Frankenstein: A Life Beyond by Pete Planisek. Ebook review

Frankenstein- a Life BeyondFrankenstein: A Life Beyond by Pete Planisek,

Enceladus Literary, Kindle, £3.81, LINK

 Reviewed by David Brzeski

OK, Planisek, where’s book two?

This is the first book of a trilogy, and trilogies can be very frustrating when they’re this interesting, and the following parts are not yet available.

There are a lot of “sequels” to ‘Frankenstein’ around, but this one easily puts all the others in the shade. So much so that, in my own head, I’m accepting this as cannon with the original.

Ernest Frankenstein is the brother of Victor, creator of the famous “monster”. He’s relocated to Ireland, after the deaths of his entire family, and is married to Ailis Iierney Frankenstein. Ernest returns to the city of his birth, Geneva, to find out the truth about the mysterious fate of his brother, Victor. He leaves his wife pregnant and gravely ill, although he isn’t aware of this. As he continues on his quest, he meets his wife’s half-sister, now a spy for the French, and a mysterious clan of gypsies, now divided into two warring factions over differing interpretations of an ancient prophecy. Victor’s creation is ever present, but solidly in the background for most of the book and Ernest is totally unaware of the details of his brother’s work.

The book is well-written and meticulously researched. It’s set for the most part in 1809, but has frequent flashbacks to events involving the Frankenstein clan—blissfully unaware of exactly what Victor is up to—which run concurrently with Mary Shelley’s novel.

If I have any criticism, it’s that the character of Ernest’s best friend, Jack Clerval—the son of Henry Clerval from the original novel—reads very American to me. I’m fairly sure the Clerval family had no American roots, so perhaps Planisek, who is American, slipped in his prose style a little here.

This is a complex, well thought out and exceptionally entertaining novel. As I mentioned, this is the first of three books, but it does end in a reasonably satisfying place. Nevertheless, I eagerly await volume two.