Hi everyone! I’m so excited to be participating in this blog tour for Kirsten White’s “The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein”, hosted by Rockstar Book Tours! This was such an insane (haha) ride that blew me away. Be sure to stick around after reading my review so you can enter the tour-wide giveaway then follow along the rest of the blog tour! Let’s get started!
Title: The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein
Author: Kirsten White
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: Sept. 25, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Horror
My Rating: ★★★★☆
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.
Trigger Warnings: animal deaths/killings, violence
I have never read the original story of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein so I was really curious about this retelling, not because I wanted to see how it compared to the original, but to see the story I knew from movies and TV shows in a YA setting with a female protagonist. Also, look at that gorgeous and creepy cover! The cover alone would have been enough to pique my interest to pick this up, but when I read the synopsis I was completely sold. It sounded like such a spooky and chilling tale, a perfect read for this time of year to help get into the Halloween spirit!
Things I Liked:
It took me a while to really become immersed in this story because the beginning was so slow, but once things started picking up it was almost impossible to stop. You know how there are slow-burn romances? Well, this is a slow-burn descent into darkness and insanity. The story has so many twists and turns, each one creepier and darker than the last, and is so enthralling it gradually sucks you in unexpectedly until you realize there’s no way out but onward. The writing is equal parts lovely and eerie, and very immersive. Kirsten does a fantastic job of slowly building the suspense and creepiness, slamming you with a dark truth, then lightening the mood so you’ll be off your guard before starting the process all over again. (And someone please discuss that ending with me because I did not catch the implications of it the first time until I reread it while writing this review! Seriously, OMG.)
Believe it or not, despite being so problematic and a total lunatic, Victor Frankenstein was one of my favorite characters in this book. He wasn’t at first; I found him very troubled and heartless and the cause of one of my major triggers. I have no sympathy for him whatsoever. However, as strange as it may sound, his descent into madness was really fascinating to see. Just when I think I’ve already figured Victor out, the depth of his depravity and potential for cruelty, he goes and proves me wrong by doing something even more horrific. I don’t even remember how many times I thought, “I can’t believe he did that.” Each new layer of his character that was uncovered also revealed how deep his madness and obsession went, and just how much of an impact Elizabeth unknowingly had on him.
Speaking of Elizabeth, I found her unlikable in the beginning of the book as well because it seemed as if she were the same as Victor – selfish, troubled, and heartless – and they were a match made in hea- well actually, I think hell would be the more appropriate term. But it didn’t take me long to realize that there was good in her and her main motivation for everything she did was for self-preservation, whereas Victor’s was obsession and arrogance. I can admire a girl just trying to survive in the situation she’s placed in, especially being a woman in 18th century Europe. Elizabeth’s incredibly brave, cunning, resourceful, and fierce. At times she’s a very morally gray character, complex, and I occasionally questioned her credibility as the narrator, but it was so interesting being in her point of view for this story.
I also have to mention two of my other favorite characters, Mary and Frankenstein’s monster. Mary is so clever, fierce, and independent I adored her immediately. The monster actually creeped me out more than I anticipated it to (one night I literally woke up to every single noise I heard because I was so on edge), but I really liked the suspenseful element it contributed to the first three quarters of the story.
Things I Disliked:
There are only a few triggers that really affect me, and this book contained one of my major ones: animal deaths/killings. Ever since I adopted my two dogs I’ve become such a huge animal lover that I can’t bear to see one hurt or suffering, fictional or not. I seriously considered DNF-ing this solely due to that trigger, but ultimately decided to power on. There are two main occurrences in this book where animals were killed and after discovering those scenes I had to stop, put the book down, and take a breather. I understand the purpose of those scenes but would have definitely appreciated a warning before stumbling upon them myself.
I ended up enjoying this disturbing, dark novel more than I anticipated and I am so glad I powered through even after being seriously triggered. A deliciously dark, twisted, retelling of the well-known classic Gothic tale, The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein is captivating and filled with suspense at every turn. Told in beautifully lyrical and haunting prose, this novel shines light on the meaning of family, what it means to be a monster, and makes you wonder who the true monsters really are.
About the Author:
KIERSTEN WHITE is the New York Times bestselling author of The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, the And I Darken series, comprised of And I Darken, Now I Rise, and Bright We Burn; the Paranormalcy series; Slayer, and many more novels. She lives with her family near the ocean in San Diego, which, in spite of its perfection, spurs her to dream of faraway places and even further-away times.
Blog Tour Schedule:
10/15/2018- Under the Book Cover– Review
10/16/2018- Simply Daniel Radcliffe– Review
10/17/2018- Novel Novice– Review
10/18/2018- My Fangirl Chronicles– Review
10/19/2018- Pandora’s Books– Review
10/22/2018- Jessica Writes– Review
10/23/2018- Tween 2 Teen Book Reviews– Review
10/24/2018- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review
10/25/2018- Savings in Seconds– Review
10/26/2018- Vicky Who Reads– Review
10/29/2018- Smada’s Book Smack– Review
10/30/2018- YA Books Central– Interview
10/31/2018- For the Lover of Books– Review
11/1/2018- Malanie Loves Fiction– Review
11/2/2018- Oh Hey! Books.– Review
11/5/2018- The Hermit Librarian– Review
11/6/2018- Tales of the Ravenous Reader– Interview
11/7/2018- BookHounds YA– Review
11/8/2018- Eli to the nth– Review
11/9/2018- Portrait of a Book– Review
3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE DARK DESCENT OF ELIZABETH FRANKENSTEIN
Have you read The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Thanks so much for checking out my stop for the blog tour! Be sure to check out the tour schedule to follow along as the tour continues because we’ve just gotten started! See you next time!