Frankenstein’s Monster by Susan Heyboer O’Keefe – Book Review

Frankenstein’s Monster by Susan Heyboer O’Keefe
Published by Three Rivers Press, an imprint of Random House

Set in the years following the death of Dr. Victor Frankenstein, “Frankenstein’s Monster” follows the plight of, well, Frankenstein’s monster as he tries to make his way in a world which no longer includes his creator. Unfortunately, explorer Robert Walton, the man to whom Victor Frankenstein told his tortuous story, has assumed Frankenstein’s hatred for his unfortunate creation and has been tracking the monster unceasingly since his friend’s death. After Walton manages to destroy what little life the monster has built for himself, the monster adopts the name Victor Hartmann and vows to destroy Walton’s family as Walton destroyed his own. What Hartmann doesn’t expect, though, is that Walton’s niece, Lily Winterbourne, will test his resolve, as well as his humanity or lack thereof.

Thank you, Susan Heyboer O’Keefe for writing what I think is a fabulous continuation of an extremely well-known classic. Actually, the style and development of the plot and the characters were much closer to what I imagined that “Frankenstein” would be than to what it actually was. I found “Frankenstein” to be an interesting concept with poor execution, but I think O’Keefe continued Mary Shelley’s concept with much better structure and follow-through. Hartmann, nee Monster, struggled constantly with the degree to which he might or might not be human, and to which nature he should give in. There was also the interesting question of who was more monster: Hartmann or Walton.

Whether or not you have actually read “Frankenstein,” anyone with a good deal of familiarity with the story is likely to really enjoy “Frankenstein’s Monster.” Recommended.

If you’re interested in this, you may want to check out the first episode of my podcast with Nicole from Linus’ Blanket, What’s Old is New, in which we talked about “Frankenstein’s Monster” and other books based on Shelley’s original work.

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This review was done with a book received from the publisher for review.
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8 comments to Frankenstein’s Monster by Susan Heyboer O’Keefe – Book Review

  • You are so right when you say this is the book that you expected to read. I felt the same way. But then, we’re biased.

  • I have this on my list for a paired reading like I did with Dracula and Dracula, My Love. I’m glad to hear you really enjoyed it.

  • Paired reading, what a fabulous idea. Both Frankenstein and Frankenstien’s Monster are on my TBR!!

  • Pam

    I haven’t read the orignial in a long time. I’d like to reread it and maybe I’ll read this paired with it. Sounds well done.

  • I love books like this — thanks for the review. I’m glad you both enjoyed it — that’s promising. I had to laugh about your comments on the original Frankenstein — talk about one of the most underwhelming and discreet monster stories!

  • Amanda

    I enjoyed Frankenstein, but it’s been a little over a decade since I read it. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a continuation of a classic except for Jane Austen things that we read as part of a book club. For some reason, retellings of classics and sequels don’t sit too well for me.

  • Interesting! I really didn’t expect the glowing review, just because normally when someone follows up a classic (even if the classic isn’t that great) it falls on its face. I have always felt so much sympathy for the monster, and it sounds like that emotional response would be nurtured in this sequel!

  • Thanks so much for your comments and hosting the mini-challenge. This book looks good I have to try it :)