The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein // Book Review

Title: The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein
Author: Kiersten White
Published: 2018
Genre: YA/Gothic/Retelling
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Synopsis
A stunning and dark reimagining of Frankenstein told from the point-of-view of Elizabeth Lavenza, who is taken in by the Frankenstein family. 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 cost…as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.


I heard mixed things about this book; some people thoroughly enjoyed it, while others didn’t care for it. I’m not particularly well versed in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, so I was going in completely unbiased. However, I will admit there were a few times throughout the book that I looked up cliff-notes on ‘Frankenstein.’ I found the book very easy to read and follow. The plot was straightforward, and even the ‘flashback’ moments were incorporated well.

It wasn’t a book that I was dying to finish, at first. But once we got into the meat of the story, I wanted to keep reading. The plot was captivating enough to keep me invested in what was going to happen next. I wouldn’t say that I couldn’t put it down, but I did want to know out how the story would end.

Elizabeth was a complex character, with lots of worries and insecurities that she kept hidden. Before meeting the Frankenstein family, her childhood was depressing, and she thought that she came from nothing. She wanted to have a place in society and desired to fit in. She was smart, and crafted plans that would keep her out of the poor house.

I think that Elizabeth’s best quality was her heart. She had a sensible and tough exterior, but would do anything for her loved ones. This did get her in trouble at times. Especially when it came to her devotion to Victor. I am unaware of the ‘original’ Elizabeth’s personality, but I still liked White’s take on the character. She seems like a simple girl, yet there are many layers underneath.

Personally, I enjoyed the slower pace of the story. I think that a more atmospheric telling worked well in this case. However, I understand how some people would consider the book to be boring. The story was primarily character driven while still being plot focused. There were secondary characters that played big roles throughout the story, but the focus and storyteller was Elizabeth herself.

It wasn’t a scary story, which I believe is unlike ’Frankenstein.’ It is more of a sad story about protecting the people we love versus seeing the real them. Elizabeth could only ignore the truth for so long before it came crashing down on her. It was frightening to see the situations that Elizabeth, Justine, and Henry ended up in. Elizabeth’s predicament was the most unsettling, since it was something many women in 19th century faced. Men would silence women through manipulation, which is horrifying and despicable.

As for Kiersten White writing style, it was very familiar to me. She wrote with such class, almost melodic, if that makes any sense. It was almost as if this book was actually written back in the 1800’s. Her writing was poetic, but still plain. I don’t mean plain as an insult by any means, because I quite liked the writing. But I can see that she drew a lot of inspiration from Mary Shelley and the 1800’s era.

I don’t know if I will ever read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, but the fact that she wrote it on a dare is inspiring. Women back than were seen as subservient, but she freed herself from the box society put her in. White took a classic novel and made it her own, while still writing it in the image of the original story. Amazing.

Let me know if you have read this book, or the original ‘Frankenstein’. Which do you prefer? Like and share this post with all your friends, family, pets, etc. And follow the blog if you want to get notifications for all my posts.

Until The Next Chapter,
Bunny

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