This book, though technically a "horror" novel, does not read like one. It's a slow burn from start to finish: and though the plot in itself is fairly predictable in this day and age, its mastery is in its prose, and the feelings that prose invokes in the reader. Victor, the narrator, often waxes poetic on morality and philosophy, which makes this quite the thought-provoking piece as the story progresses.
I think my favorite aspect of this novel is the characters. They have a stasifying depth to them- even the Creature which Frankenstein creates.
Victor Frankenstin is a charming, likable young man with a loving, devoted family. But his obsessive personality and hubris leads him down a road of self-destruction that he could have easily walked away from had he had the sense to look around him. I got the sense that Victor may or may not have always been just a little bit insane, because of the way his mind works. He's a strange fellow, but the reader comes to both love and despise him as the novel goes on.
As for the Creature (whom I came to think of as "Adam", since that's who Victor intended him to emulate), he was a surprisingly compelling character as well. He is not the groaning, lumbering, Hulk-like beast as most movies tend to portray him. No, the Creature quickly proves himself to be not only intelligent, but cunning. His primary education, once he had taught himself to understand both language and reading, were Milton's Paradise Lost, Plutarch's Lives of Illustrious Greeks, and Goethe's Sorrows of Werter.
He is strong and quick, even graceful. He is intuitive to human nature, and once he becomes Victor's foe, sets out to systematically drive his creator mad with grief. But before that, I as a reader had already come to greatly sympathize with the Creature, for when he first awakened into the world of the living, he had a childlike innocence that, if nurtured, could have shaped him into quite the heroic figure.
Furthermore, I was surprised when I read this book to find that the physical description of the Creature is completely different than the classic aesthetic with which we are familiar. Far from the flat-headed green monster, Victor describes having built the Creature to be beautiful; limbs in perfect proportion, long luxurious black hair, perfect teeth, handsome face, etc... it's just the fact that the Creature has been instilled with an unnatural life that makes him ugly. Granted, when the Creature finally blinks to life, his skin is grayish and shriveled, his lips black, and his eyes a disturbing dun-white... but aside from those things, what truly makes him vile is the fact that he was not ever mean to exist.
For this review, I can't think of enough cons to do my usual PROS and CONS section. Victor's ambitions border on the blasphemous at times, but the point of the book is to show how wrong he was. There are a few instances of God's name in dialogue, some of which are undoubtedly in vain- but many of them seemed to me as being actually spoken to God in a kind of plea.
If you're looking for a book that transports you to another time and place, that questions the roles of hero and villain, look no further than Mary Shelly's Frankenstein (Or the Modern Prometheus). It's well worth the read... and another read... and another.