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Frankenstein's Monster: A Novel Paperback – October 5, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
The eponymous monster of gothic horror rises once again in this well-wrought sequel to Mary Shelley's classic tale, the adult debut of children's author O'Keefe (One Hungry Monster with Lynn Munsinger). Narrated by the articulate and sensitive monster, the novel picks up immediately after the end of Shelley's original, with explorer Robert Walton deciding to avenge the death of his œfriend Victor by relentlessly pursuing Frankenstein's creation to its death. In retaliation, the monster treks to England to destroy Walton's family only to befriend and fall in love with Walton's capricious niece, Lily Winterbourne. Run-ins with misunderstanding humans and the monomaniacal Walton as the couple attempt to flee to the desolate Orkney Islands give the monster ample opportunities to reflect on the inherent cruelty of humans, the nature of compassion, and mysteries of life and death. O'Keefe credibly extrapolates the moods and thoughts of the monster from how Shelley first imagined them in one of the better recent treatments of the Frankenstein theme.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Literary spin-offs and sequels are all the rage now, and children’s author O’Keefe jumps on the bandwagon with her first adult novel. Beginning where Mary Shelley left off, she imaginatively resurrects the monster from the ambiguous conclusion of Frankenstein, contemplating his own suicide after the death of his creator, Victor Frankenstein. Vowing to take up Victor’s crusade to hunt down the creature and destroy it at all costs, Captain Robert Walton pursues the monster across Europe at a fast-paced clip. Infusing the monster with an introspective nature and Walton with an obsessive call to duty, the author does an admirable job of picking up the philosophical threads—ambition, responsibility, and humanity—Shelley wove into the original. Never forgetting that Frankenstein is first and foremost regarded as a gothic horror classic, she interweaves the requisite elements of romance, suspense, terror, and revenge into the page-turning narrative. --Margaret Flanagan
Top customer reviews
This book is very well written from a grammar, mechanics and use of language standpoint. This is something I truly appreciate in a writer.
I initially thought a follow-up to "Frankenstein" would make for a good story. But as I read through some of the earlier reviews, I found I am not the only one who thought it would be better than it had been executed.
I had trouble (and still don't understand) why Walton was so intent on tracking and killing Victor...over the course of 10 years. He's either really bad at tracking or did not find the courage to actually take a life. "Madness," or even obsession does not really seem like a valid reason to spend so much time, money and life.
Much of the story seems disjointed. I will be the first to admit that I do not, generally speaking, like reading books written in a "journal" style of storytelling. Had I know this book was basically a "journal," I very likely would have passed.
I agree with other reviewers who felt the characters in the story were either underdeveloped or overshadowed unnecessarily. I would have liked to know more about how Victor made it from Venice to England...even by today's travel standards that is not a short trip.
When I read the Acknowledgements, Heyboer-O'Keefe included her editor...which is probably a great idea for any writer. The part that caught my attention is the part where her editor told her, "Now cut 20 percent, rewrite the rest, and then let me see it..." I think Heyboer-O'Keefe cut the 20 percent that connected the story line and the characters.
I thought O'Keefe's prose blended seamlessly with Shelley's--an important point for me with sequels, but make no mistake, Ms. O'Keefe certainly puts her own spin on things. Once the game was on--Walton vowing revenge on the creature that he believes stole Victor Frankenstein from him--I was swept away. The reader is brought into the moment with powerful and concise descriptions of place and time. While reading I walked with the monster, hid with him under his cloak, skulked in doorways and listened to conversations, and longing--like him--to be a part of a world where he starts out as a vouyer. As a reader, I really felt that I was there--in the dark allies, the windswept cliffs, the dark mine.
Of course, the monster can't stay hidden forever, and his journey draws him out into the world where he is monstrous, but still, I FELT for him--another important point. The characters are finely drawn, and I found it easy to get attached to them--only for the story to turn them around and present new facets of their personalities that not only pulled me along in the story, but tossed me emotionally from love to hate to pity. Tension is built and released and built again. I found myself questioning What is a monster? Who is the real monster?
So now I want to read it again--but first I'm going to revisit and old friend--the original. I'm looking forward to what this sequel will bring to it, and what it will bring to a re-reading. For reading groups, there is a guide of 15 questions at the end of the book.