Such Wicked Intent (Victor Frankenstein) by Kenneth Oppel

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Such Wicked Intent (Victor Frankenstein) by Kenneth Oppel

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Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Wonderful follow-up to Oppel's first Frankenstein sequel, This Dark Endeavour. As with Shelley's original novel, it's difficult to like Victor Frankenstein, but equally difficult to stop reading about him.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: August 2012
Publisher: David Fickling
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 0857560166

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Such Wicked Intent takes us to a few months after the shocking conclusion to Victor Frankenstein's alchemical attempt to save his brother's life in This Dark Endeavour. The Dark Library has been burned and the entire family is trying to move on. Elizabeth is secretly considering joining a convent. Henry is making plans to travel abroad with his merchant father. Victor's parents are trying to come to terms with everything but his mother is finding it particularly difficult.

And Victor?

Well, Victor has rescued something from the bonfire of Dark Library volumes. And it leads him to a terrible but enticing discovery - a way to enter the spirit world. And of course Victor cannot resist. There, aided by mysterious black butterflies, he discovers a way to bring back the dead. And this takes him straight back into the obsession that almost consumed him and his companions in This Dark Endeavour...

As with the first novel in this series, the sense is all of oncoming disaster moving in slow motion towards both characters and reader. Everyone but Victor knows that this will end badly but he pulls in both characters and reader by sheer force of personality. It's difficult to like Victor Frankenstein but it's equally difficult to stop reading about him. He has no boundaries. His ambition is overweening. He is impulsive and rash. But he is highly intelligent and he burns through life with a charisma that makes him irresistible. Henry and Elizabeth make various attempts to apply the brakes but always in vain. They know Victor corrupts not only himself but those around him but they just don't have the strength to get in his way and stay there.

It's difficult to say too much without spoiling either this or the previous book but the wicked intent of the title and the main arc of the book leads to some truly shocking scenes. It's a dark, dark story and one worthy of any Gothic classic. I love the direction in which Oppel is taking his tragically-flawed central character. It's true to Shelley and it's also genuinely chilling. The prose finds exactly the same balance as This Dark Endeavour - elegant and precise and not anachronistic, but still beautifully accessible to modern readers.

If you loved This Dark Endeavour, you'll love Such Wicked Intent. If you haven't yet read This Dark Endeavour but love a good Gothic chill, then read them both as soon as you can. I'm loving this series. Roll on book three!

Don't forget to read the first book in this sequence. You might also enjoy The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, an atmospheric supernatural thriller featuring a group of orphans in Calcutta in 1916. Or what about the fabulous vampire novel My Swordhand is Singing by Marcus Sedgwick?

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