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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 April 2016
This is an excellent scholarly edition of 'Frankenstein' by Mary Shelley. This volume consists of two distinct versions of the novel. On the one hand, there's Mary Shelley's earliest draft; and on the other, there's a revised draft by Percy Shelley.

So for the first time we can read this class novel as Mary originally intended. It's somewhat shorter, and faster paced than the finished book, as was published in 1818. In fact, Percy revised the draft quite considerably - crossing out many words, altering sentence structure, and adding some 5,000 words to the manuscript. Here we can plainly see the differences between the early manuscript and the final publication.

The editor of this volume, Charles Robinson, provides a 20 page introduction, exploring the differences between the two versions.

This book is nicely presented, on good quality paper. If you're interested in the development of the Frankenstein novel, you'll appreciate this book.
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on 17 May 2017
Shelley’s novel is transgressive in its content, and more transgressive in its nature – written by a female (at age 19!) under a pseudonym to penetrate the public approval. This novel explores human emotions, good and bad, in response to the ‘Other’ in true gothic fashion. The grunting, green-faced, bolt-bearing monster depicted by film and media is a pale imitation of Shelley’s masterpiece – but the original is a 'blue-print' for all monster creations. Despite being a cautionary tale on how nature, which is essentially good, can be corrupted by ill treatment – contemporary depictions have departed from the original characterization of an extremely well-spoken monster with immense speed and grace.

PLOT (4.5/5)
An intelligent and ambitious young student indulges a moment of thoughtless scientific passion and creates life. Horrified at his creation, Victor Frankenstein shuns the creature and attempts to discard it from his life and thoughts. The creature, however, is lost in an unkind world and seeks affection, and upon rejection then seeks revenge.

+ Although many reviewers note The York Notes version usefulness at GCSE, I found in instrumental at helping me receive an A* at A-Level as well:
a) The (character, theme and quotation) analysis is brilliant, clear and precise.
b) The exam questions, key quotations and chapter summaries were invaluable
c) The responses to the text, both modern and those from Shelley's contemporaries are invaluable (especially the feminist and psychoanalytical essays).

+ Both main characters are easy to empathise with despite being completely at heads – both Victor (the ambitious scientist who realises his overreach and attempts to redeem himself) and the monster (whose fragile psyche is birthed from rejection)

STYLE (4/5)
+ The original, but nevertheless still one of the most remarkable science fiction stories ever written, its relevance persists today as scientific discovery journeys further than before into ethical ambiguity (GM food, AI, cloning) and discrimination still exists in all its forms.
+ Typically Romantic and beautifully descriptive prose, particularly regarding the natural world.
- The book begins very slowly with excessive detail, and the epistolary form makes it hard to convey any sense of suspense. But if you persist despite this you will be drawn in to Shelley's world.
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on 22 June 2016
I bought this for my daughter as she is studying Frankenstein for the 2017 english exam.

She has already read the book supplied for lessons/mock exams in school and used the revision guide which I purchased and throughly enjoyed it.

The school recommended buying it as a useful book to continue the revision now that they have moved on to Macbeth.

What I also like is it has blown away all the myth and given her the story in its true form.

I am pleased this isn't going to be a book that she despises due having to read it again or indeed a book that lay gathering dust from lack of use.
She is 15, studying Frankenstein and throughly enjoys the story.
Not only that but she is really interested in Mary Shelley which makes it all so much more gratifying to buy.
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First published anonymously Mary Shelley’s novel has entered our literary canon and made Frankenstein a name we all know, especially as when such things as ‘Frankenstein Science’ is mentioned. I think most people are aware of how this novel came about, with a famous stay the Shelley’s had with Lord Byron on Lake Geneva. It is correct in some ways but a bit misleading in others. Mary took up the challenge of writing a story and was planning on a short tale, but as things took on steam, and encouraged by Percy this instead became a full length novel that took some time to come together in its entirety.

It is quite ironic that on first publication in 1818 this didn’t meet with a rush of buyers, and was belittled quite a bit by the critics, the story only really taking off with the third edition in 1831, where Mary had made a number of revisions. Nowadays this text, the original 1818 version is preferred by scholars and others as it carries more of the original spirit and intent of the tale.

As Robert Walton writes to his sister as he starts his voyage to the North Pole he little expects to find someone such as Victor Frankenstein traversing the icy vastness. As Victor is taken aboard the ship he recounts his tale to Walton, one that is tragic in scope. Victor uses his knowledge as we all know to create life, but as can happen so often he has little thought of what the consequences can be, especially as he loathes his creation. What follows is a game of cat and mouse between creator and created as they are both hell-bent on the destruction of the other.

Taking in the troubles that science can cause unabated this also explores human emotions, both good and bad where something strange and different can cause hate. There is also murder and revenge here, as well as thoughts on suicide, making this quite poignant. As you read this tale you don’t actually hate Victor for what he has created, or indeed the monster that has been given life, as this shows us our own inhumanities and how our perceptions can cause problems. Still relevant to us today we can see in this tale such warnings as the rise of Hitler and fascism as well as racism and science with no ethics or morals.

In all this is a wonderful piece of gothic literature, and arguably the first proper modern science fiction tale, as this doesn’t fall into fantasy, or as sci-fi had been used up unto then as allegory.
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on 1 February 2018
I read this as it was being talked about a lot recently (200th anniversary). I was really amazed that Mary Shelley had written this novel when she was only 18 years old. She was also writing about places she had only read about e.g. the Arctic, but I was able to visualise everything so well.
I did feel sorry for the monster and I thought his feelings of rejection were well described.
Sometimes I wanted Frankenstein to stop feeling sorry for himself and realise he had caused so much misery. The author does describe depression very well and I feel she must have read a lot about the subject.
I am very glad that I have read this classic. So many people will not know the true story and some will even think Frankenstein is the name of the monster-but in a way Victor Frankenstein was a monster too.
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on 26 April 2017
This book has been reviewed and studied so many times over the years, so I'll keep this simple.

It is a classic novel, originally published back in 1818. This does mean that the language is harder to read and understand for some people, and the general culture and ideas are all rather different to what you may be used to. That's always the biggest problem with reading and appreciating older novels - sometimes we just can't enjoy the fantastic writing or the unique characters like people would've back when it was released.

We are first introduced to Robert Walton on an expedition to the North Pole, writing letters back home. The whole story is, in fact, him recounting what he is told by the man he picks up in his boat - Frankenstein. Frankenstein's story is a familiar one; he created a monster, who subsequently felt lonely amongst this world of humans. This creature wanted a partner, a mate, but Frankenstein was unwilling to create yet another daemon of this kind. So he took revenge, slowly removing all of the Frankenstein's loved ones until he no longer held the will to live himself.

It is actually a lot sadder than I ever knew. I didn't know much, just the generic "Frankenstein's monster" creation story. But this novel is full of heartache and loss, regret and terror. It's about a scientist crossing the line of creation, only to suffer drastically for his ambitions.

Yet we are also given the "monster's" account - his terrifying, lonely entry to the world, his plea for company, even his regret for the lives he took. I never really thought much about the creation himself, didn't consider his side all that much. But this novel makes you think about him, and even causes you to sympathise with him.

I liked this book, but I feel like it's one of those books you're supposed to like. I'm not a huge fan of classic novels, but I can see past the difference in language and lifestyle. I just really appreciated the amount of emotion in this, and also it's not-so-perfect ending. It isn't a favourite, and it wasn't a casual, easy read, but I will give it 3.5 stars.
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on 16 February 2018
A very absorbing tale. Because I have seen so many versions of Frankenstein on TV. Hammer House Horror, the old Boris Karloff style movies. There are so many different presentations that I did not know what to expect. The way it all began was splendid and the whole experience was glorious and Gothic. Victor Frankenstein creates an eight-foot-tall man from dead body parts. The scientific project is a hideous creation that Frankenstein finds himself disgusted with. The crux of the story is that this wretched eight-foot monster can't accept his creator's rejection.

The monster comes back to haunt Frankenstein and shower misery upon him with devious and murderous means of close relatives. Frankenstein is caught up in a battle of his own conscience as the ghoulish giant monster blackmails him for his own contentment and happiness. This story is a fabulous masterpiece. I am so pleased I read this.

The Last Days of Thunder Child: Victorian Britain in chaos!
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on 20 November 2017
This version is not compatible with the penguin edition of the book and many pieces of the text is summarised, skipped or altered which of course takes away from the actual meaning of the text. The reading in itself is of good quality and is comfortable to listen to but that means very little when what is being read is not in accordance with the original text. If you just want to read Frankenstein for the pleasure of it I suppose it will do but I would argue having listened to this version you cannot really claim to actually have read Frankenstein as it is so lacking in content that I wouldn't bother.Still waiting for someone to do a full text reading of the book but for now I'll just have to read it out loud to myself.
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on 2 May 2015
Enough has been said already about the story that I can add little. It is a classic of English literature but perhaps also very much of it's time with some of the less probable events ( the monster learns to read by observing from afar then reads some weighty treatise of philosophy, or wandering the wilderness of Central Europe just so happens upon Victor's younger brother). It is also rather bleak and melodramatic, with the main protagonist proclaiming himself the most miserable being even before the worst of his mishaps. That said, it is a very poetic and beautifully written work raising all sorts of questions about the duty of a creator to his creation. It seems odd to a modern sensibility that someone able to instill life in inanimate flesh cannot render a female creation sterile and thus unable to bear children.

These minor gripes aside this is another beautifully presented volume from Barnes & Noble and will sit handsomely on any book lovers shelf - in my case beside the sumptuously blood red Barnes and Noble edition of Dracula - the natural companion.
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on 13 September 2017
Shelley's Matilda, though a mere novella, is worth reading for the way in which it reworks generic Romantic tropes from a female viewpoint.

It tells a heated story of incestuous desire, guilt, exile and death, themes which constitute the standard materials of the Romantics. That P.B. Shelley was also writing a play about incest (The Cenci) adds another intertext.

What makes Shelley's story stand out is her beautiful conjuration of desolation in landscape and soul, and her attention to female interiority. As is the case with the 'creature' in Frankenstein, the sins of the father are, quite literally, appropriated by the 'child'. A short read, but a striking one.
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