It’s a challenge and a half to try to write a sequel to no less august a book than Frankenstein, and for that alone, I must give my fellow Drollerie author Gary Inbinder props. I’m also pleased to say that although there were parts of the book that didn’t work as much for me, by and large, I feel he did an excellent job at his appointed task!
The opening of the book does ask you to accept the idea that sorcery of a kind exists in the Frankenstein universe, since the entire plot only gets underway when the monster, fresh from killing his creator, is taken in by an old Russian witch. In repayment for his working for her, she grants him his greatest wish: to be human and to be able to have a real life of his own. If you’re used to the version of the Frankenstein story more popularly depicted in the movies, the presence of magic may be jarring; however, my spouse pointed out quite correctly that the original story does heavily pursue the idea that Victor Frankenstein was dabbling as much in black magic as he was forbidden science in creating his monster. So it’s not too much of a stretch for me to allow for actual magic existing in this world.
But. This is really only the start of the plot, and the greatest portion of it by far is taken up by the creature–now calling himself Viktor Viktorovich–not only winning himself a life and a family in Russia, but achieving a meteoric rise to power. In fact, the vast majority of the plot is taken up with his participation in the wars against Napoleon. For me as a reader this had quite a bit of interest, but the real heart of the story doesn’t come until the final third, when the truth of Viktor’s origins begins to come back to haunt him.
And this is also where the story ultimately let me down a bit, since I was expecting more creepiness than I actually got, and one plot device in particular that was used as part of Frankenstein’s backstory struck me as quite unnecessary. But that said, overall I did find this a gripping read, and it’s worth checking out if you liked the original. Four stars.