First Lines: Lightning clawed across the sky, tracing veins through the clouds and marking the pulse of the universe itself.
I’m a fan of pretty much everything Kiersten White writes, most recently the And I Darken series, which reimagined the legend of Vlad Dracul as a woman. With this take on Frankenstein (a book I’ve read twice), I had to check it out.
Blurb: Elizabeth Lavenza hasn’t had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her “caregiver,” and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything–except a friend.
Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable–and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.
But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth’s survival depends on managing Victor’s dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.
Y’all, I’m not going to lie. This was a rare DNF for me. I couldn’t do it.
The initial problem I ran into was that I just couldn’t get into the story with its constantly jumping timelines. It seemed like for every five paragraphs in the present, there were two pages of flashbacks. I get what it was doing, but I just could not get into a groove with the story. I was reading like 2 pages a day because that was all I cared to do.
But what got me was the darkness.
I thought I’d seen White’s ability to go dark with Bright We Burn, but she’s outdone herself. It was so vicious and dark that I legit thought I would throw up while reading this. There was a section that basically amounts to vivisection (dissection while the subject is still alive) and I couldn’t even finish reading that before I knew I was done.
It’s getting a lot of critical acclaim, from what I can tell. Maybe it got a lot better after that. But OMG, it was just too disgusting for me.