I've always enjoyed a good re-imagining of a classic story; whether based on a legendary myth or a popular work of fiction, I really love when a writer tackles the often difficult task of breathing new life into a well-known tale. Kenneth Oppel does so with expert finesse in This Dark Endeavour (HarperCollins Canada). The story is a prequel to the popular classic novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley; it follows the adolescent Victor Frankenstein in the events that propel him on the dark path that will lead to the creation of his infamous monster.
Victor and Konrad Frankenstein are twin brothers who, along with their distant cousin Elizabeth and best friend Henry, get up to all kinds of mischievous adventures on the grounds of Castle Frankenstein. When Konrad falls deathly ill and no doctor is able to find a cure, it is up to the other three to take drastic measures to save his life. Konrad enters the forbidden Dark Library, hidden in the basement of Castle Frankenstein, and finds the recipe for an ancient alchemical potion called The Elixir of Life. With help from Elizabeth and Henry, Victor must embark on a series of harrowing tasks to gather the necessary ingredients for the Elixir, before it is too late.
This book was so much fun to read; not only is it adventurous and fast-paced but the storytelling is really detailed. The plot progresses quickly and Oppel weaves in details through Victor's narrative in a way that really worked for me. Victor makes for a fascinating protagonist; he is a bit of an anti-hero and at times his behaviour is deplorable, but I still found myself rooting for him. He has some pretty fantastic moments of bravery and selflessness that help to prove his heart is ultimately in the right place (for now). I felt Oppel really hit the nail on the head when it came to striking the balance between Victor's good and evil sides.
This Dark Endeavour is one of my favourite reads so far this year; the gothic style, the historic setting and a compelling narrator all make for a really engrossing book. Though it does have the quick pace and plot-driven writing style common in contemporary YA fiction (one of the many reasons I love reading teen novels), for me there was a lot of complexity written between the lines in this book. The sequel entitled Such Wicked Intent is due out at the end of this summer and I plan to head out to my local bookstore that very day so I can get right back into the story.
I have been MIA from my blog for a couple weeks, due to the hectic and beautiful thing I call my life. A lot has been happening in my world in the last little bit that has kept me preoccupied, both literally and mentally/emotionally. I had an interview for a really great publishing job in Toronto, finished up my internship at First Book Canada (no more long commuting!) and upon hearing not a peep about the job I was waiting on, decided I wanted to put my energy into another option I'd been toying with for some time: moving to the wonderful city of Kingston, ON.
My boyfriend Jess got a really great job in Kingston back in January. We both finished school around the same time so we were in the same boat when it came to looking for work, and I am so proud of him for finding a job in his field. Of course, I was living in Guelph and commuting to my internship in Mississauga everyday, so this meant a lot of time apart. We've been in a long distance relationship for about a year and we are both ready for that to come to an end. So, when it seemed I hadn't gotten the job and my internship was finishing up, I decided to move to Kingston so I could be with the love of my life.
It was a hard decision because 95% of publishing jobs are in Toronto so for me, a move to Kingston means that for the next little while, I likely won't be working in publishing. That isn't to say that Kingston doesn't have a vibrant literary scene; there are two wonderful independent bookstores (one new and one used), the Kingston Writers Festival, a lot of writers who call Kingston home, an awesome Bookmark featuring the Bronwen Wallace poem "Mexican Sunsets" and from what I can tell, a wonderful community of avid readers. So, being the glass half-full kinda gal that I am, I look forward to all the exciting things waiting for me in Kingston; be they literary or otherwise.
So, that is what has been occupying my time. I am in Kingston now, looking for work, trying to find an apartment and just strolling around the city I'll hopefully be calling home. As for this blog, I've got a review coming up soon, an exciting (well, I think it is exciting) addition to my booklists and other bloggish-type fun.
Thanks for reading!
Thanks for reading!
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