Monday, November 5, 2012

Book Review: Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel

WARNING: Spoilers for Book One of The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, This Dark Endeavor, ahead!

When we last left young Victor Frankenstein, all his sacrifices to create the Elixir of Life, including two fingers of his right hand, were for naught - the vita elixir failed to save his beloved twin brother, Konrad.  Chateau Frankenstein is in deep mourning.  Victor's father has ordered the Dark Library destroyed, convinced that alchemy leads to nothing but false glory and death.  Victor's mother is in seclusion, and Konrad's fiancee (and the object of Victor's desire) the lovely, fiery Elizabeth has decided to join a convent.  Victor has sworn off alchemy and dark magic, his guilt at not being able to save his twin eating at him.

Until he finds the book.

Glinting from the ashes of the Dark Library, the small red metal book survived the inferno untouched.  Despite his better judgement, Victor secrets it away to his room, where he discovers that the metal object is not a book, but a container disguised as a book.  Inside the box, Victor finds instructions for constructing a spirit board to converse with the dead and a star-shaped pendant.

When Victor tests the spirit board at midnight, with Elizabeth skeptically looking on, he receives what he is sure is a message from Konrad - Come raise me.  Despite Elizabeth's protests to leave dark things in the dark, Victor sets out on a quest to enter the spirit world and find his brother.  With Elizabeth's reluctant help, and the brilliant mind of their friend Henry Clerval, Victor uncovers a twisting maze of secrets hidden in plain sight in the chateau - and a narrow passage into a shadow world of spirits.  But bringing Konrad back means losing Elizabeth to his brother - and for the first time, Victor feels as though he might have a chance to win her.

If you devoured Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle trilogy, couldn't put down Rick Yancey's The Monstrumologist, love gothic horror stories or a good twist on a creepy classic, you've got to check out The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein series!  Arrogant, brilliant, and careless of the consequences in his thirst for power and knowledge, Victor is an unsettling and ambiguous narrator.  But he is not the only one who feels the allure of a darker self inside the spirit world.  Headstrong, passionate Elizabeth and clever, poetic Henry both find themselves drawn into Victor's dark quest to twist the very laws of nature - and the nature of life.  Curl up with this tale of alchemy and the occult on a dark and stormy night this November!

(who, speaking of classic twists, just finished Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin, a Victorian dystopia where a plague has created a world where only the wealthy survive based on the short story by the master of gothic horror, Edgar Allan Poe!)

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