‘The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein’ Review

To honor Mary Shelley and her iconic novel ‘Frankenstein’, author Kiersten White and her novel ‘The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein’ should be on your TBR lists.

Book Culture Classics Female Authors Opinions Recommendations Science Fiction Thriller & Mystery

With a heavy heart today is when astounding writer Mary Shelley passed away. However, she has been an inspiration for many authors everywhere. Her thriller and science fiction novel Frankenstein has brought Kiersten White to create The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein. I remember reading Frankenstein for my sophomore year in college. Reading Kiersten White’s take on Elizabeth’s perspective in Shelley’s work was exhilarating. I am going to break down White’s novel and how the dark twists will entice any Mary Shelley fan.


The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein Review

In this novel, Kiersten White uses Elizabeth’s point of view. This I think has been one of the questions of Mary Shelley fans as to how Elizabeth felt all these years under the family Frankenstein roof. In Mary Shelley’s novel, Elizabeth is a kind, selfless, intelligent woman who cares for Victor deeply. Shelley shows how important Victor finds her and misses her. We sympathize with Victor during his scientific journey of creating life, almost being a god-like being. However, we all know how that ended.

Elizabeth in White’s novel is a new possible insight of what could have been Elizabeth’s side of the entire story. So the fact that there are two possible outcomes is thrilling. We have Victor who seems reasonable and intelligent and then we have Elizabeth’s perspective, which makes Victor’s intent darker than we thought.

The Frankenstein Family Dynamic

Kiersten White’s novel is a thriller that shows the true Frankenstein family. Victor’s parents didn’t know how to control him. Elizabeth who has had a hard life is calculating and will do anything to survive, even befriend a twisted child like him. As for William and Ernest, they did not receive as much attention and have been victims of Victor’s curiosities. Henry Clerval, was a friend who was a genuine kind soul and another source for Victor’s entertainment. Even Justine the housemaid that later on gets accused of killing William has an important role in the family. Justine cared for Victor’s younger siblings and was Elizabeth’s friend.

Every person has a role. Justine the caretaker of the siblings, Clerval as a people pleaser and fool to Victor, Elizabeth the caretaker and lover of Victor, and the Frankenstein parents who are ignorant and showing how everything is fine and rich at home.

Elizabeth and Victor’s Toxic Relationship


Elizabeth and Victor’s relationship has been decided since the minute you read the first chapter. It is clear that Elizabeth was put into an orphanage, she was mistreated and barely taken care of. Upon meeting Victor for the first time, it has been stated that she blocked out a certain part of her memory when meeting him as a child. Victor was considered troubled, a genius, and solitary. Elizabeth was given a chance to be part of a family, to be his friend.

Elizabeth is Victor’s caretaker from the beginning. It seemed that the Frankenstein household had no idea how to control Victor’s antics, curiosities, and disturbing behavior. Elizabeth had a way with him that made him calm and in control of his emotions.

Their relationship was a toxic give and take. Elizabeth would give Victor comfort and try to calm him down. She would always let him get his way, and when he went too far, she would try to fix it. She is an enabler when it comes to Victor and through this, she somehow believed in her heart she was in love with him. Elizabeth believed she is the only one able to connect and understand him. He gave her attention and saw her worth.

However, while she was giving herself to him in his own image, he was taking away her reason. Kiersten White made every hiccup Victor has gone through—the monster, Henry Clerval, his parents, William, and Justine’s death—resolved by Elizabeth, all for his sake.

Victor is seen as a victim in Mary Shelley’s novel, and in White’s case, he is the antagonist. He is seen as the out-of-control spoiled child who has a temper. Throughout his life, Elizabeth was meant as a means to bring out his humanity and get rid of his cold-blooded logic and reasoning. He would cause harm and take pleasure just because of his scientific curiosities. Victor relied on Elizabeth and fell for her over time. During his journey into creating the monster we slowly see him lose humanity (Mary Shelley) however from Elizabeth’s perspective he has always been like this, she just didn’t let herself realize what he has truly become. He always thinks he is correct and his way makes sense, especially when it comes to protecting Elizabeth from harm and marrying her.

If you are a Frankenstein fan I recommend this intoxicating thriller read of Kiersten White’s The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein.

For more on Mary Shelley go to Bookstr.