The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein
by Kiersten White
What is it about:
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 cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.
What did I think of it:
This is a re-imagining of Frankenstein, but told from the viewpoint of Elizabeth, Victor's childhood friend who eventually marries him.
And this is a wonderfully dark and atmospheric story. It starts with Elizabeth going in search of Victor while he is way to university, and switches back and forth between that timeline and events from the past. Slowly revealing how Elizabeth and Victor became friends, how they grew up together, and what's happening in both their lives in the 'now'.
As the story progresses you get a clear view inside the mind of Elizabeth, and it is not a nice place to be. Elizabeth is driven by the desire to stay alive and safe, and she is willing to do a lot to build a secure future for herself. But along the way she discovers dark and dangerous secrets, and she might actually be working towards disaster instead.
I could understand Elizabeth and rooted for her to succeed in her plans, even as I wanted to kick her for getting herself into trouble. I loved seeing this familiar story from Elizabeth's point of view, and I loved the changes White made to the story. It is a dark and delicious read.
Why should you read it:
It's a wonderfully dark re-imagining of Frankenstein
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