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I received a proof copy of this book, and was not sure whether or not I would enjoy it.  In fact, I loved it!

It is a retelling of the Frankenstein story, but in this instance, the narrator is Victor Frankenstein himself.  At the beginning of the tale, Frankenstein is at Oxford university with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.  Shelley is actually a prominent character in the book, as his wife Mary Shelley (who of course was the author of the original novel ‘Frankenstein’).  Lord Byron is also a character in the book.

So, an ambitious undertaking then – but in the hands of Peter Ackroyd, it is brilliantly executed.  He manages to being some sympathy to the character of Victor, and also the monster himself.  Shelley, Mary Shelley and Lord Byron are entirely believable characters, and the way they are portrayed is in keeping with the way they are largely perceived to have been, and the London which they inhabit is vividly brought to life.

The reader is taken on a journey with Victor, as we witness his interest in creating such a creature turn to obsession, and finally horror and despair at the consequences of his actions.  There is a definite twist in the tale, which I could not have predicted.

The writing is eloquent and descriptive, and I really felt able to lose myself in this novel.

(I’d like to thank NewBooksMag for sending me this book to review.  NewBooksMag’s website can be found here.)

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