AWESOME-tober-fest 2009: The Frankenstein Papers book review
Frankenstein book week continues.
After deciding that I would read Frankenstein this Halloween, I wanted to also read a few other books that were inspired by or based themselves on the original Shelley novel. One of the books I chose was Fred Saberhagen’s The Frankenstein Papers.
The Frankenstein Papers billed itself as somewhat a sequel to Shelley’s novel. Fred Saberhagen is a popular genre writer. He’s written several series of books including The Berserkers and The First Swords saga. Saberhagen has also written several books based on Stoker’s Dracula. The Dracula books (as well as this Frankenstein book) tell the events of the original novel from the monster’s point of view. It’s a clever idea that I found fascinating enough to order it from PaperbackSwap.
This book, not surprisingly is written in a very similar style to Shelley’s novel. The events in this book happen during and in-between the events of the original novel. The monster, after the events in the original novel, is trapped in the far North and finds the captain’s log in the abandoned ship, The Argo (titular ship from the original novel). The monster begins writing down his side of the story, which means the majority of this novel also happens in flashback. As I said, the style and writing is remarkably similar to Shelley’s novel. And, like the original, it starts off a tad slow. But as the story moves forward, the book gains momentum and you start to see the events of the original novel from the monster’s point of view. Also, several events in the original novel are expanded upon. In Shelley’s tale, Victor Frankenstein becomes interested in electricity after watching a tree get struck by lightening. A family friend who’s also an expert in electrical energy happens to be there to explain some of the science to him. This event is given even greater importance in Saberhagen’s book when the identity of the “family friend” is revealed to be Ben Franklin who begins searching for Victor and the monster as he feels partly responsible for the monster’s creation. This chase for the monster and certain revelations about the nature of the monster make this a fun read. The book answers the “truth” about Frankenstein’s monster and what really happened that night of the creation. And it’s…odd. Like completely out of left field. I have to admit, I didn’t see it coming. And it’s so weird that you will either love it or hate it. It’s gonna be that polarizing.
However, despite the ending, The Frankenstein Papers a good book that starts a little slow, picks up in the middle and has an intriguing ending. If you liked the original novel, I believe you’ll like this, however you may hate the ending.
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.