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The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein
Cover of The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein
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A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER AN NPR BEST BOOK OF THE YEARA CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR "Inescapably compelling." —VICTORIA SCHWAB, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The...
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER AN NPR BEST BOOK OF THE YEARA CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR "Inescapably compelling." —VICTORIA SCHWAB, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The...
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  • A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
    AN NPR BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
    A CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
     
    "Inescapably compelling."VICTORIA SCHWAB, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Invisible Life of Addie Larue


    "A masterful and monstrous retelling." —STEPHANIE GARBER, #1 New York Times and internationally bestselling author of Caraval and Legendary

    A stunning and dark reimagining of Frankenstein told from the point-of-view of Elizabeth Lavenza, who is taken in by the Frankenstein family.
    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. 
    **Ebook exclusive: the full text of Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN**
 

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Excerpts-

  • From the cover

    To be weak is miserable
     
     
     
    Lightning clawed across the sky, tracing veins through the clouds and marking the pulse of the universe itself.
     
    I sighed happily as rain slashed the carriage windows and thunder rumbled so loudly we could not even hear the wheels bump when the dirt lane met the cobblestones at the edge of Ingolstadt.
     
    Justine trembled beside me like a newborn rabbit, burying her face in my shoulder. Another bolt lit our carriage with bright white clarity before rendering us temporarily deaf with a clap of thunder so loud the windows threatened to loosen.
     
    “How can you laugh?” Justine asked. I had not realized I was laughing until that moment.
     
    I stroked her dark hair where strands dangled free from her hat. Justine hated loud noises of any type: Slamming doors. Storms. Shouting. Especially shouting. But I had made certain she had endured none of that in the past two years. It was so odd that our separate origins—similar in cruelty, though differing in duration—had had such opposite outcomes. Justine was the most open and loving and genuinely good person I had ever known.
     
    And I was—
     
    Well. Not like her.
     
    “Did I ever tell you Victor and I used to climb out onto the roof of the house to watch lightning storms?”
     
    She shook her head, not lifting it.
     
    “The way the lighting would play off the mountains, throwing them into sharp relief, as though we were watching the creation of the world itself. Or over the lake, so it looked like it was in both the sky and the water. We would be soaked by the end; it is a wonder neither of us caught our death.” I laughed again, remembering. My skin—fair like my hair—would turn the most violent shades of red from the cold. Victor, with his dark curls plastered to his sallow forehead, accentuating the shadows he always bore beneath his eyes, would look like death. What a pair we were!
     
    “One night,” I continued, sensing Justine was calming, “lightning struck a tree on the grounds not ten body lengths from where we sat.”
     
    “That must have been terrifying!”
     
    “It was glorious.” I smiled, placing my hand flat against the cold glass, feeling the temperature beneath my lacy white gloves. “To me, it was the great and terrible power of nature. It was like seeing God.”
     
    Justine clucked disapprovingly, peeling herself from my side to give me a stern look. “Do not blaspheme.”
     
    I stuck my tongue out at her until she relented into a smile.
     
    “What did Victor think of it?”
     
    “Oh, he was horribly depressed for months afterward. I believe his exact phrasing was that he ‘languished in valleys of incomprehensible despair.’ ”
     
    Justine’s smile grew, though with a puzzled edge. Her face was clearer than any of Victor’s texts. His books always required further knowledge and intense study, while Justine was an illuminated manuscript—beautiful and treasured and instantly understandable.
     
    I reluctantly pulled the curtains closed on the carriage window, sealing us away from the storm for her comfort. She had not left the house at the lake since our last disastrous trip into Geneva had ended with her insane, bereft mother attacking us. This journey into Bavaria was taxing for her. “While I saw the destruction of the tree as nature’s beauty, Victor saw power—power to light up the night and banish darkness, power to...

About the Author-

  • Kiersten White is the New York Times bestselling author of the Camelot Rising, And I Darken, and Paranormalcy series and many more novels. She lives with her family near the ocean in San Diego, which, in spite of its perfection, spurs her to dream of faraway places and even further-away times. Look for The Excalibur Curse, the gripping conclusion to the acclaimed Arthurian fantasy trilogy, out December 7, 2021.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 23, 2018
    With this elegantly twisted retelling of the birth of a monster, White (Beanstalker and Other Hilarious Scarytales) resurrects the Gothic tale of survival found in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which turns 200 this year. Rescued from an abusive caregiver at age five, Elizabeth Lavenza is brought to the Frankenstein family’s villa to act as companion to young Victor Frankenstein, a brilliant child prone to rage. Elizabeth becomes everything to Victor—his champion and protector, his friend and confidante—and hones her manipulative talents. But when the errant genius leaves the family to study and doesn’t write for almost two years, leaving Elizabeth open to possible dismissal from the Frankenstein home, she enlists the aid of her friend Justine to track him down. What she discovers in a strange Bavarian town is another link in a chain of horror that only grows after he’s found. Skillful worldbuilding and foreshadowing steadily build suspense to a breathtaking climax. Fans of psychological horror will luxuriate in the familiar feel of the timeless story and thrill at its unexpected twists. Ages 12–up. Agent: Michelle Wolfson, Wolfson Literary.

  • AudioFile Magazine Though Elizabeth Lavenza is relegated to a supporting role in Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN, she's the central figure in this chilling reimagining of the gothic classic. Narrator Katharine McEwan's portrayal of the title character is soft, measured, and sympathetic--all necessary qualities for Elizabeth, whose position as a ward of the wealthy Frankenstein family depends on her ability to control son Victor's frightening, mercurial moods. As the story unfolds, adding disturbing new layers to Shelley's original plot, McEwan draws listeners quietly yet inexorably into Elizabeth's growing dread at Victor's gruesome experiments, her resolve to secure their future, and her shock when she discovers the horrors in which she's been complicit. As eerie as it is enthralling, this audiobook can be relished by FRANKENSTEIN fans and newcomers alike. R.A.H. � AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine

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