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Friday, March 8, 2013

Review: Dr. Frankenstein's Daughters by Suzanne Weyn

Publisher: Scholastic
Published: January 1, 2013
Pages: 250
Source: For Review from Scholastic Canada
Rating: 3 Stars

A new generation is creating a monster....

Giselle and Ingrid are the twin daughters of Doctor Victor Frankenstein, but they are very different people, and when they inherit his castle in the Orkney Islands, Giselle dreams of holding parties and inviting society -- but Ingrid is fascinated by her father's forbidden experiments.

In short: I had fun with Dr. Frankenstein's Daughters by Suzanne Weyn, but ultimately, I wanted a story with a little more substance.
Set sometime after the events of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Dr. Frankenstein's Daughters tells the story of, well, Dr. Frankenstein's orphaned twin daughters, Giselle and Ingrid. The girls - complete opposites in personality - inherit Castle Frankenstein on a remote island in Scotland. Beautiful and shallow Giselle takes on life as the new Baroness of the castle while intelligent and ambitious Ingrid takes up in her father's footsteps in performing secret experiments. Life is not so great, however, as the girls are soon plagued by the news of mysterious murders in the area. I had fun with Dr. Frankenstein's Daughters for the most part, despite a few quibbles. I particularly loved the historical cameo appearances - the most notable of which was Mary Shelley, naturally. That was pretty clever.

Chapters alternate between Giselle and Ingrid's point of view, told in diary format. The diary-style story device was probably my main criticism of Dr. Frankenstein's Daughters. There were often lengthy scenes of dialogue included in their diary entries and that seemed odd for someone who is supposedly recording their thoughts of events after the fact. The entries just didn't sound like someone writing in their diary. There was really no purpose for this particular story device and the author, Suzanne Weyn, could have easily written the story without it and accomplished the same thing.

I was also a little disappointed because Dr. Frankenstein's Daughters wasn't what I expected it to be, though I realize that's a bit unfair. I had been expecting Frankenstein's Monster to be a major part of the story and make many appearances, but he only does once in a flashback. I was hoping for more of a scary gothic horror vibe, like in the original Frankenstein, but instead the story seemed geared more towards a younger age group, specifically younger girls. Ultimately, I prefer books with a little more substance, but I would recommend Dr. Frankenstein's Daughters to gothic horror fans of a younger age group.

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  1. Hmmmm. I'm not sure how I feel about the diary format either Aylee. Sometimes I really like diary entries, but, like you, when there's dialogue and everything it no longer feels like a diary entry at all. Bummer on the absence of the Frankenstein monster too, I was hoping he would play a larger role in this one. Fabulous review as always though!

  2. I have this on my shelf and I am curious about it because I like Frankenstein but I haven't got around to it yet. Part of the reason is because it is so short and I feared it wouldn't be in depth enough, like you mentioned in your review. I still give it a shot but I remain apprehensive

  3. Oh bummer. I did a little dance when I saw this in my reader. I hadn't heard of it and the concept sounds fantastic. I'm sad to hear it disappoints and is quite young. I too was hoping for dark and Gothic.

    Great review darling.

  4. haha I may actually try this one now! I was worried that it would be as haunting as the Mary Shelley version. Wow, that story stayed with me for weeks and weeks. I hadn't LOVED it back then but I've been meaning to re-read it. It's a shame it wasn't more connected to the source material though, like you said. And that diary entry plot-device with tons of dialogue sounds a bit odd though, I think it would annoy me too! I may just reconsider giving this one a try, thanks for the insightful & well-written review :)

  5. To be honest, I'm not overly fond of diary novels in general and based on this concept, I can think of a million better ways to tell this story. Either way, a castle in Scotland sounds deliciously creepy. I think I'm ready to give this one a try despite the issues. I'm not exactly young, but I'm a gothic horror fan through and through.

  6. Sorry it isn't what you expected. I think that it would be hard for me to read the diary format.

    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  7. It sounds like it was okay but not great, which is not necessarily bad. I also would have thought the monster would feature more. otherwise it sounds like a pretty standard, diary-entry book.

    thanks for sharing your thoughts, the cover is creepy-ish at least.

  8. That's too bad this one didn't live up to your expectations. I thought it looked really good! I do hate it when the dialogue just doesn't seem right OR when it doesn't seem realistic. Especially with letters or diary entries. :(

    Great, honest review, Aylee!

  9. I haven't read Frankenstein yet (very very sad, I know), but I'm always fascinated by it so I will give it a go sometime. I like how the two daughters in Dr. Frankenstein's Daughters are polar opposites and that too after being twins! I'm intrigued by that and would like to dig more into it and find out stuff. It's a little disappointing that the book didn't match your expectations, but I guess yes, younger readers might just enjoy it! Absolutely awesome review as always, Aylee! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. :)

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

  10. I think diary entry books are really difficult to pull off, and a lot of dialogue really sticks out like a sore thumb. Sorry this one fell short of your expectations! I would hope for a more gothic, creepy story too, so I'm pretty sure this would disappoint me. Excellent review!

  11. The diary formatting does sound a little unnecessary. If long sections of speech are included in the entries, I wouldn't expect it to be a diary entry at all. This is the first review I've read for this book, so I'll definitely have a look at some other thoughts before deciding, but expectations are lower now than they used to be. Great review, Aylee!

  12. Yeah, for me the diary format just slows down the book. I have a Netgalley book to review at the moment and it's a good premise, good storyline so far, but AGH half of it's told in email format!

  13. Hmm, the diary format does sound like it doesn't fit very well with this one. Is there wasn't Frankenstein's monster, were there other monsters?

  14. Unfortunately, I lost interst after I read "diary format"- eek don't think I'm a fan of that. Pass for me, plus I don't like the cover.

  15. I think I'll pass on this just because it doesn't sound great or anything. I feel like it's one of those books you like while reading but then either forget about it or see all the problems with it after you're done reading. Novels in the form of diary entries are also usually a miss for me. Thanks for the great review though, Aylee :)

  16. Oh no, what a shame. A diary format can be fun, but I can see that it's really misplaces in this book. I was very excited about this book, because I liked her Crimson Thread. Hmmm, I might pick it up once I see a copy in the library, but I will keep in mind that I can get disappointed by the story.


  17. Not sure I am going to read this one. I haven't read Frankenstein yet (shame on me) and I don't really like horror-though you did say this was low on the horror totem pole. I just don't think it's my type of book. But the cover certainly is creepy.

    Thanks for the review.