of Life.

As he and Elizabeth search for ultra-rare ingredients (like coelacanth oil), Victor begins to realize that he's in love with her. But after Konrad makes a miraculous recovery, Victor realizes that Elizabeth loves his brother, not him. As they continue searching for the elixir's ingredients, Victor's love for both of them is slowly twisted with loathing and jealousy. And when Konrad's illness returns, Victor will make a terrible sacrifice... which will not turn out as he expected

To date, "This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein" is the darkest book that Kenneth Oppel has penned. You know exactly how Victor's life will unfold later, and that gives a darker tinge even to the happier scenes -- and as Victor begins setting off on his "dark endeavor," it becomes clear that all his scientific ventures will end in tragedy.

Victor himself is a beautifully nuanced character.
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