Frances Stenzel was just trying to prove her scientific worth to her parents so they would take her with them to their scientific symposiums for once. Instead, she reawakened her great-grandfather’s secret and most terrible invention.
Before it can destroy the town, she sets off after it with her pet chimp and sarcastic robot tutor by her side. But monster-hunting isn’t easy, and she’ll have to face a persistent constable, angry locals, and an unexpected friendship ahead – all while the trail for the monster goes cold, and time is running out before her science career and the city itself are doomed forever.
This story had me at ’a middle-grade twist on Frankenstein.’ I read an abridged version of Frankenstein in middle school and really enjoyed it. I recommend learning about the original Frankenstein before reading this book. That way, you can recognize the parallels between Victor Frankenstein and Frances.
I love Frances! She is a strong, determined protagonist with a clever scientific mind. I liked how she prefers to wear what is considered in 1939 ‘boys clothes.’ Due to her outfit choices and short hair, she is continually mistaken for a boy. But I agree with Frances. Pants are much more practical than skirts and dresses. Do you know how difficult it is to jump rooftops while wearing a skirt?
The story takes place in Switzerland in 1939, right before WWII. There’s mystery, adventure, science fiction, and suspense. However, it felt a little dry up until the monster was awakened. After that, it’s non-stop action and suspense.
I don’t know why, but I love the concept of a disembodied talking head. Which is why I loved Hobbes, the robot tutor, so much. He starts out as an emotionless robot but gets snarkier as the story progresses. I especially loved the banter between Frances and Hobbes.
I will finish my review here so I don’t give away any spoilers. I leave you with this question: What makes someone a monster?