Steampunk: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

2012. 384p. 978-0-76244-442-4.
Gr 9 Up–Steampunk...Frankenstein combines the third edition of Mary Shelley’s book with new illustrations. The introduction does an excellent job of explaining the choice of manuscript–the third edition was the first to include a personal introduction by the author–as well as the reasoning behind the marriage of the classic sci-fi novel and the gothic/Victorian style of art. The personal introduction by Shelley provides the necessary context to set the stage for the highly atmospheric quality of this unique edition. The classic tale tells of Dr. Frankenstein’s discovery of the essence of life and creation of an animated being that later becomes a rampaging monster. Traditionally known as the precursor to the modern science fiction genre, it was written with the flowery language and richly descriptive style typical of that time period. The dramatic nature of the story pairs well with the richly hued style of art found throughout. However, the serious nature of the plot is not always complemented by the bespectacled figures featured in the accompanying illustrations. For those uninitiated to the steampunk style, the characters could simply look like goofy individuals in goggles. While fans of steampunk will likely enjoy this offering, this title will not win any new converts to the genre. Readers who enjoy classic literature will love this story with or without illustrations, so this book is strictly an additional purchase.–Sunnie Sette, New Haven Public Library, CT

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