Tuesday, September 27, 2011
"Nothing contributes so much to tranquillize the mind as a steady purpose. "
This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein by Kenneth Oppel (author of the Silverwing Saga): Twin brothers Victor and Konrad Frankenstein spend their days living inside their imaginations where all they seek is the next adventure.
On one such day, they discover The Dark Library with its countless books on alchemy and old remedies but their father catches them both and forbids them from ever entering the room again. But then Konrad becomes ill and Victor becomes convinced that the secret to helping his twin brother is locked away inside The Dark Library. Against his father's wishes, Victor returns to it and finds an ancient formula for the Elixir of Life tucked away in one of the books.
Accompanied by his friends Elizabeth and Henry, Victor sets out to find an alchemist and the three ingredients needed to make the elixir. Will Victor succeed with this dark endeavor?
I know I've mentioned Mary Shelley's Frankenstein before and not in the most favorable light but I did actually like it (I just didn't like being told to read it). The short novel gave me the creeps. It's one of those books built on the theme of Man as God, the creator, and the consequences of such a thing.
This isn't a new idea - breathing new life into old characters. It's been done for Sherlock Holmes and it's continually being done to the James Bond series but for the first time, I actually want to read this one. I suppose it might be because it satisfies that lingering hole for me in the original. Just what the hell drove Victor Frankenstein to creating his Creature? It couldn't have only been a thirst for knowledge. It had to be more. I always felt that there had to be more.
And the novel, out almost a whole month now, was optioned to be made into a film in January. Though it appears, Oppel is being more quiet and realistic about the whole movie optioning thing. He knows what production hell is (if you don -it's where film ideas go to die). Just because it's been optioned doesn't mean there will be a movie. Do I hope there will be one? I'm not sure. It could be an interesting film but it could also be a terrible one. We shall see.
I remain hopeful though and hope readers will give the novel a chance. I hope it will get them interested in the original Frankenstein novel too.
To read an interview with Mr. Oppel from the Toronto Star, go here: The darker side of sweet sixteen
(note: title quote from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.)