Review: The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

8:30 PM

In which Kiersten White messes me up emotionally. 

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White | Rating: ★★★☆☆

So many things to say about this book. First of all, I love Kiersten White and I love the premise for her retelling of Frankenstein. In-fact, it was only this year that I've become a massive fan of Kiersten White because of her deliciously dark series The Conqueror's Saga. If there's one thing you must know about all else is that White has a real knack for getting down into the darker pits of what makes stories gritty and emotionally charged.

In the case of The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein this is proven to be true quite early on. While the central plotline and pacing of the story as a whole had some issues, the characters and the Gothic tone that White sets up are so... delectable and bleak. The pace was a bit more miss than hit for the first 50% of the novel, which wasn't overly encouraging given the rather shorter length of the story.

This is, ultimately, what made this a 3-3.5 (I have yet to decide on a solid rating) star read instead of a 4 or a 5. If I were to rate the second half of the book, and the characters alone, and the general ideas that White had throughout, I'd easily have given it a 5 star rating.

I think that what partly made the novel drag on in its beginnings, is that there was a lot that was building up, but not a lot of it was completely shown. White could have benefit from this novel's length being even 100 pages more, so the reader could have been thrown fully into the thick of it.

There's a lot of conflicting emotions in me when it comes to conveying my issues with The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein because I genuinely liked it but can't look past the start. I'd have liked to see more of Elizabeth's childhood, pre-Frankenstein family; see much more of the origins of her friendship with Victor and Henry, as well as the special bond she shared with Justine. I'd have also liked to see more development and backstories to this version of these characters, too.

On that note, let me speak briefly of positives: Elizabeth is an INCREDIBLE character. If you love the darkness of And I Darken you will appreciate the development of Elizabeth and Victor in particular. White takes care (ah, well, as much care as one could in a horror novel) of these classic characters and crafts a fresh, new take on a familiar and beloved story.

White's writing is, as always, vivid and utterly compelling. Even in those weaker moments at the start, I felt as though I could read just about anything she'd have to say in this world, that world and any other. It's easy to get lost in and, much like with Brittany Cavallaro's spin on Sherlock Holmes, feels instantly classic and modern all at once.

I definitely think this is worth a second look, I (as I've said) only wish it were longer. 

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