September 16, 2018

Book Review: The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein
Author: Kiersten White
Genre: YA Historical/Retelling
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Publisher: Delacorte


Elizabeth Lavenza hasn't had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her "caregiver," and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets...until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything--except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable--and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth's survival depends on managing Victor's dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the the world she knows is consumed by darkness.
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein was one of my most anticipated reads of this year, so I started it with high hopes and expectations. I'm happy to say that it didn't let me down in the least, even if it wasn't exactly what I thought it would be. The writing was superb and drew me in from the very first line. I ended up reading the entire book in a few hours, in one sitting. 

One of the top things that were a huge plus for me was the author's writing style. She uses the first person point of view to tell the story - from Elizabeth's perspective. I absolutely love that she wrote the book this way. It's by far my favorite writing style and I never think books written in another POV are quite as good. I admired Elizabeth and enjoyed getting to know her throughout the novel. She was always in a cage of some sort - worrying about her future and making sure she would never have to go back to the poverty she knew as a child. This was achieved by making Victor Frankenstein adore her and refuse to be without her. I felt bad for Elizabeth and can't imagine what she had to put up with and the thought that her life never really felt like hers at all. Another thing about the book that I really loved was the portrayal of Victor. It's almost like a character study of him and his descent into madness. I loved seeing him as a child and then growing into the strange and intense man that we all know from Shelley's novel. The author did an amazing job keeping with the original character and making him feel realistic and authentic. 

The plot was fascinating and took a few turns I didn't see coming - especially the ending. Don't ask me why I didn't see it - looking back it was plain as day. It was almost a kind of love story, in a twisted manner, of Victor's feelings toward Elizabeth - and even Elizabeth's love for Victor. It shows in the extent they go for one another, supposedly without the other ever knowing. Except Elizabeth finds out and that's when everything erupts into chaos. It's sick but sweet the lengths that Victor was willing to go for Elizabeth. Or maybe I'm just crazy myself. The ending was great - and don't forget to read the epilogue! I'll be re-reading this again soon just to lose myself in the past and into the crazed world the author created for Victor and Elizabeth. Very highly recommended for fans of YA fiction, historical, fiction, fantasy, horror, and re-tellings.


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