Books · Reviews

Halloween Mini Review – The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein (Spoiler-Free)

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE πŸ˜€

To celebrate, here’s my treat: a final mini review. (I KNOW, I’ll miss them too! But we’ll get more next year πŸ™‚ )

Anyways, I hope you all have a wonderful time tonight! πŸ¦‡ Stay spooky πŸ¦‡

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Elizabeth Lavenza is given to a boy as a gift. Her job is to be the boy’s friend. Her job is to be liked. Because if she’s liked, they will keep her and she won’t have to go back to her miserable old life. But the boy’s Victor Frankenstein and he requires much more than friendship on her part. He needs her to help him keep his dark secrets. He needs her to be his Elizabeth.

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cat.png Despite being a relatively short book, I felt as if it was taking its sweet time with me. It didn’t feel slow in a boring way, it just felt strangely companionable, despite its macabre tone – much like the Frankenstein monster.

cat.png I really like how White approached and explored the lives of women in 18th Century Europe. It was terrifying to be a woman back then (I guess it still is, at times) and the hardships they had to go through were unthinkable. That fear mixed extremely well with the rest of the story and made it easier to resonate with a female audience.

cat.png The feminism in this book is palpable. There are several instances where women challenge misogynistic characters and society in general, not always coming on top but still persisting, and that was really heart-warming to read about. It’s also interesting to see Victor’s perspective on the subject, compare it to that of his other fellow males, and then align it with his view of the world in general.

cat.png I loved Victor Frankenstein’s development throughout the book. His “humble” beginnings shift almost imperceptibly before everyone and keep the reader on their toes. It’s a delicious disquietude that adds to the story’s already tantalizing atmosphere.

cat.png The relationship between Elizabeth and Victor is toxic and problematic, at best, but not less fascinating to read about. Maybe I’m a bit biased because I love (fictional) dysfunctional relationships, but I felt theirs was extremely well done. For one, it had a credible foundation that had nothing to do with “feelings”. Second, its culmination was incredibly satisfying and, again, believable.

cat.png The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein depicts human relationships and mental pathologies in a very honest light. Characters who are unapologetically twisted – some as bi-products of their circumstances and upbringing, some simply born like so – made the story come to life. The nature/nurture duality was so tightly interwoven into the narrative, it became the narrative.

cat.png The plot twists… Wow. I can’t say for certain whether one could predict them if they’d read the original tale by Mary Shelley (since I haven’t read it myself) but personally I felt they really enriched the story and made for a very compelling read. I kept holding my breath, not knowing what was going to happen next and wanting to, desperately!

cat.png For once, I didn’t mind the flashbacks at all. In fact, I thought they were able to shape the plot and characters in a much more interesting and enlightening way (by showing, rather than telling). They were also carefully timed to provide just enough detail to not spoil my enjoyment and keep me entertained.

cat.png I’m conflicted about the epilogue, however. I’m not sure if I’d prefer the story without it or if it could have been done a different way or if it’s just brilliant and ties the story together perfectly. See? I said I was conflicted.

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Overall, this book surprised me a lot. It was my first Kiersten White and I have to say I will most definitely be reading more from her.

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein was well written, the plot intricate and compelling, the characters so deliciously twisted, and the atmosphere absolutely Halloween-worthy.

I know my views on this book will probably be very different from those who’ve read the original Frankenstein but I still recommend giving it a go!

~ Check out more Halloween Mini Reviews! ~

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Are you familiar with Kiersten White’s books?

Do you like retellings?

Have you read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley?

Let me know in the comments below! 😊

Thank you so much for reading!

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49 thoughts on “Halloween Mini Review – The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein (Spoiler-Free)

  1. I’m definitely going to miss these many reviews 😒😒 But…wow, you have saved one of the best ones for last haven’t you. This was awesome! 😊😊 I love the Frankenstein story, it’s one of those ones that never gets old. And it’s nice to see a book that expands upon that story in some way. I have never read anything by this writer, but I will add this one to my list for sure: and that’s pretty much because of your amazing review! I hope you have had a great Halloween! Thanks for another great post πŸŽƒπŸŽƒ

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    1. I didn’t do it on purpose but I’m sure glad it ended up that way hahaha
      Thank you so much, Michell 😊 This book made me very curious about the original tale, that’s for sure, so I can’t wait to read it. Getting your wonderful feedback has only made me even more excited!
      This was my first book of hers too but it did leave a good impression πŸ™‚ I can only hope any others I read next will be just as good!
      Aw now you made blush! That’s honestly the nicest thing a blogger can hear ❀ It always warms my heart when people take my recs 😊
      I did have a wonderful Halloween, thank you! I hope you did too πŸ˜‰ Thank you so much for reading and for your amazing comment, as always ^^

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha, well, this year’s Halloween for me was a normal day. Didn’t do much to celebrate it, as I had to work. I will be seeing the new Halloween movie tomorrow, so in that way I guess I’m still going to celebrate it in some way 😊
        Hope you will enjoy the original tale, it’s very good 😊
        And of course you are welcom! Thank YOU for all of these wonderful posts of the past few weeks😊

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        1. Oh that’s a shame! I had to work too but was able to put together a nice dinner with friends still (after a lot of planning and preparating during the weekend/week!)

          I hope you enjoy it! I’m very intrigued because I couldn’t bring myself to finish the original one? It was just so slow and boring… I know, I know, it’s a classic but this one just feels like it didn’t age well at all and didn’t make me scared one bit! Me, who’s the biggest wimp of all xD So, yeah, it was a problem.

          Did you like the original one? Because maybe it’s just me, and I’m offending one of your favourite horror movies of all time and if that’s true, I’m really sorry! >o< I'm very curious to hear about your opinion, though, so pretty please write a review on it? Pleeeease? πŸ˜€

          Oh stop it you… Thank YOU for reading them all and leaving lovely comments ❀ 😊

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Well, I still enjoyed myself nonetheless, but I have seen way too few horrormovies these past few weeks. Hopefully next year things will be different 😊
            Haha well the funny thing is : I already wrote that one :https://raistlin0903.wordpress.com/2017/10/21/halloween-american-movie-1978/
            But yeah I can understand that not everybody likes it 😊 It’s still a every cool film in my opinion and definitely still one of my alltime favorite horror movies. Lol…and you are not offending at all. I always respect other people’s opinions, so really no worries at all 😊 As for the new Halloween, I have a review coming up for that one sometime later this week. But…I was dissappointed by it…I can already tell you that 😊

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            1. Ugh, my tiny goldfish memory! I don’t even know if I’ve read that review or not yet but I certainly will now πŸ™‚
              Oh, that’s too bad! I’m so sorry to hear it… But I guess remakes/sequels are like that. There’s not much to be done ^^’
              I’ll look forward to your review, then! πŸ˜€

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Lol…no worries about it. I have read so many blog posts these past years, I can’t remember everything I have read either 😊😊
                Well…there was a sequel to Halloween that I did really like: Halloween H20. It was made 20 years after the original, and I quite enjoyed it.
                My review will go up in all likelyhood somewhere on Tuesday 😊

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  2. Sounds like an interesting take on the Frankenstein story! I’ve read the original – I really love the core part of it that is told from the monster’s perspective… the parts around it, not so much (it’s sandwiched between letters/tellings from other characters’ perspectives, most of which I found very dull and which felt more like padding to me… also I guess maybe I just didn’t like the other characters as much as I liked Frankenstein’s monster! πŸ™‚ ).

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    1. Hmm I see… Usually when a book has too many POVs and different formats, it makes it a bit too overwhelming for me. But I’ll give it a try nonetheless, as I’ve been meaning to for the longest time πŸ™‚ Thanks for the heads up!
      I’m glad you enjoyed it and can only hope you love this one too 😊 There’s unfortunately not a lot of screen time for the monster but most of the characters were quite enjoyable so hopefully it makes up for it ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well it wasn’t so much that it had so many POVs that it became overwhelming (since I think there are only three in total) – it was more that I found one of them boring, and another a bit annoying at times πŸ™‚ But that said I think it was largely in the beginning that it was slow, and it’s not a long book, so once you get past that first section it gets much more interesting. So I definitely still recommend reading it! Just don’t expect to be blown away right at the start πŸ™‚

        Good the other characters were enjoyable in this retelling though!

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  3. For a short book it’s sure got a lot of important themes in it. I guess it shows how well written it is if the author can discuss themes such as feminism in a short book and still have it not feel rushed. Great mini review ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s what surprised me the most! And also the fact that it doesn’t feel short at all – quite the opposite in fact. It didn’t drag or anything but it certainly kept a very casual pace.
      I thought the themes were very well handled and certainly enriched the plot πŸ™‚ I hope you enjoy this book if you decide to pick it up. And thank you so much, Jazz! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This book is one that I have wanted to read ever since I heard about it. It sounds like a book that I would completely adore. I’m glad to see that you enjoyed it, now I’m even more exited to pick it up. πŸ˜€ Hopefully I’ll be able to get my hands on it soon. Great review! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you would too! It’s definitely a great Halloween read, and perfect for fans of gothic novels. I guess the closest I could get to off the top of my head is the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. It’s not the exact same but has that same macabre atmosphere to it as well as the feminist vibe πŸ™‚
      I hope you get to do it soon and end up loving it, Anna! Thank you so much ❀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Raven! ❀
      Yes I loved your review of it and it only made me more curious to try this book πŸ™‚ I'm glad I had a better experience too, even though I was sad you didn't enjoy it as much as you could have! I guess not having read the original played in my favour, though I've heard you can miss quite a few nice references too if you haven't… Oh well. I'll re-read it after Frankenstein! ^^

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  5. This sounds like a really interesting read, Sophie. Not a book that I would naturally pick up, but your review has so many facets to it that I’m intrigued. Thanks for the recommendation. πŸ™‚ Hope you had a great Halloween!

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    1. Yeah I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t read the original and thus was more surprised than everyone else who did, or if the author really did go out of her way to make them unpredictable. But that was my experience anyway πŸ™‚ I hope it’s the same for you!
      Thank you, Alicia, that’s really sweet of you ❀ I'm so glad to hear it!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love fictional dysfunctional relationships too! Not sure what that says about me. This book sounds interesting though! I’m still trying to recover from her other series based on Vlad the Impaler, so it may be awhile before I trust enough to pick up another one of Kiersten White’s novels. If this one is anything like that series, then I totally get why you were conflicted. I devoured the series and yet I was so frustrated with the protagonist by the end. Seems like the author’s got a thing for dark stories though. Great review!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha not sure what that says about me, either xD But only fictional ones, so I think we’re safe πŸ˜›
      I’ve heard so many mixed reviews about it, yet I’ll definitely give it a go sometime in the future. Just wanted to try this one out while it’s fresh and Halloween’s still around!
      I’m not sure how I’ll react to And I Darken or the protagonist but I did like Elizabeth and had been looking for one just like her for a while now. I just love morally grey characters! Or ones that are downright foul and despicable xD So tired of goody-two-shoes… So Kiersten’s stories sound right up my alley πŸ™‚
      Thank you so much, Rylee! I hope you enjoy this one when you gt to it πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow Sophie you really nailed this review! I loved everything about it. And if this is your short review I wonder what your “normal” reviews will be LOL. To answer your question yes I am familiar with Kirsten White’s work and yes I love it!

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    1. Thank you, Sophie! That’s lovely to hear ❀ Hahaha I admit I did stretch this one a bit longer than I had planned to, and it's probably my longest one out of all the Halloween mini reviews. But I guess I wanted to go out with a bang πŸ˜›
      I'm so glad you do! I have to read some more of her books soon πŸ™‚

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  8. Oooh this sounds intriguing! I really like Frankenstein. It wasn’t what I expected at all. I read it for my 19th century women class when I was at university (the best class I took the entire time I was there) and it was so much more nuanced, and much sadder than I expected it to be. I recommend it!

    This sounds so good. I really like retellings – especially feminist retellings with originally under appreciated female characters! I am officially intrigued.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha I can see why it would be if you got to read awesome books like that!
      I will definitely have to pick it up in the future and see how it compares to the retelling πŸ™‚ Hopefully it won’t have spoiled it for me! I guess I just have to let some time pass in order to forget about most of what happened (which insn’t hard considering my terrible memory xD)
      All of that sounds awesome, though, and so much more than I was expecting Frankenstein to be too!
      I think you will definitely appreciate this one πŸ™‚ Elizabeth wasn’t a perfect protagonist, but that’s what made her so interesting in my opinion. The feminism was a great undertone too!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m glad you enjoyed this book Sophie (though I am a little sad this is your last Halloween review, but maybe you can do Christmas themed ones (even though I’m not sure there are enough Christmas-themed books out there, I can only think of one or two off the top of my head)). πŸ˜€
    I haven’t read all of White’s books but I love her And I Darken series so I feel like this should be high on my TBR list because I imagine it’s the same kind of historical/fantasy genre as Lada’s story was. It sounds like this book was well written, especially when it comes to the characters and their relationships, I guess in a book like this it’s important to get the characters right, and it’s great that even though this was a short book it had such an impact.
    Great review, as always Sophie. πŸ™‚ ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Beth! Oh yes I’ll definitely bring the Christmas reviews back next month, and have a grand time finding themed books for them as well πŸ˜‰ I’ve some that I didn’t have a chance to pick up last year, so maybe I’ll be able to give them a go now! I have a GR shelf just for those, if you happen to need any ^^
      I’ve been meaning to try that series for aaaaages now but felt it would be best to just wait for all the books to be out before diving in. Which has happened so now I can!
      The characters certainly comprise a big chunk of this book’s magic. Without them, the story would have felt very flat and boring. Even if some bits could be considered predictable by some people, it’s the way the characters respond to the situations and to their feelings/each other that shape the narrative into something I could appreciate πŸ™‚
      That’s what puzzled me the most: it didn’t feel short at all and packed such a punch, it surprised me! I wish more books were like that… And the opposite as well – a long book that doesn’t feel long and instead makes you crave for more!
      Thank you so much again, Beth, for your lovely lovely comment ❀ πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right, and in that case I’m glad to hear you have enough books to do Christmas themed reviews! I’ll be looking very forwards to them (I’m a much bigger fan of Christmas than I am New Years!) Yep, probably a good idea, I wouldn’t say there are any massive cliffhangers but it’ll be nice to be able to head straight from one into the other without having to wait.
        That’s the important thing right? That when the plot is slow the characters are well developed and enough to keep your attention.
        I guess sometimes there are books that don’t feel the length they are because you get so absorbed in the story. It’s happened to me before with long books (they don’t seem as long as they are because I read them so quickly). Guess it makes sense it would work the other way around too. πŸ™‚
        That’s all right. πŸ™‚ ❀

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  10. i was juuust looking at this book randomly in the store yesterday because it looked so cool and now i’m seeing it everywhere!! great review πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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