Stephanie M. Wytovich
The Woman Who Walked with Monsters
For as long as I can remember, I've been obsessed with Frankenstein. Everything about the book, its history, Mary Shelley's life, the monster, Victor and Elizabeth...it's always hit my nerd heart hard, and I think it's because the story manages to be so many things at once: a horror novel, a creature feature, a science fiction masterpiece, a deliciously strong book written by an even stronger woman...
So when I saw that Kiersten White was tackling a retelling of the novel through the viewpoint of Elizabeth, it felt like all my genre dreams had come true. I always wanted to know Elizabeth's side of the story, and as I suspected, her version didn't disappoint. Filled with thunderstorms, arson, hair pins, and a touch of hysteria, this book had everything I could have asked for and more.
In fact, while this book is both familiar and unfamiliar, it truly makes so much sense it hurts. I enjoyed seeing the desensitized, sociopathic version of Victor--the flashback scenes to their childhood together were absolutely chilling!--and I loved watching Elizabeth come into her own as she learned to navigate her place in society and within the Frankenstein family, both with and without Justine, who added another beautiful layer of depth to the story that I honestly wasn't expecting.
Overall, Elizabeth's story is both heartbreaking and terrifying, but much about being a woman in 1792 was; it's a game of kill or be killed, and White's feminist hand captured the wit, charm, and intellect of a woman who would do anything to ensure her survival: even marry a Frankenstein.
I give this book 5/5 thunderstorms.