Monday, September 21, 2009

Review: The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein by Peter Ackroyd

When two nineteenth-century Oxford students—Victor Frankenstein, a serious researcher, and the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley—form an unlikely friendship, the result is a tour de force that could only come from one of the world's most accomplished and prolific authors.

This haunting and atmospheric novel opens with a heated discussion, as Shelley challenges the conventionally religious Frankenstein to consider his atheistic notions of creation and life. Afterward, these concepts become an obsession for the young scientist. As Victor begins conducting anatomical experiments to reanimate the dead, he at first uses corpses supplied by the coroner. But these specimens prove imperfect for Victor's purposes. Moving his makeshift laboratory to a deserted pottery factory in Limehouse, he makes contact with the Doomsday men—the resurrectionists—whose grisly methods put Frankenstein in great danger as he works feverishly to bring life to the terrifying creature that will bear his name for eternity.

Filled with literary lights of the day such as Bysshe Shelley, Godwin, Lord Byron, and Mary Shelley herself, and penned in period-perfect prose, The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein is sure to become a classic of the twenty-first century.

Received from the publisher for review.

The story was really quite believable. It had a nice, Masterpiece Theater feel to it - historically believable without being too bogged down in every single historical accuracy. The story and text had a nice flow and was quite readable.

For someone so unstable, Frankenstein himself was actually rather likeable. Shelley was rather annoyingly referred to as Byshee throughout and the name was really quite distracting.

This one gets eight stars. There was a masterful blending of historical fact and figures with fiction. Although it was rather slow moving at points it was overall quite well paced. It was interesting to see Frankenstein's descent into madness. The interpretation of Frankenstein's monster was chilling and almost worse than the original! The darkness that pervades the entire book gave it a lovely shadow and creepiness. This was such an intriguing story that it left me with a "Damn, that was weird" feeling a the end. In a good way!

Rating: ★★★★★


Ryan G said...

I haven't gotten around to starting this one yet. I was wanting to finish Frankenstein first but for some reason I'm finding myself distracted from it so i may pick this one up sooner than I thought.

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