He failed to save his twin brother through alchemy, but young Victor Frankenstein eagerly delves back into the sinister sciences in this sequel to 2011’s This Dark Endeavor.
Three weeks after Konrad’s death, Victor plucks a mysterious box from the still-warm ashes of the books of the Dark Library. Demonstrating tremendous hubris, Victor aims to return Konrad to the living world and still win Elizabeth, Konrad’s grief-stricken love and the boys’ childhood friend. When Victor uncovers a way into the spirit world, he finds that Konrad is in neither heaven nor hell but in an alternate version of the house, where eons collide, a ravenous mist lurks outside, and groans arise from below. Elizabeth and Henry Clerval soon join Victor on his journeys to the other realm and on his mission to build a body for Konrad, based on ancient drawings and monstrous bones discovered in caves beneath the castle. As in the first book, the trio realizes the high cost of their quest too late. Victor is a fascinating if sometimes unlikable character, ambitious, brooding, reckless and obsessive in his pursuit of knowledge and power; Printz honor winner Oppel skillfully portrays him as both a troubled teen and the boy who would become Frankenstein. Addictions and lustful encounters add another layer of sophistication to the gothic melodrama.
A standout sequel and engrossing ghost story. (Horror. 14 & up)