This was an amazing book. I have loved Frankenstein (the original) for many years. So to see a prequel intrigued me. The quotation on the back hooked me..."There is a passion in you that scares me." The writing is amazing and, though I haven't reread Frankenstein in several years, the tone matches really well. Oppel does a wonderful job creating a back story that reveals the drive and obsession that Victor possesses. Apparently, it's being made into a movie. I hope that they do the story justice. The narration was very fitting and matched the mood perfectly. I highly recommend this!
I selected this book because it has been talked up a lot in the intermediate/young adult category. I have a feeling it is nostalgia in some ways pushing this selection. I don't feel intermediate, even most young adults, have the historical reference points to carry them through this story. The story is slow moving, without much conflict if you don't have the prior knowledge to infer the conflict and drama that has torn Vietnam apart. Even the bullying scenes are written with such emotional detachment that the reader can not connect to the story.
The narrator of the audio version is very monotone and I had problems even distinguishing when other characters were speaking, which wouldn't help readers struggling with the story to begin with. I feel like I am being offensive by complaining about the narrator's audio as this story actually reflects her own experience. However, for all the discussion about emotion at the end of the audio, there is none in her delivery.
Looking at it from an adult stand point, as one with personal connections with the Vietnam War, it peaked my interest in reading more about Vietnam, but I was left wanting to give up on this book and unsatisfied with the abrupt ending.
I can't imagine any of my students enjoying this book, even though it might be a culturally responsible choice for awards.
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