ARC Review: The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

TheDarkDescentofElizabethFrankensteinThe Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

Published by Delacorte Press on September 25, 2018

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Historical, Horror, Retelling

Pages: 304 Format: ARC Source: Library

3.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

This ARC was received by my library department for marketing purposes. This does not impact my thoughts and opinions in any way.

Elizabeth Lavenza hasn’t had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her “caregiver,” and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything–except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable–and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth’s survival depends on managing Victor’s dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.


After finally reading Frankenstein a couple of years back I’ve been fascinated with Mary Shelley’s monster tale and with the release of Kiersten White’s The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein my excitement was high. This one definitely lived up to the dark, vivid atmosphere of the original with excellent commentary on what makes a monster but fell short for me in other regards.

I’m actually surprised by how much I loved Elizabeth. She’s a crafty, driven woman trying to solidify her place in society by any means necessary. With a brilliant mind and quick wit she leaves her mark on those around her. Her friend Justine is a quiet, kind source of compassion in this dark world while Victor provided the anguish, suffering, and intensity that you would expect from a Frankenstein.

Once again I was impressed by Kiersten White’s writing and the setting was perfectly dark/creepy but beautiful in it’s own right. It also dealt heavily with toxic love and abuse which I thought was handled well. Unfortunately the story just wasn’t very compelling. Since it’s a retelling I expected some predictability but the narrative lacked it’s own spark which made reading drag in parts.

Overall The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White was an interesting take on an iconic classic that fans of Gothic horror will definitely want to pick up. While I wasn’t the biggest fan of this one, I did love the feminist themes, atmospheric setting, and Elizabeth as the MC. Plus it was the perfect book to start off the Fall season so if this sounds like your cup of tea give it a shot!

Are you excited for The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein?

Let me know in the comments below!

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