The Dark Descent Of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten WhiteThe Dark Descent Of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

The Dark Descent Of Elizabeth Frankenstein

byKiersten White

Hardcover | September 25, 2018

see the collection Tales of Horror

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New year, new you! Don't miss this monster of a New York Times bestseller, a stunning and dark reimagining of Frankenstein that internationally bestselling author Stephanie Garber raves is "exquisitely disturbing."

Elizabeth Lavenza hasn't had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her "caregiver," and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything--except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable--and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable. 

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth's survival depends on managing Victor's dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness. 

**Ebook exclusive: the full text of Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN**
 
AN NPR BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
A CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
 
"A masterful and monstrous retelling."—STEPHANIE GARBER, #1 New York Times and internationally bestselling author of Caraval and Legendary

"Inescapably compelling." —VICTORIA SCHWAB, #1 New York Times bestselling author of This Savage Song
 
"An inventive, grotesque, and completely unexpected reimagining of FrankensteinMary Shelley would be proud."—MACKENZI LEE, New York Times bestselling author of The Gentlemen's Guide to Vice and Virtue
KIERSTEN WHITE is the New York Times bestselling author of the And I Darken series, comprised of And I Darken, Now I Rise, and Bright We Burn; the Paranormalcy series; Slayer, and many more novels. She lives with her family near the ocean in San Diego, which, in spite of its perfection, spurs her to dream of faraway places and even fur...
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Title:The Dark Descent Of Elizabeth FrankensteinFormat:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9.31 × 6.38 × 1.06 inPublished:September 25, 2018Publisher:Random House Children's BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0525577947

ISBN - 13:9780525577942

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing story! I loved this book so much! It was so thrilling and suspenseful. I loved the way this story was woven together. Elizabeth reflects on her childhood with Victor throughout the beginning of the book while she is searching for him. He stopped returning her letters, so she went looking for him at his school. But once she finds him, everything changes. She finds a lot more than just her friend Victor. Parts of Elizabeth’s past are constantly reflected in her current life, including the many ways she saved Victor in their childhood. She was a strong woman, who was a huge influence on Victor. However, she was still restricted to the life of an eighteenth century woman. She was an orphan and she could have been kicked out of the house at any moment without any help. She didn’t have anything to fall back on, except staying with the Frankensteins. I haven’t read Frankenstein yet, but I’m planning on reading it soon since it is the 200th anniversary of its publication this year. I’m curious to see how it measures up to this book, because this story had me on the edge of my seat the whole time! I received a copy of this book from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.
Date published: 2018-12-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Tragically Beautiful Exploring the tale of "Frankenstein" through Elizabeth Lavenza's eyes was psychologically trilling. Every action she makes is calculated and curated to the environment in which she lives. Her relationship with Victor is extremely codependent and strangely interesting. I loved exploring her backstory as a young orphan and her growth as a person throughout the novel. The loss Elizabeth experiences is tragic and compelling and will make you question who is really at fault for disaster that follows the Frankenstein family. I cant help but feel that the book could use a sequel as the ending left some questions unanswered - I truly hope the Kiersten White is planning on writing a part two. I strongly recommend this book if you enjoy thrillers, mystery and a tiny hint of romance.
Date published: 2018-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A For the Lover of Books Review Kiersten White is one of my auto-buy authors, so despite having never read Frankenstein and having no interest in reading Frankenstein, I pre-ordered this book. Luckily, I was not disappointed. Kiersten White’s writing is perfection. It felt like I was reading a classic the entire time (one of the better ones if you aren’t a huge classic person like me). I can totally picture a girl in the 1800s writing diary entries like this. Elizabeth stole my heart, and she’s a hard girl to like. Her ambition causes her to do a lot of questionable things. On the other hand, I couldn’t help but sympathize with her. She spends so much of the book in fear, not knowing who she is because she’s been pretending to be someone else for so long. I couldn’t help feeling sorry for her. The other characters were also complex and well done. I could see where Victor was coming from, even if I didn’t support him, and Justine and Henry were so precious. Justine and Henry definitely brought some much needed light to the story. Speaking of much needed light, this book is dark. The book doesn’t exactly give you a false sense of security either. That bird’s nest scene in the first chapter had me desperately wanting to look away (for those who have read it, turns out what happened was so much worse than I imagined) By the way, huge content warning for animal torture. I mentioned it on Goodreads when I was on page 85 apparently, but there are a couple scenes where some not great stuff happens to animals. This book had me stressed the entire time I was reading it. My heart was pounding. Every chapter ended with me feeling a pang of dread. It had me so sucked in, and it was perfection. I may not have read Frankenstein, but I do know a little bit about it, and I sort of loved how Kiersten White included the cousin/ adopted sister thing from the original Frankenstein. I’m sure there are a ton of other fun twists in here for those who have read the original, but let me be proof that you don’t need to have read the original to fall in love with this retelling. *Mild and vague spoilers ahead* I’ve seen a few people who weren’t the biggest fans of the ending, but I really liked it. I think it raises some ethical questions if what I think happened actually happened. Assuming what I think happened actually happened, is it okay that her friends did that when she expressly did not that to happen? If it is, why would it not have been okay for Victor to do the same? I think I like that I have so many questions after finishing it. This isn’t really the kind of book that can end with everything wrapped up neatly. *End of mild spoilers* Overall, The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein was incredibly well done on all fronts, earning it 5 out of 5 stars.
Date published: 2018-10-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Medium-grade horror that kept me on my toes! It's October, so bring on the creepy reads!! I flew through THE DARK DESCENT OF ELIZABETH FRANKENSTEIN, a remarkable retelling that shifted the POV to the "bride" of Frankenstein. Getting down and dirty with what she needed to do to survive, Elizabeth was a wild card. The narration delved into Elizabeth's mind, which is where Kiersten White's high level of craft came into play, because even though I could see behind the curtain of Elizabeth's behaviour, knowing her intentions--her ultimate desires and goals--I still didn't know what she'd do from one moment to the next. And I LOVED THAT SO MUCH. White took the original concept and created a completely unique story, one where a female character claimed centre stage, and I really enjoyed the twisted ride. I will say that one element took me by surprise and not in a great way. Animal abuse is a real challenge for me to read, even in this sort of context. So if you're an avid animal lover, proceed with caution.
Date published: 2018-10-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting Retelling Thank you, Penguin Random House Canada, for my copy of this well-crafted retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and on the 200thanniversary of its original creation no less, in exchange for my honest review. The story is told from the perspective of Elizabeth Lavenza, a young orphan who is rescued by the family of Victor Frankenstein, from her desolate life.  Elizabeth is taken in by the Frankenstein family as a companion to Victor Frankenstein, whom she ultimately falls in love with, obviously!   Her love for Victor grows so quickly and intensely that she will pay any price to remain his focus and the only one he loves.  But we all know the story of Victor Frankenstein, and his experimental catastrophes; Elizabeth doesn’t stand a chance at coming out unharmed, or is she stronger than we give her credit for? When Victor leaves for school and then disappears without a trace, Elizabeth sets out on a manhunt for her beloved Victor and is determined to return him to his family and back into her heart.  Sadly, her journey is filled with loss and the ultimate revelation into Victor’s true mania and as she nears the truth of his experiment to create life from death, Elizabeth is forced to decide whether love is really worth all the loss and sadness it has already brought her.  She discovers Victor in a new (and darker) light than what she remembers of him and she is forced to decide if this is the Victor she wants to keep. I really enjoyed this reinvention of such an old tale that once again explores the meaning of being a monster and the consequences of playing with death. I enjoyed Kiersten White’s writing style as I felt it closely mirrored that of Mary Shelley’s, which truly gives this retelling some original value. I will admit that it started off a bit slow for me, but as soon as Elizabeth discovers the monster and exactly what Victor has been up to during his hiatus, I was immediately engrossed in the story.  It was interesting to see the story of Frankenstein played out the way Kiersten White has written it; from the perspective of a young impressionable girl, who is only looking for love and to be loved but whose strength quickly grows as the boy she falls in love with is darker than any storm she has ever experienced. I highly recommend this book to fans of the original Frankenstein as I think it gives you a different but interesting perspective into the mind of madness and how it not only affects its owner but those around them
Date published: 2018-09-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from RIVETING! I must read for fall!!! First and foremost, it needs to be said that I would happily give this book 20 out of 5 stars if that was such a rating. This is one of those rare books that seemingly comes out of nowhere to land itself squarely on your Top 5 Reads of 2018 list, and which will be a favorite and often revisited read for many, many years to come. Kiersten White has produced a dazzling reimagining of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, completely and entirely stealing my bookworm heart in the process. In this newest version of the story, Elizabeth Lavenza is an orphan who has no hope in this world, until the Frankenstein's embrace her into their family, hoping she will be a friend for their oldest son Victor, a child whose dangerous temper and odd personality have left him entirely solitary. Elizabeth flourishes, and soon her only focus in life is being exactly what Victor needs her to be, regardless of what she must overlook to maintain that. Told in alternating time periods of the present, where Elizabeth is working to bring an adult Victor home to her, ensuring her safety within the Frankenstein family, and the years of their youth, growing up together and becoming inseparable friends, this is a book you literally cannot put down. I was torn between wanting to tear through the pages to see what would happen, and wanting to drag this story out forever, so that this magical, horrible world would never end. All of our favorite characters are here, and Kiersten does phenomenal work of making them all deeply interesting, complex and relatable. I was instantly drawn into this new perspective of Elizabeth being the central voice of the story, especially as her world slowly begins to fall apart at the hands of Victor's madness; a madness that she has worked so hard to protect him from and contain. Having a strong, willful and determined female voice lead this particular version was deeply satisfying, and unexpectedly breathed new life into a beloved story. This should WITHOUT QUESTION, be on your fall reads list this year - it will be the perfect book to usher in the Halloween season. As for me, this book now has a home on my permanent re-read list, and I already cannot wait to dive in again.
Date published: 2018-09-16

Read from the Book

To be weak is miserable       Lightning clawed across the sky, tracing veins through the clouds and marking the pulse of the universe itself.   I sighed happily as rain slashed the carriage windows and thunder rumbled so loudly we could not even hear the wheels bump when the dirt lane met the cobblestones at the edge of Ingolstadt.   Justine trembled beside me like a newborn rabbit, burying her face in my shoulder. Another bolt lit our carriage with bright white clarity before rendering us temporarily deaf with a clap of thunder so loud the windows threatened to loosen.   “How can you laugh?” Justine asked. I had not realized I was laughing until that moment.   I stroked her dark hair where strands dangled free from her hat. Justine hated loud noises of any type: Slamming doors. Storms. Shouting. Especially shouting. But I had made certain she had endured none of that in the past two years. It was so odd that our separate origins--similar in cruelty, though differing in duration--had had such opposite outcomes. Justine was the most open and loving and genuinely good person I had ever known.   And I was--   Well. Not like her.   “Did I ever tell you Victor and I used to climb out onto the roof of the house to watch lightning storms?”   She shook her head, not lifting it.   “The way the lighting would play off the mountains, throwing them into sharp relief, as though we were watching the creation of the world itself. Or over the lake, so it looked like it was in both the sky and the water. We would be soaked by the end; it is a wonder neither of us caught our death.” I laughed again, remembering. My skin--fair like my hair--would turn the most violent shades of red from the cold. Victor, with his dark curls plastered to his sallow forehead, accentuating the shadows he always bore beneath his eyes, would look like death. What a pair we were!   “One night,” I continued, sensing Justine was calming, “lightning struck a tree on the grounds not ten body lengths from where we sat.”   “That must have been terrifying!”   “It was glorious.” I smiled, placing my hand flat against the cold glass, feeling the temperature beneath my lacy white gloves. “To me, it was the great and terrible power of nature. It was like seeing God.”   Justine clucked disapprovingly, peeling herself from my side to give me a stern look. “Do not blaspheme.”   I stuck my tongue out at her until she relented into a smile.   “What did Victor think of it?”   “Oh, he was horribly depressed for months afterward. I believe his exact phrasing was that he ‘languished in valleys of incomprehensible despair.’ ”   Justine’s smile grew, though with a puzzled edge. Her face was clearer than any of Victor’s texts. His books always required further knowledge and intense study, while Justine was an illuminated manuscript--beautiful and treasured and instantly understandable.   I reluctantly pulled the curtains closed on the carriage window, sealing us away from the storm for her comfort. She had not left the house at the lake since our last disastrous trip into Geneva had ended with her insane, bereft mother attacking us. This journey into Bavaria was taxing for her. “While I saw the destruction of the tree as nature’s beauty, Victor saw power--power to light up the night and banish darkness, power to end a centuries-old life in a single strike--that he cannot control or access. And nothing bothers Victor more than something he cannot control.”   “I wish I had known him better before he left for university.”   I patted her hand--her brown leather gloves a gift Henry had given me--before squeezing her fingers. Those gloves were far softer and warmer than my own. But Victor preferred me in white. And I loved giving nice things to Justine. She had joined the household two years earlier, when she was seventeen and I was fifteen, and had been there only a couple of months before Victor left us. She did not really know him.   No one did, except me. I liked it that way, but I wanted them to love each other as I loved them both.   “Soon you will know Victor. We shall all of us--Victor and you and me--” I paused, my tongue traitorously trying to add Henry. That was not going to happen. “We will be reunited most joyfully, and then my heart will be complete.” My tone was cheery to mask the fear that underlay this entire endeavor.   I could not let Justine be worried. Her willingness to come as my chaperone was the only reason I had managed this trip. Judge Frankenstein had initially rejected my pleadings to check on Victor. I think he was relieved to have Victor gone, did not care when we had no word. Judge Frankenstein always said Victor would come home when he was ready, and I should not worry about it.   I did. Very much. Particularly after I found a list of expenses with my name at the top. He was auditing me--and soon, I had no doubt, he would determine that I was not worth holding on to. I had done too well, fixing Victor. He was out in the world, and I was obsolete to his father.   I would not let myself be cast out. Not after my years of hard work. Not after all I had done.   Fortunately, Judge Frankenstein had been called away on a mysterious journey of his own. I did not ask permission again so much as . . . leave. Justine did not know that. Her presence gave me the freedom I needed here to move about without inviting suspicion or censure. William and Ernest, Victor’s younger brothers and her charges, would be fine in the care of the maid until we could return.

Editorial Reviews

“If you read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and thought the ladies in that were getting a bad deal, then this is the book you've been waiting for….White is unafraid to dig in the graveyard and piece together a creature of her own design out of old parts, and the resulting tale is dark and chilling.” —NPR"Exquisitely disturbing. The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein is a beautiful tapestry of horror, sewn together with threads of madness, obsession, and murder. Kiersten White has written a masterful and monstrous retelling."—STEPHANIE GARBER, #1 New York Times and internationally bestselling author of Caraval and Legendary "Visceral, sinister, and inescapably compelling, The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein feels at once reverent of its inspiration, and entirely new. White's skill is scalpel-sharp." —VICTORIA SCHWAB, #1 New York Times bestselling author of This Savage Song "In the hands of master storyteller Kiersten White, the bones of a familiar story are reconstructed to form an inventive, grotesque, and completely unexpected reimagining of Frankenstein. Mary Shelley would be proud."—MACKENZI LEE, New York Times bestselling author of The Gentlemen's Guide to Vice and Virtue “Kiersten White has breathed fresh life into a much-loved classic. Even Mary Shelley herself would be riveted by the dark lengths Elizabeth Lavenza would go to in order to survive. A dark and lovely midnight read.—MEGAN SHEPHERD, New York Times bestselling author of The Madman's Daughter trilogy ★ "Breathtaking."—PW, starred review★ "This novel indeed descends to “dark and hellish” depths, but captivated readers will avidly plumb them in the company of the complicated and compelling Eliza­beth Frankenstein."—Horn Book, starred review  “In this clever retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, White neatly undercuts the original by making Victor’s narrative wildly unreliable . . . this character-driven novel with a healthy amount of gore should appeal to horror fans, too.” —Booklist   “White adds emotional depth to a character who was passive in Shelley’s original. She highlights, with feminist sensitivity, Elizabeth’s total dependence as a woman of her time, playing whatever part is necessary to ensure her future. The novel continues in the gothic tradition of the source material, and the title speaks volumes about the darkness of tone and content. The language is often surprisingly lyrical with the narrative flowing smoothly despite frequent flashbacks. Twists and tweaks, especially toward the end, may take readers of Frankenstein by surprise, but will not spoil either book. Recommended for YA collections traveling on the dark side.”—SLJ   “An all-around win.”—KirkusPRAISE FOR THE AND I DARKEN SERIES:“A dark and twisty fantasy. . . . Think Game of Thrones . . . but with teens.”—Seventeen“Sinister, suspenseful, and unapologetically feminist.”—Buzzfeed“Will completely spin you into another time and place.”—Bustle“Takes no prisoners, offering up brutal, emotional historical fiction.”—NPR.org“Gleams with fierce, cunning characters—absolutely riveting.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Alexandra Bracken“As richly complex and glittering as the Ottoman Empire itself.” —Robin LaFevers“Kiersten White is a genius.”—Justine Larbalestier, author of MY SISTER ROSA and LIAR