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My Frankenstein, by Michael J. Lee: A Review

July 15, 2011

Arts & Literature, Reviews

By Alex Mcdermott

Review: Michael J. Lee My Frankenstein 

In another strange coincidence, my review of Michael J. Lee’s novel My Frankenstein comes right after a discussion of Frankenstein’s monster as a zombie. In the July 12th chat on DarkMediaCity, someone argued that if a zombie was a reanimated corpse, then Frankenstein’s monster was a zombie. In Lee’s romance/ horror novel, Viktor Frankenstein’s creatures fill that role as the protagonist Eva struggles to comprehend and then battle the monstrosities he makes.

Lee rewrites the classic Frankenstein tale and put a young girl, Eva, at the center of the story. Eva is different from the women of her time. She can read. She is curious. Viktor Frankenstein realizes this and takes her under his wing. He seems to fall in love with her, even performing a supposed miracle when he saves her life. But like Shelley’s scientist, he is obsessed with his work and his work is dark. He is pushing the boundaries between life and death. He is trying to create life.

Rolfe and Heidi are secondary characters who fall victim to fate and Frankenstein. Eva learns of the scientist’s sinister plans and the novel climaxes with a showdown between man and monster. These monsters, however, are not like Shelley’s creation at all. They are literally whole human beings resurrected from the dead. Like Shelley’s monster, they have no conscious memory of their lives before. This is a fascinating take on the Frankenstein myth. Lee blends the legendary tale of creating life with the more modern George Romero zombie myth. At first glance, this shouldn’t work, but Lee’s skilled writing makes the science completely believable!

The highlight of this work is the science and Lee’s skill at creating a modern Frankenstein tale. Viktor’s ego and his growing madness come across well as the novel builds. Eva, however, is never fully developed as a character. Her actions are predictable and we never see her as complex woman. It’s refreshing to see female protagonists and Eva is a great role model for young women. I kept waiting for Lee to push her further and explore her intellectual complexity, but it never happened.

Overall, I’m giving this 4 out 5 stars. It’s very well-written and a great adaption on the Frankenstein legend. Add this to your YA list!

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