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The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein

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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 he 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.


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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 he 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.

30 review for The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    Sometimes we were strangers even to ourselves. For the first two thirds, I thought this book was pretty good. Frankenstein is one of my favourite books, and I like it when authors give a voice - and different perspective - to a side character. But it is in the final third when this book goes from pretty good to excellent. The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein is, essentially, a retelling of Frankenstein from the perspective of Elizabeth - an orphan taken in by the Frankenstein family and la Sometimes we were strangers even to ourselves. For the first two thirds, I thought this book was pretty good. Frankenstein is one of my favourite books, and I like it when authors give a voice - and different perspective - to a side character. But it is in the final third when this book goes from pretty good to excellent. The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein is, essentially, a retelling of Frankenstein from the perspective of Elizabeth - an orphan taken in by the Frankenstein family and later the fiancée of Victor. I think this book will work much better for those familiar with the original as it gives a lot of nods to the story. It's hard to appreciate some of the clever twists the author takes without knowing what it's based on. In this book, Elizabeth becomes an ever more complex character. She's smart and manipulative. And if she lingers in Victor's shadow, then that's because she knows that's where she needs to be to get what she wants. Through her eyes, the tortured genius of Victor becomes a sometimes frightening thing, and yet nothing is as terrifying as being a woman in 18th Century Europe. The stifling constraints placed on women and their ambitions are palpable as the story unfolds. It was so easy for a woman to be dismissed as whiny or silly, or worse-- mad. When Victor goes missing in Ingolstadt and writes no letters, Elizabeth begins to track him down. Her investigation leads her down dark paths to charnel houses and secret laboratories. What has Victor been up to? Knowing the truth didn't take anything away from reading. In fact, it made those mysterious dark shadows all the creepier. This story largely fills in gaps in the original tale, while shedding a completely new light on it. It's smart how Kiersten White has managed to keep a lot the same, while also creating a bigger and very different-looking picture. The original Frankenstein calls into question what it really means to be a monster and, indeed, who the real monsters are. I think White might have answered that question. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  2. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Schwab

    Well that was dark and delicious.

  3. 4 out of 5

    شيماء ✨

    you know what’s really fun and in style right now? retellings of old famous tales but focusing the spotlight on the lives of the women in them and carving more spaces for their stories. I’m so excited to read this book!!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Hailey (HaileyinBookland)

    4.5*

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elise (TheBookishActress)

    You are mine, Elizabeth Lavenza, and nothing will take you from me. Not even death. I do not think I expected one of the best books I read this year to be a retelling of Frankenstein where it’s not just about the nature of monstrousness, but about the power of women working together and escaping an abusive relationship, with intoxicating writing and a morally grey lady as the protagonist. And yet… here we are. I don’t think you can talk about this book without talking about the characters, be You are mine, Elizabeth Lavenza, and nothing will take you from me. Not even death. I do not think I expected one of the best books I read this year to be a retelling of Frankenstein where it’s not just about the nature of monstrousness, but about the power of women working together and escaping an abusive relationship, with intoxicating writing and a morally grey lady as the protagonist. And yet… here we are. I don’t think you can talk about this book without talking about the characters, because they really do star. Their group is so fantastic and I absolutely loved the importance of the various character relationships within the book; rather than being driven by romance, Elizabeth is primarily driven by her relationship with Justine and, to some extent later, Henry and Mary. ✔Elizabeth – one of the most interesting and developed narrators I have had the pleasure of reading about this year. she is so deeply morally ambiguous yet so sympathetic to the audience and also, the narrative agency. HER MIND. ✔Mary – definitely a lesbian. I have no evidence for this she’s just gay. book nerd badass. ✔Justine – the more naive, or stereotypically ladylike, lady character in this novel, and yet is treated just as well by the story as Elizabeth and Mary. deserved better. ✔Henry – a good man, a pure man, the only man we’ve ever trusted. I support him. ✔Victor – no. a bad man and we hate him I absolutely loved the way Kiersten White wrote the abusive relationship at the heart of this - we see the fucked-up nature of that relationship long before Elizabeth does, but it never feels as if Elizabeth “should’ve known better.” In every moment, she has full audience sympathy - in every moment, even if I hated her actions, I understood her. The narrative puts you so far into her mind that it is impossible to look away and it is glorious. I think the focus on agency within a narrative should be clear, but I really do want to say - this is why retellings are my favorite . Taking a book that is about the essential nature of humanity from the perspective of a man and flipping its themes solidly is something I will always be in full support of - the meta-textuality of the narrative is absolutely brilliant. And it’s not just about one woman - it’s about the relationships between women and the strength found in them. Mary, Justine, and Elizabeth form such fantastic relationships, and each feels so fully-formed in a way they may not have in the original narrative. I could criticize this - the first half is far too slow, in my opinion, and I still can’t decide whether to love or hate the ending but I’m not sure it’s what I would have wanted - but I can already feel an urge to reread and annotate and write even more about the themes in this book. For me, that is a declaration of love. I think this book [and my new love for Victorian horror] convinced me to read Frankenstein for a project this fall, so maybe I’ll use it as an excuse to reread. Who knows. All I know is that I loved this and I hope you all love it too. TW: abuse, self harm, body horror. 💜 buddyread with my literal favorite person, Melanie Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  6. 5 out of 5

    Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies

    “Elizabeth,” he said, his tone firm and chiding. He lifted my chin and fixed my eyes with his. “You are mine. You have been since the first day we met. You will be mine forever. My absence should not have caused you to doubt the firmness and steadfastness of my attachment to you. It will never fade.” This turned out to be a pretty twisted love story. I read Frankenstein in more details than anyone should ever read a book when I was in 10th grade. I was in Academic Decathlon, and that year, for “Elizabeth,” he said, his tone firm and chiding. He lifted my chin and fixed my eyes with his. “You are mine. You have been since the first day we met. You will be mine forever. My absence should not have caused you to doubt the firmness and steadfastness of my attachment to you. It will never fade.” This turned out to be a pretty twisted love story. I read Frankenstein in more details than anyone should ever read a book when I was in 10th grade. I was in Academic Decathlon, and that year, for the literature portion, we had to read Frankenstein. I was determined to master the book, and I wrote a summary for it that was practically as long as the book itself. And therein lies my only complaint about this book. It's just too damned long. Which is not to say it's not good. It is excellent. It is the story of Elizabeth Lavenza, the foster child of the Frankensteins. Far more details are present in this book than in the original, the story is fleshed out so much more. But the fact that it works as a retelling because it is believable. Elizabeth was an orphaned child, condemned to a miserable life. The young Victor was an uncontrollable, strange little boy whose parents despaired of him. Elizabeth got a new life when she was sold to the Frankensteins as a playmate for Victor, who became attached to her from the very first meeting. Elizabeth is strong, cunning. She might have been young, but from the age of five, she has learned survival. Survival meant Victor, and making herself indispensable to him. She molds herself to fit her new life, and to what Victor needs. I had become this girl in order to survive, but the longer I lived in her body, the easier it was to simply be her. She never forgets what she doesn't have - which is everything. The only thing that keeps her in the wealthy Frankenstein household and off the streets - or another orphanage - is her ability to control the volatile Victor. I used smiles like currency. They were the only currency I ever had. My dresses, my shoes, my ribbons—they all belonged to the Frankensteins. The situations in the book are beautifully explained - many times I found myself exclaiming "well, this isn't true, because in the book..." only to have everything seamlessly explained and incorporated chapters later. It really is such a good book, but again. It is just too. Damned. Long.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    ARC provided by Random House in exchange for an honest review. “Some nights, when even my child’s heart knew that what I had been asked to endure was too much, I would stand on the edge of the lake, lift my face to the stars, and scream. Nothing ever called back. Even among the creeping things of the lake’s night, I was alone. Until Victor.” Kiersten White wrote this book to honor the fact that 2018 is the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley! It has been ten years since I picked ARC provided by Random House in exchange for an honest review. “Some nights, when even my child’s heart knew that what I had been asked to endure was too much, I would stand on the edge of the lake, lift my face to the stars, and scream. Nothing ever called back. Even among the creeping things of the lake’s night, I was alone. Until Victor.” Kiersten White wrote this book to honor the fact that 2018 is the 200th anniversary of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley! It has been ten years since I picked up Frankenstein, and even though I didn’t completely love this with my whole heart, Emily May’s review not only made me want to pick it up again this fall, but it also made me realize that I probably missed a ton of beautiful homages within these pages! So, my review is coming to you from someone that’s no longer familiar with the source material. My rating is pretty much strictly based off the story that Kiersten White crafted. And even though I loved how beautifully feminist this was, and I was completely enthralled with the writing, tone, and setting, I just didn’t love the actual story. The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein stars young Elizabeth who finally feels safe living in the Frankenstein home. And she will do anything to ensure he place in the family, so she can continue to have that safety. And she does this by getting close to the oldest son of the manor, Victor Frankenstein himself. Victor is prone to outbursts of anger, and Elizabeth is the only one that can keep him calm. But Victor has been away for a while, and Elizabeth is scared to lose her place in the family. Therefore, her and the governess, who is also her good friend, go on a hunt to find Victor and bring him back home! “I have waded through hell to deliver you heaven.” And that governess? Justine Moritz is honestly the star of this book. I love her with the sum of my being. Kiersten White did such a wonderful job really fleshing out her character and making me feel even more for her. I truly think Mary Shelley would be so damn proud. My other favorite is the bookseller that is cutely and conveniently named Mary! These two girls were easily my favorite and probably the reason this book is getting three stars instead of two. And if I were Elizabeth I would have been doing everything in my power to date either or both of them. “I do not fear to die. I do not want to live in a world where devils can take such perfect, beautiful innocence without punishment.” But them going to retrieve Victor is truly only the first part of this story. There are two others that hold within them the events that take place when they return back home. Also, this story is told with constant flashbacks to events from the past, so you are kind of able to see why everyone acts the way they do. Sadly, I just feel like the biggest problem with this novel was the predictability. Again, it has been a hot second since I’ve read Frankenstein, but I don’t even remember everything being as obvious as it was in this. And again, I know this is an homage to the book, but I feel like the book still has to sort of hold up on its own for today’s audience, regardless of their familiarity to the original source material. “I dreaded another flash of lightning for what it might reveal of the person in the trees watching me. He stood at least seven feet tall, a hulking and unnatural creature. Fear drained my fury…” And that truly is the biggest problem with the book, for me. I really enjoyed the rest, and I feel like the setting of this book was completely mastered. And the writing? It’s wonderful. This is a relatively short book, but I was able to pull over twenty quotes that I could have used for that review. That’s seriously impressive. Kiersten White’s beautiful prose really shines through, and I think she really is a master crafter of words. And as I touched upon before, the feminism in this book is so very beautiful and so very unapologetic. In general, I think the inclusion of just creating Elizabeth, and making her the star of this tale, was genius. But, I mean, women still aren’t truly considered equal to men in 2018, but in the 1800s? Lord, help me. Elizabeth goes from one abusive home to another, but they are just very different kinds of abuse. This story constantly shows how women are only truly safe with protection from a man. Yet, even then, a woman can be institutionalized and put away in an asylum if they do anything to cross the man that is supposed to protect them. I feel like this story really shines a spotlight on toxic love, and how it can be the most destructive thing on Earth. The cycles of abuse that Victor shows, is something that I wish I could highlight for all young kids to see. Sometimes it's very hard for the person being abused to see, acknowledge, and realize that they are being abused. This story really showcases that and gaslighting and how hard it is to break the cycle and those abusive relationships, in the 1800s and in the 2000s. “You are mine, Elizabeth Lavenza, and nothing will take you from me. Not even death.” Trigger and content warnings for child abuse and abuse in general, medical experimentation, murder, death, heavy dictions of surgical practices especially different cutting and sewing procedures, animal abuse, animal cruelty, animal death, and talk of suicide. Overall, I was a little let down by this, because I truly did expect to love this. Yet, I think there is something here for every human to appreciate reading this retelling. Also, I think big fans of Frankenstein will probably really appreciate this rendition even more. Lastly, I just want to remind you all how much of a badass Mary Shelley, the queen of horror and science fiction, really was. What a damn blessing to literature, 200 years later, and for all the rest of time. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Youtube | Twitch The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication. Buddy read with Elise (My French Spider Queen)! ❤

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kayla Dawn

    I'm so goddamn disappointed. I really enjoyed the first 150 pages or so (even though most people who disliked this seem to think it was the boring part of the book lol) but it just went downhill after this.. Everything happened so fast and was unnecessarily rushed. Why not write a longer book? It only had around 280 pages anyway. It read as if White just wanted to finish as quickly as possible. Because of that the story got more and more unbelievable and felt artificially constructed, forced even I'm so goddamn disappointed. I really enjoyed the first 150 pages or so (even though most people who disliked this seem to think it was the boring part of the book lol) but it just went downhill after this.. Everything happened so fast and was unnecessarily rushed. Why not write a longer book? It only had around 280 pages anyway. It read as if White just wanted to finish as quickly as possible. Because of that the story got more and more unbelievable and felt artificially constructed, forced even. I kind of liked the direction White went with Elizabeth in the beginning of the book. She was selfish and absolutely unlikeable but in a well written way! But that was also ruined after the sudden change in the story. I get that her character was supposed to grow but again it felt forced and unnatural. It happened too fast for it be believable. Victor also was interesting at the start. And again he was ruined by another try of forcing some kind of "growth" on him (not really a positive one, but I can't think of another word lol). I mean, it was obvious in what direction his character would go but it just wasn't done in a good and realistic way. I don't want to sound repetitive but again it was too sudden and not portrayed realistically. Oh, and in regards of any "plot twists".... none of them were unpredictable at all. And I'm seriously not good at guessing them. So that was underwhelming lol. Overall I liked the idea and I really enjoyed about half of the book but everything after that completely ruined it for me 🤷🏻‍♀️ *spoiler ahead* I would have liked this more if the epilogue didn't happen though. It actually would've been a satisfying ending if they both died that way. But oh well, here we have another author that is to scared to kill of their characters. And what the fuck was the deal with "Adam"? Are you actually trying to convince me that they can live "happily ever after" with him?? Sorry but no lmao

  9. 4 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    I don't know how I feel yet. Going with the middle road for now Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kai

    "I thought to puncture heaven and instead I discovered hell." Everything about this book screams READ ME. And yes, it does so in caps lock. It is so promisingly creepy and twisted, exactly what a perfect book sounds like to me. I am a big fan of Penny Dreadful (it's on Netflix and you need to watch it right now) and this book had some major PD vibes. It started out strong but the thrill of it all lost itself toward the ending. I immediately fell in love with Elizabeth, the main character. She was "I thought to puncture heaven and instead I discovered hell." Everything about this book screams READ ME. And yes, it does so in caps lock. It is so promisingly creepy and twisted, exactly what a perfect book sounds like to me. I am a big fan of Penny Dreadful (it's on Netflix and you need to watch it right now) and this book had some major PD vibes. It started out strong but the thrill of it all lost itself toward the ending. I immediately fell in love with Elizabeth, the main character. She was immoral, goal-oriented and did everything in her power to get what she wanted. Characters do not have to be likeable to be interesting. I sometimes think, the less likeable, the more interesting they are. The setup for the plot was perfectly constructed and promised - as the title suggested - to get darker and more desperate the further it went. But what I loved about the beginning - the gothic atmosphere, the mystery, the carefully constructed characters and plot - got lost somewhere along the way. Not only did I find many things to be predictable, I also lost interest in the main character. I think Elizabeth lost some of her fierceness and uniqueness along the way. She turned from a character that I admired to a character that was interchangeable with many other YA main characters out there. It felt like the opposite of character development. The same can be applied to the plot. It felt like chunks of pages had been ripped out to ensure that the book maintained an appropriate length. But I would rather have had 200 pages more, in which the pace of the plot was maintained and the characters had room to grow than a lot of action crammed into a few chapters. This is where the book lost its credibility or the illusion thereof, considering it is a fictional work. Overall, I was fascinated by the story and its characters. It was beautifully set up and captivated me at once. Sadly, I got lost around the 2/3 mark. Thank you to PRH International and to NetGalley for providing me with a review copy! Find more of my books on Instagram

  11. 4 out of 5

    ✨ jamieson ✨

    will THIS be the book that teaches the world frankenstein is the scientist not the monster

  12. 5 out of 5

    Hamad

    This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription “For everyone made to feel like a side character in their own story” 🌟 I like the dedication of this book very much as I always think of people as main or secondary characters. I myself am a secondary character! 🌟 Some of you know that I didn’t finish the And I Darken book. But you also know that I believe in second chances. I wanted to give Kiersten her second chance, and while this was not a favorite book, not even c This review and other non-spoilery reviews can be found @The Book Prescription “For everyone made to feel like a side character in their own story” 🌟 I like the dedication of this book very much as I always think of people as main or secondary characters. I myself am a secondary character! 🌟 Some of you know that I didn’t finish the And I Darken book. But you also know that I believe in second chances. I wanted to give Kiersten her second chance, and while this was not a favorite book, not even close to that. I like this one more than the first book and I did finish it. 🌟 My problem is not the writing itself, because the writing is great and there were a few quote that I like. My problem in both this book and the And I Darken book is the Main characters. Sadly, I don’t seem to like the MC of the book because they tend to be boring, predictable and kind of stupid. 🌟 This is supposed to be a feminist retelling if I am not wrong. Elizabeth should have been more interesting, Victor should have been more interesting but I was more intrigued by Justine and Mary. I even considered DNFing this and that maybe Kiersten’s style is just not for me. But the book got better in the second half. I felt it was predictable and tedious at first but then there is a mini plot twist and things got really interesting after that point which made me continue reading without hesitation. 🌟 Many of the character’s behaviors made me roll my eyes and say “Really?”. I should disclose that I had never read Frankenstein but I know the story from other media forms. That was part of why I was interested in reading this. Some said that this is a horror book but I wasn’t scared. 🌟 Summary and Prescription: A feminist Frankenstein retelling with a not so interesting characters. The start was shaky and a bit slow for me but it definitely gets better. It has a very good writing but I could not relate to the main characters. Still a decent read for fans of feminist retellings and Frankenstein.

  13. 4 out of 5

    may ❀

    this book was a Ride so creepy, so entertaining, so messed up. the characters are really deep and flawed and terrifying. and those plot twists, hashtag 👌 RTC ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ my brain: you're already reading a kiersten white book and it's not going so hot so why not pick up ANOTHER ONE OF HER BOOKS 🤪🤪 bc...logic buddy read with claraaa 💖

  14. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    Elizabeth was deliciously flawed 😈. loved her character and the growth she experienced. I loved the message of this book: Be you! Be your gloriously flawed self. Do not try and change who you are for others. And last, but most importantly, create your own future. Do not let others dictate it for you. Ugh, where was this book when I was teenager! I loved Kierstan's writing! It is always so beautiful! After about page 60 the pacing and the plot really picks up. So don't give up before you get at le Elizabeth was deliciously flawed 😈. loved her character and the growth she experienced. I loved the message of this book: Be you! Be your gloriously flawed self. Do not try and change who you are for others. And last, but most importantly, create your own future. Do not let others dictate it for you. Ugh, where was this book when I was teenager! I loved Kierstan's writing! It is always so beautiful! After about page 60 the pacing and the plot really picks up. So don't give up before you get at least to page 60! I did almost DNF this because I was anticipating a dark read and thought the book wasn't delivering. But I decided to give Kiersten another chance and she did not disappoint! It definitely gets dark!☻☻ This was so good that I actually put Frankenstein on hold at the library! I can't wait to read it. Lol don't crucify me because I have not read Frankenstein lol. I have just never been interested, but now I can not wait! 😊😊 The only critique I have is that the first 60 pages were a little slow. But after finishing the book I do appreciate those first few pages as they really set the stage for the characters, the atmosphere, and the plot.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nadhira Satria

    “What’s disappointment?” They asked. This book apparently. “Who’s disappointed?” They also asked. Me, bitch.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Korrina (OwlCrate)

    I finished it! But I can’t really decide how I want to rate it yet. I liked it, but I don’t think I was in the right mood to read it. But the writing was quite good, it was definitely creepy and interesting. And if you like the source material, you’ll probably find a lot to enjoy in this retelling.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Riley

    I'm super conflicted on this. I loved the characters so much. Elizabeth is one of the best protagonists I have read from. She's my slytherin queen. But this was so boring. The pacing was all over the place. There were really long stretches where nothing happened and then the action scenes went by so fast. I also fell asleep while reading it at one point which never happens so........

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    This is intriguing.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Monroe

    “You are mine, Elizabeth Lavenza, and nothing will take you from me. Not even death.” I have a confession to make. Even though I'm getting an MPhil in Victorian literature, I have never read Frankenstein. gasps all around Yeah, yeah, yeah. Get back to your hidey-holes, you ghouls. I do know that the original Elizabeth Lavenza is a classic "Angel in the House" figure. She's sweet, passive, bland. Some scholars have argued that she smoothly rotates through the three prime female paradigms of the nin “You are mine, Elizabeth Lavenza, and nothing will take you from me. Not even death.” I have a confession to make. Even though I'm getting an MPhil in Victorian literature, I have never read Frankenstein. gasps all around Yeah, yeah, yeah. Get back to your hidey-holes, you ghouls. I do know that the original Elizabeth Lavenza is a classic "Angel in the House" figure. She's sweet, passive, bland. Some scholars have argued that she smoothly rotates through the three prime female paradigms of the nineteenth century: daughter, mother, and wife. THIS Elizabeth Lavenza is also sweet and obedient, but that's a mask to further her own selfish desires. She wants to leave her abusive caretaker and live in the comfortable Frankenstein mansion. So... “I needed to be something they would love. And so when I got out of bed, I left behind anything I wanted and slipped into sweetness as softly as I slipped into my warm socks.” What also drove the story for me, I think, was Elizabeth and Victor's twisted love story. Don't get me wrong; it's problematic as fuck. But it's also intriguing and intense. Victor needs Elizabeth in his own crooked way. Elizabeth, in turn, manipulates Victor and becomes who he needs so he’ll love her and protect her interests. Plus, with all of Elizabeth's agency and intelligence, she never feels like a 21st century heroine plunked into a 19th century world. One of the issues I had with Stalking Jack the Ripper (and boy, I had a lot) was that the heroine didn't feel like a product of her time. Her ideas were too radical for that era. I much rather read about women negotiating their lives and gaining power in a patriarchal society. Elizabeth is feminist in a way that I can imagine a Bronte heroine would be. She longs to go to school. She acknowledges that women are too dependent on their husbands and are not allowed to leave them even if they’re abusive, like The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. At the same time, she doesn’t try to ignite a revolution because that’s not the way things were done. She exists within her bounds while transcending them, and that takes serious creative skill. The last third of the book did get a little predictable, but it does little to detract from its overall charm. Both original Shelley fans and new readers are going to adore this feminist retelling.

  20. 4 out of 5

    ✨Tamara

    Whoa!!!! 😲 A fabulously reimagined retelling of the famous novel of Victor Frankenstein and his monster creation. However this story is told from the point-of-view of Elizabeth Victor's adopted sister and eventually his wife. I don't say this lightly and I mean it when I say this, this may be the perfect book guys! Masterfully written in the perfect language skills that reflect the time era it was written for. Little homages speckled here and there throughout the book as if to give an honorable c Whoa!!!! 😲 A fabulously reimagined retelling of the famous novel of Victor Frankenstein and his monster creation. However this story is told from the point-of-view of Elizabeth Victor's adopted sister and eventually his wife. I don't say this lightly and I mean it when I say this, this may be the perfect book guys! Masterfully written in the perfect language skills that reflect the time era it was written for. Little homages speckled here and there throughout the book as if to give an honorable credit to the amazing original work that it was written from. the author writes in such a believable fashion that you can actually see through the eyes of Elizabeth herself as she slowly descends into the madness that Victor has weaved around her. *SPOILER AHEAD* The fact that this book was originally written by a woman makes it almost preordained that this new book should be written from the main woman's point of view. The author spins the story in such a way that it is Elizabeth herself who creates the monster instead of Victor. Victor Frankenstein is no victim in this tale of horror. I found her turning of the story to be both riveting and engaging on all levels. *END OF SPOILER* I love this book so much I actually took my time sitting and reading it and hanging on every word that was written on every page. Slowly chewing over every delightful little tidbit like a bit of delicious devil's food cake. Enjoying every morsel. I did not just read this book, I absorbed this book! The story followed the original tale with perfect precision and even threw a couple of new aspects to spice up the pot. This book was amazing the whole way through! I would definitely recommend this book to just about anyone but mostly to those who enjoy horror and those who enjoy Classics retold. If you have not read it already you need to read this book!!!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sylvie

    The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White 2.75/5 Stars! Buddy read with Karima This was my first experience with Kiersten White’s book, although she has many famous books that I have no intention to read at the moment, for a reason I seemed interested in this one. But why this book has caught my interest was because it is: 1) A retelling of the world’s first sci-fi book that has ever been created; the infamous “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley. 2) It focuses on Elizabeth Lorenzo. A gr The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White 2.75/5 Stars! Buddy read with Karima This was my first experience with Kiersten White’s book, although she has many famous books that I have no intention to read at the moment, for a reason I seemed interested in this one. But why this book has caught my interest was because it is: 1) A retelling of the world’s first sci-fi book that has ever been created; the infamous “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley. 2) It focuses on Elizabeth Lorenzo. A great opportunity for everyone who knows the literary interpretation of Frankenstein along with its several film adaptations, and see her being a damsel in distress. Kiersten White wanted to prove that she as in Elizabeth is much more than that. 3) The author wrote a whole new book based on "Frankenstein" for its 200th anniversarey as a tribute. 4) It’s the perfect read for October. Anyone who expected a healthy relationship between the characters will be disappointed. Everyone has been using someone or has been used by them one way or another, intentionally and unintentionally. Elizabeth's and Victor's relationship is based mainly on interdependence. She is his angel (his words) in the darkness and he is her salvation from the orphanage and all else. Without Victor, Elizabeth is no one or so she thought. It was indeed very interesting to see how Elizabeth does everything for Victor and he does it for her. There are no limits, regardless of whether it harms someone else or not. The dynamics of the relationship captivated me as much as the characters chained together. Furthermore, I found it refreshing that Elizabeth is not your typical good YA character, she was not a very brave girl who loves everything and everyone. No, she is a young woman who seeks security and wants to break out of her time and the only person she feels safe with was Victor, no matter how many inhuman things he had done. At the same time I like the depiction of Victor. He is not just crazy, but actually a hooded genius without a sense of morality that clings to a picture of Elizabeth, which is not real. The writing style: I enjoyed her writing, it wasn't complicated or difficult to follow at all, she made everything very clear and detailed. My unpopular opinion on the epilogue: Kiersten White knows how to visualize and feel the realities of her characters' lives. While I've waited throught the entire book to recieve the line ''It's alive'', because only that line has become very iconic throught these years that the entire world knows about it even if the ones who have never read the book or seen the films. And I was so anxiousley waiting for that line, and when I got to read that line? It happened in the very last page of the story. The conclusion. As you get more and more insight into Elizabeth's and Victor's psychological commemorative patterns and behaviors, the highlight will take a long time to come. Even then, everything seems a bit rushed, as if the author had to finish. I would have even wished that after the big revelation a cut would come and you would have expanded these last chapter rather a second book. Normally, I'm not a fan of the unnecessary second volume or delaying the plot, so it becomes a dilemma, but this would actually have been beneficial to the story and the minor characters. About the "I'm alive" part, It was as if the author wanted to add that line but has never found the right time to give it to Victor while he created ''The Monster'', instead that line was said by Elizabeth Frankenstein herself, which I find it very unnecessary. Why it bothered me was that why the epilogue happened the way it happened, it felt like the author tried to satisfy her readers by it and unfortunately I wasn't one of them. I also wonder if the book had ended without the epilogue, would I have given it a higher rating and more satisfied with it? The answer would be a 100% yes.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Merphy Napier

    Some things I loved: -These characters were REALLY twisted. I loved how obsessive, and calculating these characters were throughout the novel. Very intriguing and so interesting to see how their minds worked (especially victor) - The many nods to the original. I loved how much this book looked like the original classic without following it exactly. It was so much fun to make the connections and guess where the story would go based off the original book. There were so many beautiful nods to the or Some things I loved: -These characters were REALLY twisted. I loved how obsessive, and calculating these characters were throughout the novel. Very intriguing and so interesting to see how their minds worked (especially victor) - The many nods to the original. I loved how much this book looked like the original classic without following it exactly. It was so much fun to make the connections and guess where the story would go based off the original book. There were so many beautiful nods to the original story that made the reading experience so much more fun! - That ending!! (view spoiler)[ at first, I thought the way the book was ending felt weird, why the focus on Mary being so interested in Victor's journals?? But then when Elizabeth died and Mary brought her back to life... oh man! That was such a GOOD twist to the original tale! (hide spoiler)] What I didn't like: - Because I loved the original book, I found a few big twists easy to predict. (view spoiler)[ I knew Henry was the monster from the start. That's not at all how the original did it, but when Henry's visit to Victor got moved up in the timeline, I felt it was clear. Also, Justine. I was waiting for the purpose of her character from the start, she just felt like a pointless add in. I liked her, but she didn't seem to serve a purpose. Until she died. Then I was like, DUH! Victor is gunna make her into a monster just like the monster asked for in the original! (hide spoiler)] some things I DIDN't predict: (view spoiler)[ that Victor would be THIS twisted in this version, that Victor would be the one to strangle his brother, and THAT ENDING! (hide spoiler)] - Elizabeth's arc (view spoiler)[ she went from this unapologetically twisted character to a sweet (and bland) good guy. Some would call that character growth - I call it disappointing. (hide spoiler)] I think a lot of people are going to have a problem with the pacing of this book, it's VERY character driven in the first half with not a very interesting plot to support it. It picks up a lot in the second half, but still has slow sections throughout. Personally, I thought this book was a blast and I had so much fun reading a retelling of a story I've loved so much. I think Kiersten White did a great job at keeping the masterpiece of the original story in tact, while still making it her own. Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zroZO...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*

    “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 c “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.

  24. 5 out of 5

    clara

    i would die for elizabeth and mary (view spoiler)[and adam (hide spoiler)] . RTC. __________________ i... have never read frankenstein, but i will read anything kiersten white writes. // buddy read with a babe ✨

  25. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    "The border between life and death had fascinated Victor for so long." How she met him......Elizabeth Lavenza, a little five year old beauty lived a life of fear and brutality before being rescued to serve as playmate and companion to a young, intense and mysterious Victor. Judge and Madame Frankenstein prayed the young girl would tame his dark moods and unpredictable fever dreams....and it worked. As time passed, Elizabeth came to love him and the dark isolated manor....would do almost anything "The border between life and death had fascinated Victor for so long." How she met him......Elizabeth Lavenza, a little five year old beauty lived a life of fear and brutality before being rescued to serve as playmate and companion to a young, intense and mysterious Victor. Judge and Madame Frankenstein prayed the young girl would tame his dark moods and unpredictable fever dreams....and it worked. As time passed, Elizabeth came to love him and the dark isolated manor....would do almost anything for him to avoid being poverty stricken or abandoned without options for her future....and she did. As for Victor, he too grew to love Elizabeth to the point of obsession. "Someday death will take you. And I will not allow it."THE DARK DESCENT OF ELIZABETH FRANKENSTEIN is a well written story of obsession, murder and madness and a cross between the Mary Shelley novel and the well-known Frankenstein horror movie version with lightning flashing and rotted body parts lying around a spooky laboratory. There are great secondary character storylines here too, shocker moments with cover-ups, betrayals, asylum life, and, of course, the creepy giant figure who lurks in dark shadows and puts fear in your bones. The original classic is one of my super favorite reads and this retelling with its own twists kept my attention from start to finish....and yes, "Victor had gone mad." (For me, did not read as young adult.)

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alaina

    I LOVED THIS BOOK! ELIZABETH IS MY GIRL! I think I read the OG of frankenstein last year?? Might've been this year (super awk if it was but then again, I read a TON of books!). Either way, I was geeking out about this book. Ever since I saw this beautiful cover on GR, I desperately wanted it! Then when I walked by it at B&N.. damn, did I want to buy it. I didn't because I have so many other physicals that I need to dive into but I did find the audio on my library's app - so I went with that. A I LOVED THIS BOOK! ELIZABETH IS MY GIRL! I think I read the OG of frankenstein last year?? Might've been this year (super awk if it was but then again, I read a TON of books!). Either way, I was geeking out about this book. Ever since I saw this beautiful cover on GR, I desperately wanted it! Then when I walked by it at B&N.. damn, did I want to buy it. I didn't because I have so many other physicals that I need to dive into but I did find the audio on my library's app - so I went with that. Again, I loved Elizabeth! She was such a bad ass towards the end of this book. She definitely grew throughout the books as well. Then there's Victor.. who damn, was one crazy ass mothaeffer. I don't know what the hell he was drinking.. but I will stay away from that. I hope I never go down that dark path where I end up killing a crap ton of people and then trying to create my own monster. I'll just stick to being creative in the kitchen (or in my book reviews lol). I also really liked the twists and turns. I tried to figure out who the murderer was but since I'm no Nancy Drew.. I never really figured it out. Then that whole revenge seeking at the end of the book.. I didn't think it was going to end the way that it did. I was thoroughly surprised and really enjoyed this audio. I will definitely be looking forward to another book written by this author.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nastassja

    Actual rating: 3.5 stars The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein is quite an unusual book that will haunt your dreams long after you finished it. I am a goner for dark morally ambiguous stories that make you reconsider things you never questioned before, or in the case of this story - things you thought were quite solid and unchanging. But of course, Kiersten White is a goddess sent on earth to torture us with her talent and she is beyond successful in that department *points at Now I Darken*. Actual rating: 3.5 stars The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein is quite an unusual book that will haunt your dreams long after you finished it. I am a goner for dark morally ambiguous stories that make you reconsider things you never questioned before, or in the case of this story - things you thought were quite solid and unchanging. But of course, Kiersten White is a goddess sent on earth to torture us with her talent and she is beyond successful in that department *points at Now I Darken*. I haven't read the original Frankenstein yet, but I am quite familiar with the story through numerous adaptation I've encountered throughout the years. Plus, I've watched a movie recently that showed how the masterpiece was created by Mary Shelly, and I must confess, it was quite a disturbing experience. After that picture, I pity women of that period even more; they didn't even have basic rights to be their own person. It's a sad story, and from the darkest corners of reality, Frankenstein had risen to haunt and torment generation after generation with one question: Who is the true monster of the story? But what Kiersten White did in her re-imagining is bold and daring in many ways: she turned all men from the original who were on the front to secondary characters and made a move with her white queen hiding is shadows. It is deservedly so that Elizabeth got her own story and her own justice. Moreover, all female characters are on the front and shining like diamonds. My concern, however, is not in the way the author handled her female characters but in the way the story changed its spots turning into an entirely different beast altogether. **Spoilers from the original Frankenstein and The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein!** In the original story, Victor Frankenstein was the one who created his monster and consequently was the reason the said creature turned into a monster. But from Victor's perspective, he was driven by the greater good that, unfortunately, had led him to hell, literal and figurative. In a way, Victor was the real monster and the reason all he loved were killed by his own creation. The sad part is he never really realized his dire mistake in his blind hunt for immortality that was bordering on madness. What Kiersten White did in her story is different. In a way, her Elizabeth was the monster who created her own monster - Victor; she was driven by the feeling of self-preservation, which is understandable considering women's right or the lack of them at the time, but Elizabeth delusions herself into believing she loved her monster and he loved her back. Of course, Victor loved her, but in a twisted way that he thought was the only way: he wanted to protect Elizabeth from death. At that point, I don't see Victor as a lost cause, but lately, when revelations start to fall on us we see that Victor is completely mad, a sociopath with no sense of reality. But to my senses, the turn over was done abruptly. You will argue that it is an illusion of 1st person narration, after all, we only know Elizabeth's voice in the story, but even as unreliable as 1st POV might be, it is too much of a self-deceit. The Victor we see until 50% of the book is dangerous and unstable but he is not cold-blooded mad, and to turn into a full mode crazed person who can hide his madness so well... Victor we saw after all masks were unveiled was not capable of playing such complex game. He was simply mad. What I am trying to say - I really liked the reimagining of the original but maybe I would've liked more complexity from Victor's character, not to feel as everything was rushed to the conclusion to match the original Frankenstein's ending. But despite my peculiar complaints regarding the ending and characters' development, I am fully dedicated to the idea that Kiersten White's Frankenstein is no less - if not more - chilling and fascinating than the original. Goosebumps and the feeling of doom will not leave your skin long after you finished the book. **You can also find this review on my blog**

  28. 4 out of 5

    Stacee

    I struggled with this book and it legitimately breaks my heart. I liked Elizabeth. I like how devoted and well meaning she is. Victor was intriguing and somehow I was rooting for both of them. There are a few other characters, but I don’t want to say anything else here. Plot wise it was slow, but expected. My main complaint is the pages and pages and paaaaaages of description and passive action. There is very little dialogue. The story did pick up towards the end and within the last 70 or so pag I struggled with this book and it legitimately breaks my heart. I liked Elizabeth. I like how devoted and well meaning she is. Victor was intriguing and somehow I was rooting for both of them. There are a few other characters, but I don’t want to say anything else here. Plot wise it was slow, but expected. My main complaint is the pages and pages and paaaaaages of description and passive action. There is very little dialogue. The story did pick up towards the end and within the last 70 or so pages, I was captivated. Overall, I did like it, but from the friends I know who have read this {and given it glowing reviews}, I was expecting a lot more. For me, this didn’t have the excitement or suspense or even the gothic atmosphere I was was hoping for. **Huge thanks to Delacorte Press for giving me an arc at YallWest**

  29. 5 out of 5

    ℨαrα

    Plot ~ Concept: ★★★★★ ~ Execution: ★★★★☆ Pacing: ★★★★☆ Writing style: ★★★★☆ Characters: ★★★★☆ World: ★★★★★ Enjoyment: ★★★★☆ Cover: ★★★★☆ Pros: ○ This book is dark, twisted and eerie, and the setting is perfect — exactly what you want from a Frankenstein retelling. ○ It also has characters who are royally messed up — also what you want from a Frankenstein retelling. ○ The author successfully made me actually sympathise with Judge Frankenstein at a certain point. ○ There were little plot twists throughou Plot ~ Concept: ★★★★★ ~ Execution: ★★★★☆ Pacing: ★★★★☆ Writing style: ★★★★☆½ Characters: ★★★★☆½ World: ★★★★★ Enjoyment: ★★★★☆½ Cover: ★★★★☆ Pros: ○ This book is dark, twisted and eerie, and the setting is perfect — exactly what you want from a Frankenstein retelling. ○ It also has characters who are royally messed up — also what you want from a Frankenstein retelling. ○ The author successfully made me actually sympathise with Judge Frankenstein at a certain point. ○ There were little plot twists throughout the book that took me by surprise. ○ Elizabeth was a complex character who was dealt really awful cards by life. Her narrative was very distinct. ○ Mary was an actual queen. ○ Ernest and William were too pure for that world, honestly. “...then proceeded to ask me if he could have every shiny thing he saw. He was a magpie, this child.” ajsfrkjasmjsn HOW CUTE. ○ I quite liked the somewhat open-ended epilogue. Cons: ○ There were certain points where the characters —Elizabeth in particular— were being just a little bit dim. ○ There’s no doubt that Victor was mad, but I wish that his motives or psychological reasoning behind doing what he did were explored in greater detail. ○ I could’ve personally done with a little less detail in just some of the flashbacks. Overall rating: ★★★★☆½ ———————————— This COVER... well, it suits the story of Frankenstein, that’s for sure. I hope the story weirds me out :”)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sofii♡ (A Book. A Thought.)

    This book was so INCREDIBLE, I honestly read a couple of bad reviews about it, so I went into it with low expectations and was a full surprise. I enjoyed it very much from the beginning and I'm happy to have read it on Halloween, since it's the perfect book for it. It was my first book by the author but surely it will not be the last one 4.5/5 Stars You can find this one and more of my reviews on my blog A Book. A Thought. In this story we follow Elizabeth Lavenza, she has had a very hard childhoo This book was so INCREDIBLE, I honestly read a couple of bad reviews about it, so I went into it with low expectations and was a full surprise. I enjoyed it very much from the beginning and I'm happy to have read it on Halloween, since it's the perfect book for it. It was my first book by the author but surely it will not be the last one 4.5/5 Stars You can find this one and more of my reviews on my blog A Book. A Thought. In this story we follow Elizabeth Lavenza, she has had a very hard childhood due to the mistreatment of her caregiver, until one day she's taken to the house of Victor Frankenstein, a lonely boy who has everything except a friend. Elizabeth sees in Victor an escape from her misery and decides to do everything she can to become indispensable, it works and the Frankestein family embraces her as one of them. But her new life has a price, and as the years go by Elizabeth discovers that her survival depends on controlling Victor's dangerous temperament and entertaining all her whims. Behind the facade of an inocent girl, Elizabeth is determined to stay alive no matter the cost ... I think the plot in general is so addictive and engaging, I get hooked quickly with it, it's also very unpredictable, so you never really know what will happen, and despite being a short book many things happen in the course of it. There's no time to get bored when you have a book like this in your hands. The story of Frankenstein can be known to many of you and despite of that, this book is still very original, obviously it's a retelling of the history that we all know, and that can be seen, but even so, I think the author has managed to handle it in a unique way, making this a perfectly separate story from the original, that you won't forget. The way the book play with darkness and madness is AMAZING. I'm absolutely in love with the characters and the way in which they have been built, I don't want to talk much about them, because I feel they're the best of the book and I would love you to discover them yourself. But Elizabeth is one of the best female characters that I've read about, I feel that her spirit of survival is something admirable and I can't stop thinking about how incredible she is. You can see throughout the plot that she's really willing to do anything to preserve the life she knows and for which she has fought so much. She's very brave, it's also that type of character that's manipulative and smart and, I loved that . Victor's a very intense and dark character and his interactions with Elizabeth were incredible, very well written and super addictive. The dialogs are great, there's no waste. There are other characters that I loved and they're Justine, Mary and Henry, I think they're the lights inside so much darkness and bring a bit of lightness, friendship, honesty and fun to a pretty sinister plot I was shipping Victor and Elizabeth all the time, their scenes together are so perfect and although I know it's so wrong in so many ways, I enjoyed them and I don't care lol The writing style is really good, I really enjoyed it, it's addictive and it also has something very unique so you just can't stop reading. Being a historical fiction I thought it could be difficult for me to get into it, but it wasn't at all and this has made me want to read something more by the author soon. This book has many plot twists, it's very sinister and many unexpected things happen on each page. So a lot of things that happened broke my heart, I honestly didn't expect to feel so attached to the characters or so committed to the story, but I end up having so many feelings for this book. It's a roller coaster of emotions, from joy, to sadness, to confusion and surprise, everything in a second lol. SO GOOD I've seen people complain that it's boring or that it has a lot of descriptions, I can understand that it feels heavy at the time of the descriptions and the fact that it's historical, makes it a bit rigid at times, but for me wasn't a problem at all, I really enjoyed that aspect, I guess I was in the mood for something like this. My only real criticism of the book is that I feel that the ending was quite simple and happened very quickly. I was waiting for something else to happen, but when I realized it was over. Even so, I feel that it's faithful to the original story, so yes, it's only a personal appreciation So, of course I recommend it a lot if you want to read something different in the historical genre, it's original despite being a retelling and I love how it felt so dark and atmospheric, so if it's something you enjoy, you have to give it a try. It's a short but very intense book, many things happen so you'll not get bored with it

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