Book Review

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein : Book Review


The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein

Author: Kiersten White
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling, Historical Fiction
Pages: 304
Publisher: Delacorte Press


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.


This one.. took me by surprise! This was the first book I’ve read by Kiersten White and I really enjoyed it! It was dark and atmospheric, while also having light tender moments that draw you in to the characters lives.

This Frankenstein retelling is told from Elizabeth’s point of view, which I thought was a fun take on the classic novel. Elizabeth is taken in my Victor Frankenstein’s family at a young age to essentially help Victor become better acquainted with society as he has a very strong, eccentric, and downright scary personality. Elizabeth always knows how to calm Victor when he goes into one of his ‘rages’ and honestly puts her own life on the life A LOT to help Victor because over time she has to come to love him and all his secrets.

One thing that is not a secret though is Victor’s fascination with the human body and death. This story is about Elizabeth’s discovery of Victor’s monster and her reaction to the person she loves and cares for so deeply. What I loved about this story is that Elizabeth doesn’t excuse Victor’s misdeeds. She doesn’t brush them aside and pretend she doesn’t see or know anything. She actively tries to counteract and fight the Monster.  I am HERE for it. Looking back now I can see how strong Elizabeth was, and that she doesn’t even know how brave her actions were.

All of the characters in this story are incredibly complex, which was to the stories advantage because this was very much a character driven book. I generally prefer plot driven stories but this one really worked for me. I cared more about the characters and what was happening to them than I did about what they were doing or where they were going. I grew to care about all of these characters, and actually gasped allowed at parts that caused my favorites anguish. This book made me react as if they are my own friends and I have to protect them from harm. I like that.

I will say though, because this is a Frankenstein retelling, there are some uh.. graphic scenes. Nothing too extreme but there were some parts that grossed me out or made me feel all twitchy from what was happening. This is very much a Gothic novel and has some dark elements to it so I urge you to proceed with caution if you are at all uncomfortable with death and dismemberment.

I did really enjoy this story! I think it is a standalone? I honestly hope not though, based on how it ended I think there is a lot more potential for another book and I would love to see where the story takes us!

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Bookishly Brittknee

10 thoughts on “The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein : Book Review”

  1. Great review! I read this one last year and loved it. It was also my first book by Kiersten White. I couldn’t help but fall in love with Elizabeth sympathize with her need to protect Victor. I agree with you on some of those scenes. They were definitely a lot more graphic than what I was expecting for YA.

    Liked by 1 person

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