This past Halloween, I went to a screening of the National Theater’s production of Frankenstein, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller (Sherlock vs Sherlock!). I went in, thinking I knew Frankenstein.
I was so so wrong.
This version (directed by Danny Boyle, so you know it’s gonna be brutal) was horrifying and tragic and contained the purest, simplest essence at the heart of Mary Shelley’s novel.
But this isn’t a review of a play. It’s a review of Megan Shepherd’s A Cold Legacy. So what does this production of Frankenstein have to do with that?
After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.
Then she uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—which forces her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. Juliet must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones—or make her own.
What Intrigued Me: What had me picking up the first two books initially was the unique twist on some of my favorite Gothic horror novels. The first two books—which adapted The Island of Dr. Moreau and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde—were disturbing and alluring, and I couldn’t wait to see how Shepherd not only tackled Frankenstein, but how she concluded the series.
What Hooked Me: Juliet’s story through all three books has surrounded the question of whether or not she’s going to succumb to the same madness as her father and use her scientific knowledge for ill. But in Her Dark Curiosity and A Cold Legacy, the character of Elizabeth is placed in contrast to Juliet’s father, as someone who is knowledgeable in the darker and unnatural side of science and still sticks to her morals and doesn’t abuse it. She’s a wonderful contrast to the looming specter of Dr. Moreau.
What Made Me Fall In Love: Balthazar. I have adored Balthazar for all three books, and I will continue to adore him forever and ever. For a series about monsters, Balthazar is the most human (and humane).
A Cold Legacy is available January 27 from Amazon and your local purveyor of science and magic (a.k.a. books). Pick up a copy before they all run off into the night!