The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, by Kiersten White

jokun's review against another edition

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I picked up this book because 1) Barnes and Nobles had it out as a Halloween display and 2) "Frankenstein" is one of my favorite books. I really enjoyed this book told from a different character POV, especially from one of the female characters. HOWEVER (and this is a big however) I did not like that the author took artistic liberties with the ending of the story, which I thought was a perfect ending to begin with.

The entire story is Elizabeth looking for Victor, eventually finding him after creating his monster. Most of the story continues on through Elizabeth's POV, but instead of being murdered on her wedding night, Elizabeth befriends the monster, and runs to North to escape Victor. Elizabeth eventually kills Victor in self defense and dies in the process. She is ironically brought back to life by the same science and technology that created the monster.

I just can't with endings like that. I wished the author stayed true to the novel laid out for her and wrote her story around Shelly's novel. I started reading this book because I knew the violent, tragic, and heartbreaking ending that awaited the characters (I can be morbid at times), but I was wrong. Mary Shelley wrote a masterpiece and White didn't need to dissect it (pun intended) the way she did.

krismark's review against another edition

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adventurous dark emotional mysterious reflective tense medium-paced


whatthefawkes's review against another edition

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The book was reviewed as part of a blog tour organised by Rockstar Book Tours.

“I have waded through hell to deliver you heaven.”

Written for the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, White pens a beautiful and haunting retelling of the horror classic. Told from the perspective of Elizabeth Lorenzo, Victor's childhood friend, and later, wife, we delve into the dark dwellings of the Frankenstein manor and what lies beyond: murder, corruption and scientific experiments.

Elizabeth Lorenzo gains agency in this retelling: crafty, cunning and clever, she stops at nothing to secure her place in the Frankenstein family and in Victor's heart. No longer an object for Victor to own and dominate, Elizabeth Lorenzo fights back in ways that would be far too spoilerish to share. In other words, please gentle readers pick up this delightfully creepy little tale, you will not regret it.

Best read by those familiar with Shelley's tale, White offers an interesting twist on the original material and layers it with plenty of homages ("I will be with you on your wedding night" anyone?).

I absolutely adored this book, especially the final third of it. Kiersten White has such a gift when it comes to writing historical retellings and I will gladly read each and every one of them.

epilieaspiechick's review against another edition

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My full review can be found on the Epilie Aspie Chick blog!

The connection between Elizabeth and Victor is very intense considering they've lived together for so much of their lives due to her parents being gone. However, Elizabeth has lived with this sense of unease and distrust at the floor falling out underneath her. Victor is her entire support and backup plan for if his father (the Judge) would decide not to care for her anymore). So much of this book ends up being about the veil people put on for one another and the deceits that relationships can have. It's very tragic and I couldn't help but feel for Elizabeth as the drama unfolded.

sophiaalexisbooks's review against another edition

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This book is a fun Frankenstein retelling from the point of view of Elizabeth. I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I wasn't so familiar with the original text but I still found this enjoyable and I loved getting a different perspective on the events that occur in this book and the original.

loreofthebooks's review against another edition

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Elizabeth is devoted to Victor, and she can't see his faults. She knows Victor is the key to a great life, but she has to put up with Victor's strangeness. And his insanity. But will the cost be too high for Elizabeth?

I have yet to read anything by White that I hate. And I will admit, this was definitely not my favorite of her books, but I did very much enjoy it. White is a supremely talented writer and plotter. It is quite admirable.

"Selfish in life, selfish in death. That's what you com from."

First off, the concept of taking the original Frankenstein and then putting it from a woman's point of view was great. I've really enjoyed her woman characters. They all seem so powerful in their own ways. It makes reading the books an enjoyment. It was mostly the same for this book as well. I will say Elizabeth was a strong character, but I also didn't feel much love or hope for her. As a character I liked her. I think she is a great character because she is so flawed and damaged. But it makes her plot work very well for her. Justine creates a nice contrast to Elizabeth's character. This is not to say that Elizabeth lacked an arc, she didn't. It just didn't go in the way that I expected it to. I was surprised.

The trap was set. And I was both bait and poison.

There were a few characters in this book, but Elizabeth, Victor, Mary and Justine were the main ones. And more than that it was Elizabeth and her memories that were a big part of the story. I do think this book was mostly character driven, and in that aspect it really worked. Elizabeth drives the plot with her devotion to Victor. An almost blind devotion.

"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." 

I think the characterization of Victor and Elizabeth's relationship was interesting. There were many ups and downs, and in and outs. I could never quite guess what was going to happen next between them. And this was partially part of the plot.

It has been some time since I read Frankenstein, so I know I was head scratching a bit at parts I didn't quite remember. But overall, it didn't detract from the story. As long as you know the plot of the original book you'll be fine.

As I said earlier, White is a really talented writer. She creates a lot of atmosphere in her books and she draws you in. You don't know what is going to happen next or what act the characters are going to do. It was all very eerie. It resembled a bit of the tone of the original novel.

I was overall impressed with this book. But for some reason I can't put my finger on why I didn't love it. I just felt that even personal wise, there weren't a lot of stakes in this book. Something just didn't click. I still enjoyed it, but something felt missing and I cannot explain why.

aaayykay's review against another edition

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I had given up hope on this one, but the last 100 pages won me back. I think some people will be able to see the twist coming, but it is still pretty satisfying. It's extra delicious if you are familiar with Mary Shelley's original.

sammspott's review against another edition

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White's reimagining of Shelley's "Frankenstein" is possibly the most remarkably brilliant and unexpected novel I have read in quite a long time. White took an already dark and horrific tale, and re-spun it to reveal a girl whose only desire was to belong, a boy teeming with madness, and an incredibly unique take on the genesis of man's attempt to cheat death. This is a tale Shelley would indeed be proud of.

rebthack's review against another edition

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This was a good read! I enjoyed the re-telling of Frankenstein from Elizabeth’s perspective. Her initial complicity in Victor’s actions is believable and does much to cast his actions as those of a compelling sociopath.

Elizabeth’s refuge in nature is a nice contrast to Shelley’s original themes of Victor’s beast being a commentary on modernization/industrialization. Obviously, a lot of research was done - and it is evident in the book.

sabrinamc's review

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dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix