This Dark Endeavour: Apprenticeship Of Victor Frankenstein

Paperback | May 22, 2012

byKenneth Oppel

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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 again, 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. But 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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From the Publisher

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 ...

KENNETH OPPEL is the Governor General’s Award–winning author ofAirbornand the Silverwing series, which has sold over a million copies worldwide. Kenneth Oppel lives in Toronto with his wife and their three children. Visit his website

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.67 inPublished:May 22, 2012Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1554683408

ISBN - 13:9781554683406

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Gothic Read This Dark Endeavor is a fun, Gothic read, a sort of prequel to Shelley's Frankenstein. This is the story of Victor Frankenstein as a teen and his twin brother, Konrad. Oppel expertly explores Victor and how he could have come to be the character we all know from literature. I enjoyed Oppel's writing and world building -- he made the world of chemistry, alchemy, and philosophy of the time vivid and come to life. It all feels authentic and dark and rich. Then there was the development of Victor and his relationship with his brother and Elizabeth. We feel for Victor, but also can see his flaws and the dichotomies of his personality. I love these kinds of explorations of someone's psyche, trying to figure out what makes them tick. This Dark Endeavor will appeal to middle grade and young adult readers who are looking for something dark and Gothic, almost steampunk.
Date published: 2015-12-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Gothic YA prequel to Frankenstein. This Dark Endeavour – The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein was written by Kenneth Oppel and originally published in 2011 by Harper Trophy Canada Most people have heard of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster; if not from Mary Shelley’s book Frankenstein ‘or the Modern Prometheus’, than from one of the many movie adaptations that have been made since the books 1818 release. I was lucky enough to be assigned Frankenstein when I was in University and really enjoyed the book though I really must revisit it since it has been too long and details escape me. When I first heard that Kenneth Oppel was writing a prequel series I knew I had to read it because I love a good origin story. And when is a better time to pick up a gothic thriller than October? First I want to have a quick chat about the cover. I own the redesigned cover with Victor standing in front of a building which I actually enjoy. I like the choice of font and that the outline of the picture is blurred. The shadowed face looks dark and ominous and everything seems to fits the theme of the book. I also listened to the audiobook; I think the actor did a good job but nothing stood out or wowed me about the performance. Victor and his identical twin Konrad have always done everything together. With the help of their distant cousin Elizabeth and their friend Henry they put on extravagant plays as well as challenge each other in fencing. They live an easy life in the Chateau Frankenstein nestled in the woods of Geneva. They have had a very loving and liberal upbringing which has shaped their personalities. Konrad is the older twin by only two minutes, but he couldn’t be more different from his twin. He is charming and adored by everyone for his wit and athletic ability. Victor on the other hand is curious by nature with an arrogance that makes him work hard to live up to his brother. When Konrad suddenly falls ill with a strange disease Victor will stop at nothing to help him get better. Doctor after doctor attempt to cure him without success, so when science fails him he turns to the “Bibliotheca Obscura,” the Dark Library buried deep in the castles secret passageways and off limits to them by their father. Searching the many ancient tomes he comes across a recipe for the “Elixir for life.” He seeks the help of the shunned alchemist Polidori to interpret the strange alphabet, and his friends to help find the obscure ingredients necessary to save his brothers life before it’s too late. This book grabbed my attention from the very beginning as almost immediately lives are put in danger. After being sucked in you won’t be able to put the book down because there is action, adventure and creepiness in every chapter. This book stays true to its source material as it is gothic and gritty and just plain good. There is something about Victor that makes you feel for him and wins you over. Even though he is arrogant and often jealous of his brother, he is at the same time charming and passionate about everything he does. He definitely has a weakness and vulnerability when it comes to his brother, and will make great sacrifices to ensure his safety. Even going against his father’s wishes when he tells him, “You must abandon this dark endeavour” Throughout the book you can also start to see the dark side of Victor, and knowing the eventual path he takes to becoming an evil genius this is not surprising. I enjoyed the book and finished it very quickly because I needed to find out what was going to happen in the end especially after hearing from others that the ending was gory and gross. I will definitely be checking out the second book called Such Wicked Intent soon to find out what happens next. I also think that I will be picking up Frankenstein again shortly. If you haven’t read this yet you should to. It’s a classic for a reason Check out for more reviews.
Date published: 2013-10-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Dark Gothic, Magical Realism Reason for Reading: I read all the author's books. This is Oppel's third series for Young Adults and each one has been so completely different from the other. The only thing consistent between them is a dark atmosphere or plot. This time Oppel has entered the Gothic world, set in Eastern Europe near the end of the French Revolution; it is never quite clear whether this is our earth or an alternate reality. Everything feels true and real for this historical time period; it is only when Victor's potions of alchemy provide fantastical results that we enter into a world of magical realism. I did find the book a bit slow to get into but once I caught the flow, I was hooked and found the book hard to put down. There are four main characters and each has their own distinct personality. Victor is not the most likable of the bunch but the book is told from his point of view and this reader found him the most genuine however unreliable he may be :-) I loved the whole Gothic atmosphere, the dark eerie tunnels, forests and sinister scientists. The added magic of alchemy brings that touch of the supernatural to the events to provide an all around gripping story with fantastic plot, characters and atmosphere. The ending wasn't surprising to this reader and yet it was still a shock as it was deftly written, coming out of when least expected and leaves all sorts of plot openings for the next volume which I am eager to read as it will have been released by the time this review has been posted.
Date published: 2012-09-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must Read This Dark Endeavor is a work of literary art. From the cover, to the plot, to the characters; Oppel was spot on! One of a book's most important assets is its cover, and in this case, This Dark Endeavor certainly has bragging rights! Between the handsome character sketch of Victor on the front, to the haunting buildings eclipsed by unsettle clouds and the blurred edges; I do believe I was completely enthralled with this book before I even read the first page. Having read Kenneth Oppel's previous series; Silver Wing, as a child, I was already familiar with the depth of Oppel's writing and This Dark Endeavor was no exception. Written in the first person perspective of Victor Frankenstein, This Dark Endeavor is truly captivating, allowing you to witness the story first hand through Victor's rebellious mind. There was never a single moment while reading the novel in which I felt bored of the story, with brilliant cliffhangers at the end of chapters and an excellently paced plot (not to fast and not to slow), which was filled with completely unexpected twists ensured that I couldn't stop turning the pages. If you're in search of a wickedly good, well-written YA book with a hint of romance, I urge you to pick up This Dark Endeavor; you won't regret it! -Sarah
Date published: 2012-08-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Can't wait for the movie . .. I enjoyed the book and am excited for the film coming out which will be directed by Matt Reeves.
Date published: 2012-04-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from captured me from the first sentence I initially decided against buying this book since I wasn't all that interested in any Frankenstein, but I'm so glad I did. Kenneth Oppel does a great job setting the scene and mood of the story, and the characters were reminiscent of historically prominent eras. The love Victor has for his brother, Konrad was voiced perfectly. In fact, the choice of words in this book was really sophisticated; completely different from classic teen books. There were many scenes that made my heart race, and I honestly couldn't put this one down. The topic of alchemy is controversial in this storyline, and I couldn't help but notice that some things that occured in this book would seem silly nowadays. However, I'm glad that this was set in a different time because it helped me see ideas that were unusual to me, and I wouldn't be able to relate to it. Eveything was a completely new concept, and I enjoyed every page of it. Although it was a bit on the short side, I'm glad there'll be a sequel. I'm impatiently waiting for its arrival.
Date published: 2012-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Darkly twisted but very addictive 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.
Date published: 2012-01-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Mary Shelley Would be PROUD! As a prequel to "Frankenstein", one of mine and many people's favourite stories, I was initially hesitant to read this book, but found myself ecstatic that I did. Kenneth Oppel has done a miraculous job of encompassing all the elements of dark, dramatic, and romantic Victorian literature, and the very essence of mystery, horror, and adventure of Mary Shelley's timeless classic. This novel paints the perfect picture of the triumphs and growth, and defeats and decline, of her tragic hero's youth, all unique to Oppel and yet true to Shelley. If you are a fan of the classic novel, you will not be disappointed by this achingly perfect prequel.
Date published: 2012-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW! I'm so glad I had decided last minute to read this book. Fantastic suspense/horror and just a pinch of romance made this book worth reading! I recommend this book to everyone! I'm going to go read the classic Frankenstein now. :)
Date published: 2011-12-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from ABSOLUTELY GREAAT! Very good book! :)
Date published: 2011-10-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Entertaining I admit that I have tried to read Frankenstein and have never managed to sit down and read the whole book through. After reading this one, however, I think I may actually get through it. This book is very entertaining, I can't comment too much on how the characters and setting play out in regards to Frankenstein, as per my original comment, but I can say that the author did a great job. By itself, this book was a great read. The pace of the story moved along, the characters were really believable. You could almost say that there could be a sequel if you didn't realize that this book was marketed as a prequel. Overall I would recommend this book, it's marketed as Teen Fiction but would appeal to readers of all ages.
Date published: 2011-09-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from absolutely amazing! I think I was living under a rock because this is the first book by Kenneth Oppel I ever read. Such an unforgivable sin! I will definitely read more of his books! Because I am very short of words to express how much I love This Dark Endeavor. This book was absolute perfection! As a fan of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein myself, I have to say that Oppel blew my mind with this book. Oppel created Victor Frankenstein's early years and illustrated the reasons and facts that lead young Victor to become the famous Dr. Frankenstein. Oppel is a genius expressing characters' emotions. We can easily see the complex psychology of Victor and understand what makes him the way he is. Victor's reasons to search of the Elixir of Life are the complex collision of his devoted brotherly love and his jealousy. The young Victor Frankenstein we meet at the beginning of the book is just a kid with complexes and insecurities that push him onto the road of obsession for triumph. To find a cure for his severely sick identical twin is the original seed that motivates Victor to create the Elixir of Life, and to prove himself and others that he is better than his perfect twin as well as jealousy and the love for a girl who does not reciprocate his feelings, are the fuel to Victor's veins that nourishes his obsession. But regardless all this mix of feelings, it is Victor's infinite love for his brother that moved me to tears. Science and Faith are both equally strong points of This Dark Endeavor. How people deal with what they want and how people deal with pain. I really love this aspect of the book because, according to me, it doesn't separate Science and Faith into 100% different categories as we usually tempt to do. In this case, it is not always a matter of Science or Faith, but Science and Faith working altogether. Devotion, love and sacrifice are only the tip of the iceberg. Kenneth Oppel teaches us a life lesson through Victor's experience. Love and despair could lead to recklessness. Recklessness and selfish motives lead to guilt. So much I would like to say, but I cannot do that without giving anything away. Oppel's writing style is beautiful and poetic. It warmed my heart to read some of Victor's beautiful thoughts and it also gave me chills to read others (yes, there are some scary and creepy parts! love them!). The setting is beautifully shaped! A centuries old Castle in Geneve with an ancient dark library, near a river and with beautiful sunsets everyday. Kenneth Oppel gave me the place of my dreams! I would like to say so much more about everything this book gave me, but I think I already said too much. I want you to get This Dark Endeavor and read it. This is the kind of book you could recommend to everyone! doesn't matter the age or taste, and I am sure This Dark Endeavor will absolutely be a bright spot in your life.
Date published: 2011-09-02

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