Book Review: My Frankenstein by Michael Lee

10775739Title: My Frankenstein
Author: Michael Lee
Genre: Retelling Classics, Fantasy, Gothic Horror, Historical Fiction, Dark Romance
Pages: 408
Rating: 4,5 stars
Goodreads
Review copy provided by Bewitching Book Tours.

In a small village in early 19th Century young Eva is enthralled by the new young baron, Viktor Frankenstein. Viktor promises to transform the traditional little town into a beacon of science and gives the book loving Eva access to his fantastic library. Eva becomes his student and assists him in a secret experiment, though she is kept in the dark about its ultimate aim. Soon after that Viktor introduces Eva to his “cousin” Adam. Adam is horribly disfigured with stitches running across his face. Viktor claims he is mute and simpleminded, but Eva takes pity on him and sets out to teach him to speak.…

What follows is a combination of tragic romance and classic horror as Eva is pulled between Viktor, who grows jealous and takes murderous steps to ensure his secret, and Adam, who possess tremendous strength and rage yet deep inside is innocent and vulnerable.

In his debut fantasy novel, Michael J. Lee retells the classic story by Mary Shelley as a dark romance with steampunk overtones.

In a small village in 19th century England, a young and quite naive girl named Eva has an undeniable passion for science and progress, and she even managed to make a lightning rod. While she is trying to attach the latter to the roof of the inn she’s living in, she nearly falls down, because the scene that’s unfolding in front of her – her best friend kissing the boy she has loved all her life – makes her so upset that she loses her balance. Luckily, two strange men enquire about her well-being before entering the inn. Although she finds the first man to be quite attractive, and he seems like a true gentleman, it takes a while before Eva figures out that this man is Viktor, the new baron of their village.

Much like Eva herself, Viktor is a scientist. Amazed by the girl’s intelligence, he agrees to teach her the sciences, from electricity and mathematics to biology and chemistry, along with the help of his friend, a Russian called Igor. Viktor is a man of progression, and he is determined to bring their village into a new era. What Eva doesn’t know yet, is that her love for Viktor might be dangerous, not only for her, but for her friends and the entire village as well.

Then, one day, Viktor does the unthinkable. He introduces Eva to his cousin Adam, who got horribly deformed in an accident. Whereas Eva is capable of looking past the horrific appearance of Adam, and even manages to teach him something, Viktor could not care less about the young and horribly looking man. But Eva feels like something is up, and Viktor isn’t telling her the whole truth. To protect not only herself, but Adam as well, she is determined to find out what the truth is.

I loved Eva as a character. She is intelligent, but hardly realises she is. She is charming, intuitive and caring, but no one seems to recognise these qualities in her, aside from Viktor then. Viktor is a progressive scientist, too advanced for his era, too innovative, modern and evolved for his century. He is the tragic scientist, the misunderstood genius, the evil mastermind who does evil in the name of progress and evolution. I was secretly hoping that, even when she discovered some of his more evil personality traits, Eva would still be able to love him. To see whether or not she did, you will have to read the book though. I can only say that I still did, that he and Eva are one of the most fitting, tragically romantic couples I’ve come across in literature, and that they really touched my heart. They are both very interesting, relatable and well-described characters. I can understand that not everyone will like Viktor’s personality, but I believe he truly intended to do good, but did everything wrong, and thus was more of a tragic hero than of an evil villain.

I loved the fact that the author takes the original Frankenstein story by Mary Shelley, and adds this darkly romantic twist to it. The idea is both original and interesting, and when pulled off successfully – as Michael Lee absolutely did in this novel – it can change your view on the original Frankenstein story forever. Now I can no longer imagine Frankenstein without thinking about Viktor and Eva and their mutual bond.

I also loved the fact that Viktor Frankenstein isn’t just interested in creating a human being out of corpses and bringing it to life. He brings progression and modernization to Eva’s village, from a coal mine to a hospital, and practically brings the 19th century, filled with scientific research, machinery and evolution, to this village that still seems to be stuck in the dark Middle Ages. I also enjoyed reading about the villager’s reaction to all that, about their rebellion against progress, about their battle for the old and familiar against the new and unknown.

My Frankenstein reads very easily. It’s a fast-paced novel, with a decent story behind it, excellent characterization and it also explores several interesting topics. Michael Lee’s writing style is very fluent, and the story is gripping from the beginning to the end. I would advise My Frankenstein to anyone who enjoys a good classic retold, or to anyone who liked reading the original Frankenstein story.

Comments

  1. Oh, wow, this looks amazing! When I read Frankenstein in school, I absolutely loved it! Mary Shelley was simply an amazing writer, and it is sad that she never added anything else. Although I’m not sure how you would follow that book! Since reading it, I discovered Koontz’s Frankenstein series and was thoroughly entranced at the concepts in it; however, I didn’t necessarily like vilifying Viktor.

    Anyways, thanks for this review! This is going near the top of my TBR pile for this year. Well, off to Amazon ^_~

    Sinn @ sinnfulbooks.blogspot.com

  2. i am loving the sound of this one. adding it to my tbr!

  3. Thank you for your wonderful and in depth review!

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