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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-01-25 13:14
Roseanne Montillo’s, The Lady & Her Monsters, Takes us Behind the Scenes & Plops us Down Right into Mary Shelley’s Life
The Lady and Her Monsters: A Tale of Dissections, Real-Life Dr. Frankensteins, and the Creation of Mary Shelley's Masterpiece - Roseanne Montillo

 

 

 

 

 

Mary S.jpg
 

Oh, what a sad life Mary Shelley led!
 
The book follows Mary’s life right from the moment of her birth and touches on every source of inspiration that led to the writing of Frankenstein.
 
The story would leave Mary for a while at some points and follow other people who were vital to the writing of the book. These deviations made for refreshing changes.
 
Mary's Dad
 
 

Mary came from the union of two geniuses
. She gulped down revolutionary ideas, novel theories, and latest scientific developments with her mother’s milk. She grew up sneaking into the soirees thrown by her father every week. Scientists, artists, and all kinds of important people attended those events.
 


Those ideas took hold in her and came out in the form of Frankenstein’s story.

The pall that we find hanging in the going-ons within the novel is not much different from what Mary had to live with, all her life. She had inherited depression from her mother while her father did his best to make things worse every time she reached out to him for emotional support. Losing three children did not help much and marrying someone who was also going through a lot of guilt for driving their wife to suicide kind of sealed her fate.
 
Lord Byron
 
Polidori
 
Percy Shelley
 
The people and her so-called friends and relatives weren’t too kind to her either and her husband’s death did the rest of the damage. She died at the age of 53 and the only source of happiness in her life was her happily married son and his wife.
 
mary-g
Mary's Grave
 
 
Interwoven with Mary’s tale is the tale of grave robbers and resurrectionists who can be found operating in many parts of the world even today! Their profession — stealing bodies — helped medical science but horrified me. Here’s an example, where the body they stole ended up in the hands of Aldini who believed he could shock the cadaver back to life:
 
“On the first application of the arcs the jaw began to quiver, the adjoining muscles were horribly contorted, and the left eye actually opened.” For those who had not witnessed such things before, Foster actually appeared to have returned to life and was now staring up at them.
 
 
The Anatomy Act was introduced as a result of these macabre forays and just made me realize how new laws have to be forged with the arrival of novel situations. Nobody thought they’d need laws for the internet before it became mainstream and yet here we are. It reminds me of something else from the book: even during Mary’s life, others could use her work and adapt it for the theaters etc. There were no copyright laws back then to keep people from doing that!
 
It is said that while the son inherited his father’s good looks, he didn’t inherit any talent. Personally, I think he was the luckiest of them all.
 


Some words that stayed with me

 

All three, it was suspected, formed a crush on Shelley, but only Mary had the mental capabilities and legacy he was attracted to.

 

Those who came to learn of Shelley’s subsequent romantic adventures knew very well why his wife had been disposed of and that particular mistress gained. Even Harriet knew why she had been set aside. When asked this by Thomas Love Peacock, she replied, “Nothing, but that her name was Mary, and not only Mary, but Mary Wollstonecraft.” Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, at that.

 

Some interesting bits

 

He continued to investigate the drug’s properties and was so astounded with the results, he derived the name laudanum from the Latin word laudare,to praise.”

 

One such town was Nieder-Beerbach, on whose summit, barely visible from the water’s edge, stood the famed, or infamous, Burg Frankenstein.
“What’s in a name?” Mary Shelley wrote years later in a book titled Rambles in Germany and Italy.

 

the castle was the site of much bloodshed when a member of the family was locked in mortal combat with an enemy of unusual fortitude and cunning, with a deep understanding of psychological warfare. The enemy, intent on overtaking Burg Frankenstein, had successfully overthrown other families in the past. Known for his brutality, Vlad the Impaler and his doings provided, in part, inspiration for another gothic masterpiece: Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

 

most notorious inhabitant, Johann Konrad Dippel, a man who, strangely enough, bore a striking similarity to Victor Frankenstein, and to an extent, to Percy Shelley as well.

 

Words that I learned

 

1.jpg

 

More details on Project Frankenstein

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-10-07 18:52
Victor Is Back, Intent on Deifying Himself by Building a New Race while Humans are Relying on a Monster to Save Them!
Frankenstein: Prodigal Son - Scott Brick,Kevin J. Anderson,Dean Koontz

 

 

Okay, so I am going to divide this review into the types of characters that were in the book:

 

 

Human Monster

When the manicure was complete, he exfoliated the skin of her perfect hands with an aromatic mixture of almond oil, sea salt, and essence of lavender (his own concoction), which he massaged onto her palms, the backs of the hands, the knuckles, the fingers. Finally, he rinsed each hand, wrapped it in clean white butcher paper, and sealed it in a plastic bag. As he placed the hands in the freezer, he said, “I’m so happy you’ve come to stay, Elizabeth.”

 

This guy turned into a serial killer who wanted to "create" the perfect woman from the parts he harvested off of other women.

 

 

 


Synthetic Monster

Harker was Hyde out of Jekyll, Quasimodo crossed with the Phantom of the Opera, minus the black cape, minus the slouch hat, but with a dash of H. P. Lovecraft.

 

Harker was created and not borne.He wanted to cut open happy humans, looking for the gland that he lacked but made them happy. In the end, he evolved to produce a Total Recall-ish creature that protruded from his belly and controlled his mind.

  

 

 

 

The Biggest Monster of Them All

 “Time to work, Karloff.” No one could say that Victor Helios, alias Frankenstein, was a humorless man. In the head, the eyes opened. They were blue and bloodshot.

 

 “I have given you a life,” he said. “Remember that. I have given you a life, and I will choose what you do with it.”

 

Victor Frankenstein has come to think he is god and is busy creating a New Race that is free from human compunctions, such as morals, shame, pity, and faith. The first quote of his is said to a head floating in amniotic fluid. The head is not really alive or dead. The second quote is from when he's done cloning his wife for the fifth time.

 

 

 

Mostly Human

“My hands were taken from a strangler,” he said. “My eyes from an ax murderer. My life force from a thunderstorm. And that strange storm gave me gifts that Victor couldn’t grant.

 

The original monster that Victor created. In this book, he takes the name Deucalion, and seems more human than the so-called humans could ever be!

 

 

 

 

The Humans 

“I’m sorry I’m such a mess,” she said. “No problem,” Carson assured her. “I’m afraid to leave here. Every time I think I just can’t puke again, I do.” “I love this job,” Michael told Carson.

 

 She wanted to shoot him accidentally. As if reading her mind, Michael said, “A gun can always go off accidentally, but you’d have to explain why you drew it in the first place.”

 

 “You sound like your father’s a safety engineer or something.” “You know he’s a safety engineer,” Michael said. “What’s a safety engineer do, anyway?” “He engineers safety.”

 

Two human cops, Michael and Carson, are trying to contain Victor's mess. Deucalion lends a helping hand when he can. While Victor remembered to deny relief via suicide or the ability to harm their creator to his creations, he certainly made not murdering others a part of their genetic makeup!

 

I loved how the author used Michael to bring humor to situations that would otherwise be really really horrifying!

 

 

 

 

 

Now for the Nitpicking

You know those run of the mill cop dramas that we have all read so many times? This was one of them. Secondly, Victor was shown to be the villain in this version. However, it will take more than just a side note about him having lived for a long time, been everywhere, and done it all that turned him into this unfeeling thing. Thirdly, while we are shown glimmers of humanity within the "monsters", Victor is supposed to be all-evil, without even a shred of humanity in him. Lastly, the two human cops are likeable yes, but they have no personalities.

 

 

 

 

 

To conclude, I am not saying I didn't like this book. I did! I will even read the other books in the series. However, there are so many awesomer books to read out there, why spend time on this one?

 

 

 

 

More information on Project Frankenstein

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-10-01 11:21
My Third Franken-Date was All About Frankenstein’s Twin Daughters. P.S. You Would Not Want Either of Them Mad at You!
Dr. Frankenstein's Daughters - Suzanne Weyn

 

What I Liked:

 

The book tried its best to stay true to the classic that it inspired it. There was a similar Gothic feeling to the story that I felt while reading Frankenstein. It was still there in the practicality with which one of the twins decides to hack a dead body and use the pieces from it. She wanted to replace the nerve-dead parts that were slowly killing her boyfriend with those pieces. The calm demeanor that she showed was reminiscent of her father's i.e. Dr. Frankenstein.

 

The premise that this story is set upon is completely possible. There was a huge span of time when Victor was absent from home. He was spending his hours trying to reanimate the dead but why couldn't he also have fallen in love and married during that time? Nevertheless, from what I have read of him, the girl would probably  have to don an apron and prance around in his lab, if she was to make that happen.

 

I loved how the crazy twin's craziness started to come across in the story. As I read the part where she went loco just because her sister wouldn't attend a party, I started to think, why is she acting like an insane person? Who drags their sister to a party while she is kicking and screaming? That's crazy! Turns out, it was lol

 

The author researched the scientific experts of that time and included them in the story. Their efforts paid off! And, I came across a name, Sushruta. An Indian surgeon who, "was repairing facial injuries incurred in battles in 600 B.C." Consider me hooked! Here's what a Google search yielded:

 

"Though he practiced during the 5th century B.C., many of his contributions to medicine and surgery preceded similar discoveries in the Western world. Sushruta devotes a complete volume of his experiences to ophthalmologic diseases. In the Uttar Tantrum, Sushruta enumerates a sophisticated classification of eye diseases complete with signs, symptoms, prognosis, and medical/surgical interventions. In particular, Sushruta describes what may have been the first extracapsular cataract surgery using a sharply pointed instrument with a handle fashioned into a trough."

 

Sounds like Sushruta was really something!

 

Words that Stayed With Me:

 

index

 

I loved how self-deprecating she sounded, disregarding beauty as a worthy talent!

 

What I didn't Like:

 

I could not differentiate between the twins. They might have been separate people but I had to take the author's word for it. They seemed alike. This brings me to my next issue, which is an issue that many YAs face. The female lead has to be beautiful and yet not know how beautiful she is. In this case, there were two leads. How would a book follow this trope in such a case, you ask? Easily. One of the twins was beautiful while the other was interested in science. Any guesses which one was prettier? Yeah, it wouldn't have bugged me since I have gotten used to this in YA books. But the twins were IDENTICAL!! Identical, I tell you!

 

How the author treated the monster from the classic. If you are going to base a book on a legend like that, you need to treat them with respect. You can't just use them in a scene and not tell what happened to the monster! It attacks the girls one night, trying to nab them, and then runs away scared when their grandfather brings out his shotgun? Does it seem like the intelligent and shrewd creature from the classic? Say, it does run away but why does it not come back? In the original, he was determined, if nothing else.

 

One of Victor's diaries mention him saying, "It's Alive!", when the monster woke up. The character from the book never uttered those words but the character in the movie did. A noticeable mistake that the author should not have made when they put so much effort into research.

 

 

Now for the Pretties

 

Giselle's Plaid Skirt.jpg

 

Giselle's Plaid Skirt with Black Velvet Top Ensemble

 

 

 

 Ingrid's Sapphire Gown

 

The book is quite different from many YA novels out there. It does not contain any love triangles and the female leads know how to get things done without boys! Give it a try, if you like such stories.

 

This was my third Franken-Date.

 

 

More about Project Frankenstein.

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-09-22 06:37
My Second Franken-Date was with The Mammoth Book of Frankenstein & It was Surprisingly Good for an Anthology!

 

6

Words that I Learned:

 

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3

 

Words that I Loved:

Nautch (girls) as in dancing (girls)
Attar (of roses) as in perfume (of roses)

 

Words that Stayed with Me:

(About Suttee) “Which district officer in the land did not pray that he would never encounter it?”

“Manny used to say we loved each other, but how the fuck do I know. I feel happier when she’s around, that’s all I know. She doesn’t have any teeth and her left arm’s gone and they’ve taken both of her ovaries, but I like her. She makes me laugh.”

“…several Japanese giant monster films have Frankenstein forced into their titles for German release, since Frankenstein is a generic term for monster in Germany.”

 

Review:

 

A Complete Woman by Roberta Lannes:

A doctor decides to make a complete woman.


Last Call for the Sons of Shock by David J. Schow:
Blank Frank, the Count, and the Wolfman all get together to reminisce.

 

 Chandira by Brian Mooney:
A pre-partition story set in the Indian subcontinent about a rishi who loved all his wives a little too much.

 

 Completist Heaven by Kim Newman:
A completist decides to catalog all the movies he watches. His dish antenna starts making more work for him by creating more of them!

 

The Temptation of Dr. Stein by Paul J. McAuley:
A doctor has a run in with another doctor, Dr. Pretorious.

To Receive is Better by Michael Marshall Smith:
Evil science clones kids for a very wrong reason.

The Dead End by David Case:
Another Frankenstein tries to play god but this one is way dastardlier than Victor ever was! ✮ 

Frankenstein by Jo Fletcher:
A poem about Frankenstein and the monster he created. ✮ 

26594806.jpg

 

 
 
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-09-22 06:29
The Mammoth Task of Reading The Mammoth Book of Frankenstein Comes to an End
The Mammoth Book Of Frankenstein - Stephen Jones
 


Words that I Learned:

 


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2.PNG

 

3

 

Words that I Already Knew:


Menhir was a word that I already knew because of the Malazan Books of the Fallen series. If you like all things epic fantasy, then you should not miss out on this one! Back to the word:
"a large upright standing stone "

Words that I found Interesting and Might Use:

 

 


Cucurbit:
A familiar word since the gourd family is known as Curcubitaceae, it means, "The lower part of an alembic".

Words that I Loved:


Nautch (girls) as in dancing (girls)

Attar (of roses) as in perfume (of roses)

Words that Stayed with Me:


"And there I will stay with her, to be there with her, to take refuge with her among the dead. I will tear at my body and my corruption until we are one in soft asylum. And there I will  remain, living with death for whatever may be left of eternity. Wish me Godspeed."

"Charlie, like all true artists, had not thought of his creation in terms of sordid usefulness, because, so far as he could remember Baron Frankenstein’s monster had not been expected to find gainful employment."
 
(About Suttee) “Which district officer in the land did not pray that he would never encounter it?”

“Manny used to say we loved each other, but how the fuck do I know. I feel happier when she’s around, that’s all I know. She doesn’t have any teeth and her left arm’s gone and they’ve taken both of her ovaries, but I like her. She makes me laugh.”

“…several Japanese giant monster films have Frankenstein forced into their titles for German release, since Frankenstein is a generic term for monster in Germany.”

 

Review:

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley:
 I have already reviewed the book that started it all! Go here to read my review.


A New Life by Ramsey Campbell:
The mad Doctor tries to resurrect someone who died recently. There isn't much of a story but you can see that the author has a way with words. I'll hold on to my judgement until I have read more by him.


The Creator by R. Chetwynd-Hayes:
An unflappable aunt, a dead grandpa, an uncle who is still alive, and a monster are all caught up in the middle of an inventor's plans.


Better Dead by Basil Copper:
A husband loves his Frankenstein movies just a bit too much. A resentful wife who doesn't!


Creature Comforts by Nancy Kilpatrick:
The author's right -- Frankenstein's monster would make a good rockstar!

Mannikins of Horror by Robert Bloch:
What animates us as opposed to a clay mannikin? Trapped in a mental asylum, a patient finds out!


El sueño de la razon by Daniel Fox:
A child who is constructed in a lab, not born, tries in vain to be accepted by his peers.

Pithcanthropus rejectus by Manly Wade Wellman:
The ape-human hybrid who was neither and both.

Tantamount to Murder by John Brunner:
The Marquis was going to revive his not so recently-dead wife. If only people believed in his abilities!


Last Train by Guy N. Smith:
A young man who has lived a very sheltered life meets not one but three Franken-women!

The Hound of Frankenstein by Peter Tremayne:
The Doctor is well and alive in this one. Oh, and he is crazy evil.

Mother of Invention by Graham Masterton:
I have read other books by this horror writer. His writing is much more interesting in the form of a short story.
David's mom is aging too slowly for her age. He soon finds out why.

The Frankenstein Legacy by Adrian Cole:
In the author's own words, "In Mary Shelley’s novel, the scientist clearly dies, the Monster determined to self-destruct. But then it struck me that we only have Robert Walton’s word for that, don’t we? "

The story portrays the monster from Frankenstein as someone impervious to pain and elements of the weather. It is a deviation from the original since Mary Shelley's work made us empathize with the creature. I like her POV better.

The Dead Line by Dennis Etchison:
In the world that this story is set, scientific advances have made it possible to extend life indefinitely. It just isn't a good idea to die there! This story starts with the most horrifying opening lines that will haunt you forever once you have read them. They will also ensure that you read the rest!

"This morning I put ground glass in my wife’s eyes. She didn’t mind. She didn’t make a sound. She never does."
 
Poppi's Monster by Lisa Morton:
A little girl whose life treats her painfully because her father is the monster in her life.
 

Undertow by Karl Edward Wagner:
A necromancer forces a young woman to stay with him. Or does he?  
 
The author has a thing for the gourd family. He uses "cucurbit" and "gourd" both within the same story!

A Complete Woman by Roberta Lannes:

A doctor decides to make a complete woman.


Last Call for the Sons of Shock by David J. Schow:
Blank Frank, the Count, and the Wolfman all get together to reminisce.

 

 Chandira by Brian Mooney:
A pre-partition story set in the Indian subcontinent about a rishi who loved all his wives a little too much.

 

 Completist Heaven by Kim Newman:
A completist decides to catalog all the movies he watches. His dish antenna starts making more work for him by creating more of them!

 

The Temptation of Dr. Stein by Paul J. McAuley:
A doctor has a run in with another doctor, Dr. Pretorious.

To Receive is Better by Michael Marshall Smith:
Evil science clones kids for a very wrong reason.

The Dead End by David Case:
Another Frankenstein tries to play god but this one is way dastardlier than Victor ever was! ✮ 

Frankenstein by Jo Fletcher:
A poem about Frankenstein and the monster he created.

 
 
26594806.jpg
 
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