How did I get it: The author was kind enough to send me a review copy.
Why did I read it: I greatly enjoyed iDrakula and I was curious to read a modern re-telling of Frankenstein.
Homeschooled teenager Victor Frankenstein is determined to write his own ticket to independence: a chatbot to win the prestigious Turing prize and admission to the high tech university of his choice.
He codes his creation with a self-extending version of his own online personality and unleashes it upon the internet. But soon he begins to suspect his virtual clone may have developed its own goals, and they are not aligned with Victor’s. The creature has its own plan, fed by a growing desire to win darker and more precious prizes: unfettered power and release from loneliness.
As the creature’s power and sentience grows and its increasingly terrible deeds bleed over from the online world into the real one, Victor must stop his creation before his friends and humanity pay the ultimate price.
Review: A great deal of what I put in my review for iDrakula still applies and that has made this review somewhat difficult to write as I really don’t like to repeat myself or come up with new ways to say virtually (no pun intended) the same thing. But the fact remains that both books, while different, had similar strengths.
As with iDrakula, I felt the liberties and changes that made Shelley’s classic novel into a modern sequence of events worked in wonderful ways. The ideas of a cruise and a chatbot contest were amusing and clever both for those familar with the original work and those who aren’t. In the case of iFrankenstein, having Victor, Henry, and Elizabeth as teenagers made more sense and made the read more fun. Victor as a teenage shut-in with a really lousy father and Elizabeth as a girl desperately trying to get his attention was entertaining. I also liked that Elizabeth often relied on paintings to convey her emotional state. Poor Henry’s plight was less so, but I liked the way he was able to be such a good friend and to eventually get some indirect help from Victor’s creation.
Unlike iDrakula, I’m not sure using tweets, texts, and e-mails to convey an entire story and series of events worked as well for me in iFrankenstein. This time around, I did found myself really wanting to know what was going on since many of the actions and conflicts took place away from screens including the monster’s creation and the final showdown with him. I realize that the format wasn’t and couldn’t really lend itself to scenes outside of a more virtual space, especially since that’s where the monster lived. And yet I sort of wish there had been a way to add in other sorts of elements –even some dialogue provided via a security camera feed– that could have added more emotion or insight into Victor’s monster as well as his relationship with his father.
Some of this might not be the re-telling’s fault though because, to be honest, I cannot remember much of what actually happened in Frankenstein whereas I remember nearly every aspect of Dracula. So it’s possible that both the original and this re-telling just lack a little bit when it comes to either monster or father as characters.
In conclusion, a good, fun, and quick read. I prefer iDrakula to iFrankenstein in much the same way as I prefer Dracula to Frankenstein, but reading either book would be a great way to get into the Halloween spirit. I also can’t wait to see what classic Bekka Black will tackle next.
How I would rate it: 3.5 out of 5 stars.