Monday, October 1, 2012

Book Review: Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel

Such Wicked Intent (The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, #2)
by Kenneth Oppel

Genre: Dark Fantasy/Gothic/Horror
Reading Grade: Young Adult
Publication Date: August 21, 2012
Source: hardcover purchase
Age Rating: 14+
Devotion turns deadly in this second Gothic thriller from Kenneth Oppel. When does obsession become madness? Tragedy has forced sixteen-year-old Victor Frankenstein to swear off alchemy forever. He burns the Dark Library. He vows he will never dabble in the dark sciences again—just as he vows he will no longer covet Elizabeth, his brother’s betrothed.

If only these things were not so tempting.

When he and Elizabeth discover a portal into the spirit world, they cannot resist. Together with Victor’s twin, Konrad, and their friend Henry, the four venture into a place of infinite possibilities where power and passion reign. But as they search for the knowledge to raise the dead, they unknowingly unlock a darkness from which they may never return. 

My Review

This was another epic installment in The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein series, arguably better than the first one. I really have no choice but to write spoilers, so don't read the MIDDLE of this review if you have any intention of reading the first book, This Dark Endeavor. The plot is centered around what takes place at the end of the first novel and, trust me, you don't want to ruin it for yourself!There are no significant spoilers for the second book.


Victor has found a way into the spirit world where his twin brother, Konrad, now resides because he died at the end of the first book. (See what I mean? I told you not to read the middle of this review!) Victor vowed to himself that he'd find a way to bring Konrad back because he just can't leave well enough alone. With a special elixir taken orally, he, Elizabeth and Henry all run amok in the spirit world, which is literally in the same location as Chateau Frankenstein. It's so cool how they simply take the elixir, close their eyes, open them again and they're in the spirit world where the spirits of those who once inhabited the chateau still linger until they can be 'gathered.'

Victor's dark library was burned down along with almost all its books, except one, and that surviving book gives him the key to discovering more secret attics and other secret passages. Once inside the spirit world, he finds that everything there is the spirit of what once existed, thus the dark library is fully intact there. He finds more answers to his questions about how to grow a body for Konrad in the world of the living and he sets out to accomplish it.

Of course, nothing Victor ever does goes according to plan and chaos ensues when he, Elizabeth and Henry tread down that path. Along the way, he faces his own inner demons, again, his continuing feelings for Elizabeth, and his new found jealously of Henry for Elizabeth's affections. Despite how much he says he wants Elizabeth for himself, he still has every intention of bringing Konrad, her fiance, back to life. Blood is thicker than water, I suppose.

There is another love triangle and, in fact, there are two! But, they are done exquisitely and shouldn't worry those who hate love triangles in YA fiction. No one strings anybody along just for the sake of it. Jealousies and rivalries arise organically and work just like how they do in real life. It's well done and adds so much good drama to the story and never overtakes the plot. The plot always remains centered around getting Konrad a body to inhabit in the living world again.


(Okay, now you can read this review again.) Does Victor obtain his goal? Well, you'll just have to read the book and find out for yourself. It's so beautifully written and such a well-told story with amazing characters, I can't see anybody not liking this unless you just don't like good storytelling and great drama. It's exhilarating and adventurous, although not adventurous in the same way as the first book, since they never really leave the chateau. But, I think I might have liked this book better because they journey, in a manner of speaking, so much farther away, despite never leaving home. Really cool little paradox there.

This is possibly the last book in the series, meaning it's a duology. Which is fine with me, if that's all the author has to say about the characters and the story. As much as I'd love another book, I'm all for authors writing only what really needs to be written and avoiding filler fluff as best as possible. At any rate, even if this truly is the end of this series, the story most definitely continues in the original classic Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

My score: 5/5 stars. (Total fave!)


  1. As much as I hate love triangles I actually love well done ones. I'll have to read these if for no other reason. ;)

    1. @Jenny: Hey! You shouldn't have read the spoilery part of the review!

  2. I wish I had more time so I can read this one straight away. This is one of the few love triangles that I think is done really well and actually adds to the suspense of the story. It's kinda nice that Konrad is a part of this one. I really liked the dynamic between the two brothers. Can't believe Henry is seriously in love with Elizabeth now as well!

    1. @Lan: This is a great example of a love triangle done right! And, yeah, Henry has been in love with Elizabeth since Book 1, but never made a play for her. But, despite how annoying that sounds, that she has 3 guys in love with her, she's not the main character. The story doesn't revolve around her because it is, most definitely, Victor's story.

  3. Okay, I am intrigued, esp since it seems like lots of other folks like these stories! The premise doesn't really grab me, but all 3 of you guys can't be wrong!

    And Cathy, I am totally with you on ending series! I hate it when great stories turn crappy because the writers are trying to squeeze extra pennies from their audience. I see this all the time in TV and it makes me nuts!

    1. @Camille: Yeah, these books are so great! I highly suggest you try them out. I'm sure you'll enjoy them.

      I hate book series that go on forever, even though the author should have quit long before. Dragging out a story beyond how long it really is meant to be told is annoying and only aggravates me.

  4. This short series sounds really intriguing. Will have to see if I can squeeze out some reading time for them!


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