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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