The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, by Kiersten White

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein revisited through the eyes of Elizabeth Frankenstein.

I read Frankenstein about twenty years ago and honestly, I barely remember much from the book itself. I remember some of the class discussions afterwards, but that’s it. If I had remembered it well, I most likely wouldn’t have read this book. I tend to dislike retellings or reimaginings of classics except in very specific circumstances. So I have no idea if this book follows the events of the original, no idea if it touches on the same elements, no idea if it follows the same timeline, no idea if it introduces the same characters. I have to take it as its own entity, with the original Frankenstein far in the background.

And I’m not sure I liked it. There were certainly many interesting elements, and I liked the idea of following Elizabeth through the story. One big thing got on my nerves, though, and eventually caused my interest to fade. There were too many flashback sections that served to fill in exposition backstory. I would have loved to see those integrated into the story instead of being a constant stop in the flow.  By the time I was just past the halfway point of the book, I almost gave up on it. I think I kept reading purely because it was a quick and easy read, even though I kept getting annoyed. By the end, while it felt like a good story, I missed the deeper, thicker elements of the original. This felt like just a story, not a philosophical and religious struggle, or even a gender-related struggle, which is what it seemed to imply in the beginning.

I don’t know. I guess I was just disappointed. I loved White’s Vlad the Impaler series so much. It was thick and rich and full of intricacy, and I wanted this to be the same. I think it could have been the same. But it wasn’t, not for me, and in the end, it would have been better had I stopped reading at the point when I realized the book wasn’t going to work for me.

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
This entry was posted in 2018, Prose, Young Adult and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, by Kiersten White

  1. kay says:

    Aww, sorry to hear this one disappointed you. The premise sounds so good. I still haven’t read her previous Vlad series though, so I guess that’s where I’ll start first.


  2. Trisha says:

    I do like books like this – interventions in original, canonical works. But you do take your chances when they are YAL retellings. I’ll have to check out the Vlad one.


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