The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

No Series

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.

“You are mine, Elizabeth Lavenza, and nothing will take you from me. Not even death.”

I really enjoyed this. The character of Elizabeth receives a backbone and an unconventional retelling. Smiles, dimples and sweet curls are the face behind a manipulative mind in more control than others would realize at first, deceived glance. The flashbacks embedded into the story between the present hunt and discovery were especially interesting - I get impatient with this kind of thing usually, but in this case it truly was the heart of most of the story, providing a necessary psychological backdrop. 

Not only did the author play around with the character of Elizabeth, but Victor? Yikes. It's actually more of a plausible scenario. Even the father and mother got dysfunctional character traits that made them shine, as by the side as they were.

Elizabeth, Elizabeth. What a diabolical mind you have. What beauty, what genius. A fascinating look into the woman who stood behind the man, shaping behind the scenes. Not all stayed roses and even she may earn some redemption.

This story wholly focuses on the bond between Victor and Elizabeth and her life, not really on the 'monster'. But, when they comes up, it's also handled marvelously well. Love the added twists and changes to the classic story in the second half and ending with all of that. Gothic horrors indeed.

Pacing can languish at times, especially at the beginning, but it still stays focused enough. It was fascinating to see the manipulative pulls in her mind, the companions that came across so convincing, her change into something better and stronger, the theme of survival. If you're a fan of Frankenstein, you may enjoy this one - it's a completely different tale in many ways, of course, but it's still a different take from a different perspective.

Book Quotes

“I sought to puncture Heaven and instead discovered Hell.”

Cover Gallery