HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE 😀
To celebrate, here’s my treat: a final mini review. (I KNOW, I’ll miss them too! But we’ll get more next year 🙂 )
Anyways, I hope you all have a wonderful time tonight! 🦇 Stay spooky 🦇
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!