The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein
Author: Kiersten White
Publication date: September 25, 2018
Genre: YA historical fiction/retelling
Publisher: Delacorte Press
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.
Let me start off this review by saying I, Ainslee have never read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I don’t think I have even seen a movie about it, but I do know what its about as its a beloved classic.
This is a gender swapped retelling of Frankenstein which, cool, we all love gender swapped stories. What I expected going into this was a dark, gruesome, gory tale that would hopefully frighten me. What I actually got was a semi-dark, slow, frightfully boring story with one gruesome scene.
I am someone who enjoys dark, and creepy stories and I don’t scare or get grossed out easily. So just keep in mind when reading my review that what I find dark and gruesome might not be the same for you. You might find this book absolutely disturbing, scary and gruesome.
The book is told from Elizabeth’s POV set during the present and through flashbacks. In the flashbacks we get to see how Elizabeth came to live with the Frankenstein’s and how she became close to Victor.
Elizabeth is deceptive, lying, delusional and disturbed. One redeeming quality about her is that she is determined. She cares about no one but herself and Victor and doesn’t think through the consequences or the harm she might do to others.
Victor is sick, twisted, disturbed and insane. Which I’m sure you could have guessed if you’ve read the original story or have any idea about it. He’s also highly intelligent and forward thinking however, his thought process and reasoning’s are dark and twisted. I mean, how else would he have thought about creating such disturbing creatures?
As mentioned above I found the story pretty boring and the pacing was slow. For such a short book it took me quite a while to become invested in the story and actually interested. I didn’t care for the flashback portions and found them very predictable. The beginning of the book, a few chapters in, there were some interesting and exciting parts but that didn’t last long. The majority of the book is Elizabeth travelling and waiting around wondering where Victor is and when he is going to return home. Finally about 2/3 of the way into the book things got interesting but it was so fast paced and felt rushed. Once the monster showed up the writing felt a little different almost more modern and some parts didn’t mesh well with the rest of the book.
I will say that the world building and atmosphere created was great. The author really got across the disgusting, grotesque and rancid situation of Victors apartment. The descriptions of the scenery and places was done very well too.
I’m not sure reading the classic Frankenstein would have made me enjoy this more, I think probably not. Overall I just found this a boring book and I could have done without it. However, this is a very short quick read, It would be a great book to read in October if you like dark and spooky things.
If you are someone who scares easily or gets grossed out and disturbed by brutal murders and slightly graphic descriptions I would suggest avoiding this one.