The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein Paperback – 8 October 2019
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"Exquisitely disturbing. The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein is a beautiful tapestry of horror, sewn together with threads of madness, obsession, and murder. Kiersten White has written a masterful and monstrous retelling."—STEPHANIE GARBER, #1 New York Times and internationally bestselling author of Caraval and Legendary
"Visceral, sinister, and inescapably compelling, The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein feels at once reverent of its inspiration, and entirely new. White's skill is scalpel-sharp." —VICTORIA SCHWAB, #1 New York Times bestselling author of This Savage Song
"In the hands of master storyteller Kiersten White, the bones of a familiar story are reconstructed to form an inventive, grotesque, and completely unexpected reimagining of Frankenstein. Mary Shelley would be proud."—MACKENZI LEE, New York Times bestselling author of The Gentlemen's Guide to Vice and Virtue
“Kiersten White has breathed fresh life into a much-loved classic. Even Mary Shelley herself would be riveted by the dark lengths Elizabeth Lavenza would go to in order to survive. A dark and lovely midnight read.—MEGAN SHEPHERD, New York Times bestselling author of The Madman's Daughter trilogy
★ "Breathtaking."—PW, starred review
★ "This novel indeed descends to “dark and hellish” depths, but captivated readers will avidly plumb them in the company of the complicated and compelling Elizabeth Frankenstein."—Horn Book, starred review
“In this clever retelling of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, White neatly undercuts the original by making Victor’s narrative wildly unreliable . . . this character-driven novel with a healthy amount of gore should appeal to horror fans, too.” —Booklist
“White adds emotional depth to a character who was passive in Shelley’s original. She highlights, with feminist sensitivity, Elizabeth’s total dependence as a woman of her time, playing whatever part is necessary to ensure her future. The novel continues in the gothic tradition of the source material, and the title speaks volumes about the darkness of tone and content. The language is often surprisingly lyrical with the narrative flowing smoothly despite frequent flashbacks. Twists and tweaks, especially toward the end, may take readers of Frankenstein by surprise, but will not spoil either book. Recommended for YA collections traveling on the dark side.”—SLJ
“An all-around win.”—Kirkus
PRAISE FOR THE AND I DARKEN SERIES:
“A dark and twisty fantasy. . . . Think Game of Thrones . . . but with teens.”—Seventeen
“Sinister, suspenseful, and unapologetically feminist.”—Buzzfeed
“Will completely spin you into another time and place.”—Bustle
“Takes no prisoners, offering up brutal, emotional historical fiction.”—NPR.org
“Gleams with fierce, cunning characters—absolutely riveting.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Alexandra Bracken
“As richly complex and glittering as the Ottoman Empire itself.” —Robin LaFevers
“Kiersten White is a genius.”—Justine Larbalestier, author of MY SISTER ROSA and LIAR
About the Author
@kierstenwhite on Twitter
@authorkierstenwhite on Instagram
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- Publisher : Ember; Reprint edition (8 October 2019)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0525577963
- ISBN-13 : 978-0525577966
- Reading age : 12 - 16 years
- Item Weight : 227 g
- Dimensions : 13.97 x 1.7 x 20.96 cm
- Country of Origin : India
- Best Sellers Rank: #202,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top review from India
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It’s always interesting to see a fresh take on a beloved classic by a modern day author. Kiersten White rose to the challenge and how! I The author manages to put a unique spin on this classic horror story with many nods to the original. She takes a popular misconception about the classic and makes in true in this version. The highlight is of course having Elizabeth as our main character and seeing the events unfold from her perspective. A morally gray female protagonist in a Victorian horror novel, you say? Take my money right now. The writing is evocative and gives you all the hair raising creepy feels you expect from such a book. The dialogues feel authentic to the time period. The author brilliantly puts the spotlight on Elizabeth’s near constant frustration at being a woman with no agency and having to depend upon others for safety. Even though she is calculating, cold and cunning, Elizabeth manages to invoke our sympathy at times. She has a huge blind spot when it comes to Victor and there is a lesson here about how emotional abuse and gas lighting can cloud your judgement of someone. Both Victor and Elizabeth are depraved in their own way and their love story is one for the horror books.
Rating: 5 stars
Top reviews from other countries
I wasn't sure what I was going to make of this one, having never read Frankenstein, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it! The characterisation is well done I feel and Elizabeth is never presented as someone dim or unable to fight for herself. In fact, throughout the entire book it shows how she can adapt to her circumstances and become what people need her to be in that moment. She is also very brave and loyal but ultimately is out to save herself. She is never presented as someone who has gone along with things unknowingly, although it's clear she doesn't have a whole picture of events.
It is most definitely dark and disturbing in places, especially as Elizabeth becomes more aware of what Victor is getting up to and what he means to do to her. I'd say it's definitely a chilling read but it never feels gory or over the top spooky. I'm not normally one for historical-based reads but this one was definitely up my alley and one I would recommend! It also makes me want to read Frankenstein so I may have to get around to that sometime.
When I found out about "The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein" I immediately downloaded it on my Kindle and couldn't put it down.
Kiersten White has a great way of making the story her own and still being respectful to the original. Her writing is simply beautiful and suitable for the era of the story.
What I loved most, however, were the characters. Both Elizabeth and Victor are flawed, especially Victor is truly twisted. Justine, as a counterpart, is an angel and I loved Victor's little brother William. The original character Mary is just awesome. Elizabeth's character development was well done and believable.
The story is dark, compelling and positively creepy. I didn't find the first half boring, as some obviously did, instead I loved the slow-building story in combination with flashbacks about Elizabeth's and Victor's childhood and youth. I've read some claiming that nothing happens in the first half which I absolutely don't understand. Actually, a lot happens and we find out a lot about the characters and their motivation, especially Elizabeth's as the story is told from her point of view. Admittedly there's asee coming. As it's not an exact retelling of the original novel, the twists are surprising even if you've read "Frankenstein".
If you have a severe problem with animal or child abuse, this may not be the book for you. There are only a few pages about these matters but if you are sensitive about this, you might want to consider reading something else. Personally, I didn’t mind (which doesn’t mean I don’t like animals or children!).
However, there was one thing I didn't like so much. It was not too bad, but it wasn't my favourite part. I can't go into it without massive spoilers, so I'll just leave it at that. It doesn't ruin anything but I could have done without and it's the reason I would give the book only 4.5 stars if I could.