on 6 August 2014
As an English Literature student this Kindle adaptation is shocking as it is a shorter version of the original text and leaves out some of the Creatures narrative. The three star rating may show a simple reasoning/sympathy with the Creature as he the doppelganger of Victor on so many levels as Victor is the monster of his creation. However looking over Frankenstein in depth over this year really creates a love for Shelley as her writing overall is sublime even though Frankenstein is the biography of her life both on joys and losses if looking at it from the perspectives of Victor or Elizabeth. If your going to watch a film adaptation watch Kenneth Brannaghs adaptation as it sticks close to the book but it does change some key aspects. Kindle please make sure you have the right text before publishing instead of having an edited version as its rather disappointing when you've studied a text for nine months and download a copy for enjoyment when it's clearly edited. Please sort this issue out
on 21 June 2013
See my review of this book, and many more, at TalesfromtheGreatEastRoad.wordpress.com
After a childhood of indulging his scientific curiosities, Victor Frankenstein has realised his purpose: to create life from death. But despite succeeding, once he lays eye upon the creature his has created Victor knows he has made a grave mistake. He has created a monster, one which torments his soul and preys upon his family. No-one is safe, and now Victor must travel and destroy his work before anyone else is hurt.
Frankenstein is a novel that explores the nature of playing God and questions the limits of science. Through its melodramatic prose and horrific descriptions, it is a masterwork of the Gothic and Horror genres. The idea of an arrogant young man who believes he can defeat death only to have it go terribly wrong is one that has been used many times since this novel's publication. Victor tries to play God, only to regret his actions and detest his own creation, which in turn causes the Creature to hate him in turn, blaming Victor for his wretched existence. The novel challenges the idea of power between man and God: Victor is the creator thus the Creature believes him to be the cause of his suffering, and the only one able to relieve it, yet the Creature is far superior in strength and ability to survive in the wild. He haunts Victor's every move, striking down those he loves one by one despite all efforts to stop him; the Creature's free will gives him power over his God. The Creature also blames his murderous intent on Victor, insisting that he was inherently virtuous before the misery of rejection caused him to seek vengeance, whereas Victor believes him to be monstrous through and through. Mary Shelley questions the nature of mankind: are we born to good, or is this just a human ideal? After all, animals have no sense of evil, just survival. Is Frankenstein's creature man or beast? As in real life, there are no solid conclusions drawn.
Within this novel's style it is possible to see the origins of the Gothic genre. Whilst the questions asked are intriguing and it reads well, it is written in an almost painfully melodramatic way. Victor is often found weeping at mere thoughts and worries, whilst his creature laments his fortunes over and over to anyone listening: "When I run over the frightful catalogue of my sins, I cannot believe that I am the same creature whose thoughts were once filled with sublime and transcendent visions of the beauty and the majesty of goodness. But it is even so; the fallen angel becomes a malignant devil. Yet even that enemy of God and man had friends and associates in his desolation; I am alone.1" This reads as awfully heavy-handed, and soon becomes fairly boring.
It is easy to see why Frankenstein is considered a classic: its deep questions into human nature and the tormented journey of both Victor and his creature are fascinating to read. However, it is hindered by the overly dramatic writing style and self-serving soliloquies, which causes the novel to become repetitive.
1 All you need to do is add an "O" to the beginning of this quote and you have yourself a Shakespearian monologue
on 8 June 2013
To readers who have only seen the Hollywood movies, this book will come as something of a surprise. More a story of feelings and who is really the monster than a horror story, I felt Shelley wanted the reader to have sympathy for Victor which was not due. An interesting read, not hampered too badly by olde English, I recommend this book as a good read.
on 7 July 2013
The book is a product of its age and the sentiments written are far more thought provoking than the horror films of modern age on Frankenstein's Monster. This is not a horror story but more a heart searching of how a 19th century man reacts using the science of his day and perhaps going too far
on 20 October 2013
I downloaded this classic because my daughter is studying it for her GCSE. It take's a while to get into the actual story mainly because the narration is via letters from the explorer Robert Walton to his sister back home. However, once Victor Frankenstein is discovered and begins unfolding his tale the text moves a pace. It is does stutter at times and you have to immerse yourself in the style of the early 19th century language. Shelley's characters are not always clearly drawn, we are frequently told that the monster is grotesque but there is little actual description of his physical image apart from the fact that he is over 8 feet tall! Her style of writing sometimes feels clumsy and contrived and it's difficult to sympathise with Victor Frankenstein whose selfish pursuit of creating life causes so much destruction and despair. It does sometimes feels like you are ploughing through pages just to get to the good bits but it's not a long book and well worth reading if you like the genre, want to tick another classic off your list or need to support your teenager!
on 4 January 2013
Its a classic of course, but actually its badly constructed and long-winded. I persevered to the end, for the sake of knowing what it was all about. Only passing similarity to the "urban myth" of what Frankenstein's Monster was all about, which was kinda interesting. I didn't know that Frankenstein got most of the way to making a Mrs Monster, working in N Scotland, for instance. Nor that the original monster was created in Bavaria (S Germany).
Even if you accept the basic implausibility of the monster creation, the rest of the book is heavily peppered with other gross implausibilities to the point of being silly. If written today, this book would never have made it to being published, and rightly so.
on 3 May 2014
I was interested to read this novel, being so familiar with the story from popular culture. However, it was quite different to the one I was expecting.
There are no castles, lightning storms and the monster is not the unintelligent brute of the films - all creations of Hollywood.
However, I do think the Hammer concept of Frankenstein has been a persistent one because of the strength of the idea.
In the book the monster is quite different in a way in which I didn't like. Not to give any spoilers, but he isn't as sympathetic a character as the one so often chased by pitch fork wielding villagers in the movies.
Still worth a read, if you are curious to see how the legend was first created.
on 24 June 2016
The companions of our childhood always possess a certain power over our minds which hardly any later friend can obtain. They know our infantine dispositions, which, however they may be afterwards modified, are never eradicated; and they can judge of our actions with more certain conclusions as to the integrity of our motives. -
I feel exquisite pleasure in dwelling on the recollections of childhood, before misfortune had tainted my mind and changed its bright visions of extensive usefulness into gloomy and narrow reflections upon self. -
It is so long before the mind can persuade itself that she whom we saw every day and whose very existence appeared a part of our own can have departed forever—that the brightness of a beloved eye can have been extinguished and the sound of a voice so familiar and dear to the ear can be hushed, never more to be heard. -
After so much time spent in painful labour, to arrive at once at the summit of my desires was the most gratifying consummation of my toils. -
Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow. -
I knew my silence disquieted them -
A human being in perfection ought always to preserve a calm and peaceful mind and never to allow passion or a transitory desire to disturb his tranquillity. I do not think that the pursuit of knowledge is an exception to this rule. If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures in which no alloy can possibly mix, then that study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting the human mind. -
I threw the door forcibly open, as children are accustomed to do when they expect a spectre to stand in waiting for them on the other side; -
The republican institutions of our country have produced simpler and happier manners than those which prevail in the great monarchies that surround it. Hence there is less distinction between the several classes of its inhabitants; and the lower orders, being neither so poor nor so despised, their manners are more refined and moral. A servant in Geneva does not mean the same thing as a servant in France and England. Justine, thus received in our family, learned the duties of a servant, a condition which, in our fortunate country, does not include the idea of ignorance and a sacrifice of the dignity of a human being. -
He can no longer be a subject for pity; we must reserve that for his miserable survivors." -
The mere presence of the idea was an irresistible proof of the fact. -
to pass the awful boundary between life and death, -
hell of intense tortures such as no language can describe. -
A tingling long-lost sense of pleasure often came across me during this journey. Some turn in the road, some new object suddenly perceived and recognized, reminded me of days gone by, and were associated with the lighthearted gaiety of boyhood. -
How mutable are our feelings, and how strange is that clinging love we have of life even in the excess of misery! -
for nothing contributes so much to tranquillize the mind as a steady purpose—a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye. -
I persuaded myself that I was dreaming until night should come and that I should then enjoy reality in the arms of my dearest friends. -
he believes that when in dreams he holds converse with his friends and derives from that communion consolation for his miseries or excitements to his vengeance, that they are not the creations of his fancy, but the beings themselves who visit him from the regions of a remote world. -
"When younger," said he, "I believed myself destined for some great enterprise. My feelings are profound, but I possessed a coolness of judgment that fitted me for illustrious achievements. -
Be steady to your purposes and firm as a rock. -
But the consideration of these points, and the well balancing of what you may esteem your duties, I leave to you; -
I was the slave, not the master, of an impulse which I detested yet could not disobey. -
on 20 April 2015
Oh my goodness, it is going 2am in the morning and for the past two days I have been frenziedly engaged in reading this spectacular book. Frankenstein has moved me in a way I never knew were possible. I have felt such feelings of awe, shock, pity and love for character of Frankenstein that my insides have positively danced with them! And even now as I long to go to bed, I remain buzzing and in a state of elation because of the outstanding quality of the work I have just taken unrivalled pleasure from.
This book is magic! I feel so alive! If you're questioning whether to read it, I urge you to go right ahead and bless yourself.
“...There is love in me the likes of which you've never seen. There is rage in me the likes of which should never escape. If I am not satisfied in the one, I will indulge the other.”
“Even broken in spirit as he is, no one can feel more deeply than he does the beauties of nature. The starry sky, the sea, and every sight afforded by these wonderful regions, seems still to have the power of elevating his soul from earth. Such a man has a double existence: he may suffer misery, and be overwhelmed by disappointments; yet, when he has retired into himself, he will be like a celestial spirit that has a halo around him, within whose circle no grief or folly ventures.”
“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.”
“How dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to be greater than his nature will allow...”
Ah...beautiful! What writing is this?! I have never read such an exemplary arrangement of words, colors and emotions through the medium of mere text!
I do apologise to readers, for my overemotional review. Read any of my other reviews and you will see that I am rational and are not naturally prone to such outbursts of emotion as this. This is appreciation on a whole different level. As an author myself who has dedicated her life to writing, this work of beauty that is Frankenstein has moved me like a miracle.
Mary Shelley, you have written what is now my favourite book of all time, and one which I will read time and time again and refer to when I am writing my own work. Thank you so Mary Shelley, you are a saint :).
on 26 January 2015
I'm not much of a reader, but when I busy myself in reading a book I take it upon myself to 'catch up' on what I've missed, in this case, Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein' was the title I chose. It was a grand book, one which betrayed and extinguished all presumptions that I - the modern man - had conjured of 'Frankenstein'. A potent example of what I'm getting at is the common misconception that the Monster (Who is only titled 'wretch' or 'daemon') IS Frankenstein. This of course is false, putting an emphasis on the cultural observation that for a classic, it often goes unread.
It is a tale that will ignite in the reader a mystical curiosity of the sciences and surrounding philosophies, it will also inspire second-hand hope and even sympathy for it's characters. It might even also make you tear up. Your mind will find itself burrowing through ethical dilemmas to justify the sympathy you may place in the 'Monster' and it won't be long before you realize just how out of bounds this book has taken your imagination.
My only criticisms are not entirely the fault of the author. Simply put, the characters often feel indistinguishable. This was largely due to the fact that Mary Shelley lived in a time where the vocabulary was optimized to a fine standard, and any deliberation from it may have been deemed as ill writing by contemporary authors. Another slight issue was the protagonist, Viktor Frankenstein's repeated recounting of his feelings. During his depression, he would remind the reader that, even at his lowest, the surrounding nature of the land elevated him to a renewed spirit. He made this statement more times than I could count.
Despite the cultural antiquity that might prevent smooth reading, the concept and subject matter still shine through. This is a must-read, especially as it is public domain, and therefore free to read.