The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
A HUGE thank you to Penguin Random House for sharing an advanced copy of this one with me - all opinions are my own.
First and foremost, it needs to be said that I would happily give this book 20 out of 5 stars if that was such a rating. Besides being of of the most gorgeous book covers I have ever owned (shimmering blush pink, mixed with Frankenstein stitches anyone?), this is one of those rare books that seemingly comes out of nowhere to land itself squarely on your Top 5 Reads of 2018 list, and which will be a favorite and often revisited read for many, many years to come.
With 2018 being the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Kiersten White has produced a dazzling re-imagining, completely and entirely stealing my bookworm heart in the process. In this newest version of the story, Elizabeth Lavenza is an orphan who has no hope in this world, until the Frankenstein's embrace her into their family, hoping she will be a friend for their oldest son Victor, a child whose dangerous temper and odd personality have left him entirely solitary. Elizabeth flourishes, and soon her only focus in life is being exactly what Victor needs her to be, regardless of what she must overlook to maintain that.
Told in alternating time periods of the present, where Elizabeth is working to bring an adult Victor home to her, ensuring her safety within the Frankenstein family, and the years of their youth, growing up together and becoming inseparable friends, this is a book you literally cannot put down. I was torn between wanting to tear through the pages to see what would happen, and wanting to drag this story out forever, so that this magical, horrible world would never end. I won’t lie, I lost that battle and devoured it in one sitting, keeping me up WELL into the night to finish - and WELL after that thinking about it.
All of our favorite characters are here, and Kiersten does phenomenal work of making them all deeply interesting, complex and relatable. I was instantly drawn into this new perspective of Elizabeth being the central voice of the story, especially as her world slowly begins to fall apart at the hands of Victor's madness; a madness that she has worked so hard to protect him from and contain. Having a strong, willful and determined female voice lead this particular version was deeply satisfying, and unexpectedly breathed new life into a beloved story.
I don’t want to reveal too much, because this book should be left to each readers own unique devouring - it is too delicious to ruin even a single page of it for anyone.
This should WITHOUT QUESTION, be on your fall reads list this year - it will be the perfect book to usher in the Halloween season. As for me, this book now has a home on my permanent re-read list, and I already cannot wait to dive in again.