Oppel writes This Dark Endeavor from the lens of the Victorian period yet remains relatable and current for young readers. The author does not use the more difficult language of the period but keeps the darker subject matter that was present in the original book. Fans of period novels, the Victorian era, or even just the original story of Frankenstein will enjoy this addition to the mythology. Even if readers are unfamiliar with the story of Frankenstein, Oppel’s writing makes the hints toward the original story easily understandable. Even so, This Dark Endeavor is certain to interest fans of horror or mystery novels without being too scary to read at night.
Behind the fantasy of the novel lies an attention-grabbing conflict between the relationships of siblings. Young readers will relate to Victor’s struggle between loving his brother and being jealous for all that he has that Victor does not. At the center of this conflict is the relationship both boys hold with Elizabeth, a charge in their father’s house and object of their affections. Although the cliché of the love triangle is often over used in young adult novels, its presence in This Dark Endeavor has a purpose to show the dark and light side of human nature and is therefore used in a nonirritating way.
The combination of features that This Dark Endeavor provides makes a great read for many different types of readers but will be sure to leave readers wanting more of Victor Frankenstein’s unfortunate tale.
Does it have a Young Adult Label?: No.
Favorite Quote: “It was as though, in one moment, he had become a stranger. And I, a stranger to myself.”
Recommended if you like: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, alchemy, sibling rivalry, adventure, romance, mystery, Victorian Era,