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.

Buy this book from:
Powells.*
A local independent bookstore via Indiebound.*
Amazon.*

This review was done with a book received from the publisher for review.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

Out of the Shadows by Joanne Rendell – Book Review

Out of the Shadows by Joanne Rendell
Published by NAL Trade, an imprint of Penguin

All her life, Clara’s mother has told her about their family’s alleged connection Mary Shelley, a story that Clara largely ignored. After her mother dies, though, Clare feels driven to discover whether her mother’s stories are true. And really, it is just as well that Clara has something other than just her work to occupy her, since her fiancé Anthony is extremely tied up in his research for a new cancer drug.

“Out of the Shadows” is the second of Rendell’s three books I have read, and I’m sold. I will absolutely be reading her first book, as well as whatever else she comes out with. Although her characters tend to be New York academics, her stories are not derivative , even of one another. In “Out of the Shadows,” Clara is a young woman searching for her identity and a way to connect with her mother and her past.  One of my favorite thing about Rendell’s books is that her protagonists’ romantic lives are secondary to the story, they are part of these women’s lives so they must inform the story, but they are not the main focus.

In addition to Clara’s storyline, Rendell also included small snippets of Shelley’s young life, up through her meeting of Shelley. Although I did not find these sections as engaging as Clara’s storyline, they did add a depth to the work as a whole and helped to give a feel for the woman about whom Clara was searching for information. This look at Mary Shelley’s life also gave “Out of the Shadows” more power when it began to explore many of the same themes as did Shelley’s seminal work, “Frankenstein.”

Highly recommended.

Buy this book from:
Powells.*
A local independent bookstore via Indiebound.*
Amazon
.*

This review was done with a book received from the publisher.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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