PUBLISHER: Blackstone Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: March 12, 2008 (first published 1818)
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 8 hrs and 42 mins
GENRE: Classics, Horror
Dr. Victor Frankenstein, an ambitious young scientist, is consumed by a fanatic desire to create a living being. He fashions an eight-foot-tall creature and succeeds in animating him, but, horrified by his visage, perceives his creation to be a monster and frightens him away. The monster, wandering in search of human companionship, is spurned and repulsed by all he approaches and learns to hate and to kill. He confronts his maker with a terrible choice: unless Frankenstein creates for him a mate, he will go on a rampage of destruction.
Frankenstein, a masterpiece of 19th-century Gothic horror and considered to be the first science-fiction novel, is a subversive tale about the corrupt tendencies in humanity's most "civilized" ambitions.
This gothic classic was a bit of a letdown!
I am sure that we are all familiar with the premise of the story, so I won’t go into too much detail. To recap, Victor Frankenstein uses his mad scientist skills to assemble a creature and bring it to life but is horrified by his own creation. He wants nothing to do with it, and the creature retaliates by killing off his family and friends. The creature returns to Victor and begs him to make a companion for him, someone who will be just like him so that he can know love. In return, he promises to go off with his mate and to leave Victor in peace. Victor does start the process but abandons it, because he is concerned (only just now!!) with the ramifications of his actions. What if the female does not want to be with her mate? Then there will be two hideous creatures that he has brought into the world! Or worse, what if they procreate and bring more monsters into the world? He destroys his work, and the creature vows revenge on Victor’s wedding night.
The story told in epistolary fashion, through a series of letters from Captain Robert Walton to his sister in England, where he tells her about a man that he rescued on his way to the North Pole. The man turns out to be Victor Frankenstein, and he tells his tale to the Captain whose story is relayed in that manner.
I find this a difficult review to write because I didn’t particularly like Victor Frankenstein! In all honesty, I actually LIKED the creature. The third part of the story was my favourite, because it was told from the creature’s perspective. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. Shelley beautifully conveys the creature’s sensitive nature and his intelligence, how he studies the family who lives in the hut in the woods. He shows his thoughtfulness by cutting down trees during the night for firewood and leaving it at their door. He learns how to speak through his observations of the family’s interactions with each other. You can feel the pain of his loneliness.
The majority of the story was just “meh” for me. I found that it moved very slowly and felt drawn out. On a positive note, Ms. Shelley’s prose is very beautiful, eloquent, and proper. However, it just didn’t grab me! I think if I had been reading the book, I may have struggled to get through it. It’s times like this when I’m thankful to be listening, because a good narrator can hold your interest. There were three different narrators, and they are all new to me: Anthony Heald (Victor), Simon Templeman (Robert), and Stefan Rudnicki (creature). They all did a great job. Heald wonderfully captured Victor’s constant bemoaning, which is perhaps one of the reasons why I disliked his character! Rudnicki’s low voice was fitting for the creature, as you can see here from this sample of the narration:
I want to watch both the original 1931 Frankenstein movie with Boris Karloff portraying the creature, as well as the 1994 Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein starring Robert De Niro as the creature.
This book qualifies as: