THE DARK DESCENT OF ELIZABETH FRANKENSTEIN is a chilling take for the classic story’s 200th anniversary!

With the end of the gender-bent Vlad The Impaler trilogy The Conqueror’s Saga, Kiersten White is taking on a classic retelling with an equally dark edge, The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein.

The novel follows Elizabeth, the adopted sister of Frankenstein family who lives carefully in the shadow of Victor, who’s every whim she must appease to stay alive. As Victor’s strange desires spiral out of control, Elizabeth is taken down into the darkness with him.

Bustle shared an excerpt from the beginning of the novel, which hits shelves next month. Take a look!

Those fleeting childhood years, when Henry guided our play and Victor was satisfied with his school studies, were suffused with light and the closest I had ever felt to ease. There was something remarkable in having Victor and Henry — the one so prone to fits of anger and cold aloofness, the other so bright and joyful and open to the wonders of the world without questioning how they existed — revolve around me.

I saw in the hungry way Henry sought Victor’s attention and favor that Victor’s love was rare, and rare things are always the most valuable. In turn, I became even more what Victor wanted me to be. Lovely. Sweet. Brilliant and quick-minded but never as smart as him. I laughed at Henry’s jokes and plays, but I saved my best smiles for Victor, knowing he collected them and secreted them away.

I had become this girl in order to survive, but the longer I lived in her body, the easier it was to simply be her. I was twelve, on the cusp of leaving childhood behind forever. But we still played like children. I was Guinevere to their Arthur and Lancelot, acting out the dramas Henry lovingly cobbled together out of pieces he stole from great playwrights of eras past. The trees were our Camelot. All our foes were imaginary and therefore easily defeated.

One day we were playing a variation of kings and queens. I lay in a magical sleep upon my forest bed. Henry and Victor, after much travail, had found me. “She is the most beautiful girl in the world! A sleep like death has claimed her. Only love can awaken her again!” Henry declared, raising his sword to the sky. Then he leaned over and kissed me.

I opened my eyes to find Henry looking at me in shock, as though he could not believe what he had done. I dared not look at Victor. I squeezed my eyes shut again, not reacting to Henry’s kiss.

“I thought perhaps it would — I thought it would wake her,” Henry said, stumbling over the words. He sounded frightened.

“She is not sleeping.” Victor’s voice was as brittle as morning-frosted grass. “Here, see? No life in her veins.” He lifted my wrist, which I kept limp. “She is dead. But we can trace the pathways her heartbeat would have used in life.” Victor drew a finger along the blue veins in my pale arm, up and up to where my sleeve started. My arm twitched at the contact.

“Be still!” Victor whispered, catching my open eye. “Here, I have my own blade, sharper and subtler than your sword. We will see if she bleeds now that she is dead.”


Elizabeth Lavenza hasn’t had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her “caregiver,” and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything–except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable–and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth’s survival depends on managing Victor’s dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.

By Kait

Kait is a New Englander, a YA book and adaptation lover, and a Slythindor, as well as a red velvet and red wine enthusiast. She likes to like things. Catch her on Twitter: @kaitmary

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