Young Adult horror is making a comeback, and This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel is leading the way.
A well-plotted gothic thriller, the story follows inseperable twin brothers Victor and Konrad Frankenstein and their adopted “sister” Elizabeth. The three have spent their childhoods exploring the family’s grand chateau and are surpised to discover a secret passage they obviously overlooked. It leads to The Dark Library, a secret–and illegal–library filled with books on alchemy.
They promise not to return to the forbidden room, but this is where Victor and Konrad’s sameness ceases to be. Victor, the much more daring twin, is drawn to the knowledge hidden away in the library. His curiosity may be the only thing that can cure Konrad of his sudden and recurring illness.
There are so many things that Oppel does well in this story. The pacing is set on break-neck speed, the plot pieces fits together like a jigsaw puzzle and the characters are interesting and compelling. He does an amazing job of dissecting “magical” elements to find the science underneath and modern readers will appreciate this contrast.
This Dark Endeavor easily appeals to both male and female readers (though I’m sure the females will divide themselves into Team Victor and Team Konrad). It could almost be shared with middle-grade readers, as well, but one brother’s budding interest in girls and a most squeal-worthy horror scene (OMG, gag!) make it better suited for older audiences.
It’s a perfect Halloween read, but really, it’s a great choice any time of the year. This Dark Endeavor is already in stores.
Here’s the official synopsis:
Growing up, twin brothers Victor and Konrad fill their lives with imaginary adventures…until the day they stumble upon The Dark Library, where they discover secret books of alchemy and ancient remedies. When Konrad falls gravely ill, Victor is drawn back to The Dark Library and uncovers an ancient formula, beginning a treacherous search for the ingredients to create the forbidden Elixir of Life. Their success depends on how far they are willing to push the boundaries of nature, science…and love.
I ABSOLUTELY want to read this one! Frankenstein was the first “classic” I read and fell in love with the language, the story, the dual meaning of everything. I really hope Oppel can capture that same feel and cadence as Shelley.
Thanks for the review!