The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein
By: Kiersten White
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
Bang Bang Review
Our story begins with a despondent Victor already at University leaving a love lorn Elizabeth waiting at the Frankenstein manor. She’s waiting for a letter from Victor after months of silence. She’s waiting for Victor to marry her so she won’t be thrown out of the manor and she reminds us ALL THE TIME. She’s tired of waiting so the story opens with her and the governess, Justine, traveling to find Victor at his school.
The novel is called the Dark Descent of … but she doesn’t descent darkly enough. She’s jealous and paranoid but that’s about it. She’s worried about her future in the manor because she no longer has her purpose of distracting Victor now that he’s in school and that’s understandable. White paints the picture of an Elizabeth who is jealous of the governess and friend Justine because she has a purpose and she’s content but White doesn’t go dark enough. If she was truly descending, she would be a manipulative saboteur but White makes her too altruistic. It is possible to make a sympathetic villain-look at Cersei Lannister from Game of Thrones.
The writing is too one the nose. White makes is PAINFULLY obvious that Elizabeth is too dependent on Victor and will eventually grow to be independent. That’s the normal arc of many characters but White pounds it into to reader’s head that Elizabeth is a weak woman who needs Victor to save her. I eventually became bored with the story and just wanted Elizabeth to get a clue, grow a pair, and be her own woman.
White also doesn’t create a creepy atmosphere. There’s an attempt but I wasn’t transported to the urine smelling mud soaked 18th century German town.
I just wish White had have gone deeper into the mania a person is capable of experiencing. We just get some mild hysteria from a girl we’ve read before.
Bang Bang Rating:
By: Courntey Summers
Publication: September 4, 2018
Bang Bang Review
Sadie is told in two perspectives, West McCray a Serial-type- podcast and Sadie. When Sadie’s grandmother contacts West to investigate Sadie’s sudden disappearance, he tracks her through interviews of people Sadie encountered.
Right away I was intrigued because we are getting the perspective of Sadie, in first person, and in the next chapters we are getting the perspective of someone five months later. It’s different than most YA contemporary I’ve read and I’m drawn to this. In Sadie’s chapters, we learn that she’s left to find the killer of her 13-year-old sister. Sadie is erratic and angry and determined. She’s vulnerable at times and very strong at other times which made for a believable character. There were times when I found myself doubting some of her incredible feats but I had to remind myself that she raised herself and her sister which forced her to become an adult at a young age so perhaps she is able to think and act that quickly on her feet.
West does not have much character development. There were times where he doubted the public interest of the story and he sympathized because he had a daughter but other than that; there wasn’t much to him. However, this story is really not about West, it was about his interviews with Sadie’s acquaintances and I thought it was written well.
Courtney Summers is a very good writer. She was able to convey pain and desperation with very few words. There were several moments of intensity that were stressful to read because you didn’t know who was around the corner. Sadie suffered a lot of trauma as a kid and there were times when she would jump from a flashback to current and it was disorientating to read because Summers didn’t provide transitions. Of course this was intentional because the reader is made to feel what Sadie was feeling at the time and it was effective. I fear some readers will struggle with this but keep in mind that it’s not bad writing; it’s good writing.
This book was tough to read because of the subject matter. I won’t say because it’s a spoiler but there are some serious trigger warnings. I’m not gonna lie; it was a sad book and I don’t like sad books but I’m glad a read it and I recommend you to read it too.
That ending though…I’m meeting Courtney at ALA and I hope someone asks about that ending.
Bang Bang Review 1/2