Creatures: The Legacy of Frankenstein

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 24 Oct 2018

Member Reviews

I really wanted to like this collection of stories but unfortunately they just weren't for me. I found the majority of them hard to get into and I just didn't have the mental capacity to persevere.
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Mary Shelley has a very special place in my heart concerning her masterpiece "Frankenstein" through the story itself and the metaphors as well as how the monster mirrored her personal inner "monster" in her life. The fact there was an anthology based off the Frankenstein monster lore, I was completely down to read it. Then again, I was not expecting how these stories would turn out.

Honestly, I expected more out of these. Some of these stories felt underdeveloped or dragged on for too long. The only one that stood out to me was first one, "Kaseem's Way", and it's tribute to the original source material seemed more fitting than all the rest.

I had high hopes, but in the end, I was left feeling that maybe the lore of "Frankenstein" is better left alone for anthology interpretations for now.
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Such a beautiful anthology of stories set in Mary Shelly's world. I will never get enough of Frankenstein and this was an absolutely perfect read.
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This was a very interesting collection of stories that were all inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I thoroughly enjoyed this collection and can definitely see myself going back and reading it again.

•	Kaseem’s Way – London 1800s, 2 individuals working in a prison become interested in a certain person’s work on bringing a man back to life.

•	The New Woman – 2 girlfriends, one an artist, one a scientist, interpret Frankenstein’s work and bring to life their ‘Eve’. Set during the final days of 1899

•	Reculver – A different take on creation during a summer of WW2

•	Made Monstrous – From the POV of a police DI talking about a ‘monster’ of a priest from his childhood and then a monster of a rapist. A woman is killing monstrous men, but to what end?

•	Love Thee Better – A husband and wife go on a long cruise after he loses his arm in a construction accident. The cruise ends up being for those who want to get rid of their limbs and those who want to get a new limb. A great tie-in to ‘Kaseem’s Way’.

I would highly recommend this collection to anyone that enjoys reading about the darker side of the human psyche, and those who really appreciated Frankenstein for its psychological and philosophical undertones.

Received via Netgalley and reviewed of my own accord.
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As with all collections, some stories are better than others. Sadly the overall experience of this anthology was rather uninspiring.

As a result, no review will be given elsewhere. Best leave it to those who have something more to say!
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Like any short story collection, some hit and some miss. Will do more of an indepth review on Goodreads later.
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This was a brilliant anthology of 5 unique and brilliantly wrote stories, based on Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. I don't usually get on well with anthologies as a struggle to connect with the characters in such a short time but each story in this collection was a great length, not the snippets of stories you usually find in other short story collections.
Obviously, with all collections, some of the works stand out as masterpieces while others fall flat. But overall this was a good collection and will make brilliant reading for any Frankenstein super fans.
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This was a really good collection of short stories. I loved the different takes on a classic tale. As with any anthology, some of the stories were better than others, but I really appreciated the creativity and the integrity the authors showed when using the classic Frankenstein tale.
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The heritage of Shelley's Frankenstein is obvious in this anthology, but each story brings its own life and original direction to the concept. They explore rather than copy. The stories are longer than the usual short story, allowing quite a depth to each of them. I enjoyed this anthology and found it to be far more diverse and original than I had expected.
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I read this book courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

A collection of stories about Frankenstein's Monster, published right in time for the 200th anniversary of the original monster's conception, offers a rich range of reinterpretations and rewritings. Themes of monstrosity are a given, but we have the relationship between creator and creation, too, and sexism, and autonomy, and consent. And I was, for the most part, impressed with the five authors' takes.

The first story, Tade Thompson's "Kaseem's Way", was my surprising favourite. It was markedly not my kind of story, but regardless of that, and despite its relatively straightforward relationship with the source text, the story impressed me on the strength of the writing and thematic resonance. This tale of racially discriminated outcasts devoted to the goal of creating life by artificial means, interspersed with 1st person fragments concerning Victor Frankenstein's original creature, still alive after all these years and looking for his brother, was detailed and rich, with well-fleshed characters and a coherent narrative.

By contrast, I'm afraid I found Rose Biggin's "The New Woman" thorougly disappointing. Yes, I know the references, I see the significance of the title, but still, this sapphic re-telling focused on desire, misogyny and the intersection between art and science somehow became flimsy and shallow, and vague. Its characters (other than the sculptor) were two-dimensional, and their relationships felt contrived. Its worldbuilding was haphazard and spoilt suspension of disbelief. A waste of an imaginative and promising point of departure.

The third text was better, but not by much. In "Reculver" by Paul Meloy, the writing worked, and the narrative was stronger and with a good sense of place, but I disliked the ending. The Gaimanesque Murder Mystery-ish quality, the interpretation that the narrator's guilt is not misplaced but perhaps insufficient? Hard pass.

Emma Newman's "Made Monstrous" is an alright detective story and a good character study, but feels underdeveloped. I thought the final plot twist didn't work because of how obvious it was, and yet treated like a revelation for a reader. There was not enough mystery in the entire narrative, and using an established backstory for the finale just didn't have the punch, particularly when the confrontation took place at the beginning. I still like Newman, but I don't think this was her strongest showcase.

The final story wasn't my favourite and I wish some elements thereof had been edited down or out. It deals with consent, and yet doesn't quite have much to say on the subject. But the atmosphere of "Love Thee Better" by Kaaron Warren and her use of the original's material made it perhaps the best fitted for this anthology. Sent on an endless and oneiric cruise with her one-armed husband, the protagonist gradually reveals the horrors of this trip, as boundaries between natural and unnatural, dead and living, autonomous and enslaved, innocent and complicit become porous and unreliable. I didn't like the ending, or not quite, but it engaged well with Frankenstein.

] I look forward to reading more from both Thompson and Warren.
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Thankyou to NetGalley, Rebellion, Abaddon, and the authors for the opportunity to read this digital copy of Creatures; The Legacy of Frankenstein in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.
This book is an anthology of stories.  I thought it was a good read. The stories were well written.
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My Rating : 3.5 🌟 average

This book is a collection of 5 stories which have the concept of Frankenstein as one of their plot! And boy oh boy was it entertaining! 

The first thing I loved about this book is how each story is unique in its own way and in no way related to the actual classic! It may have the concept of Frankenstein but never in a same way! Each story had its charm and I absolutely loved that fact!

Second of all, it's no wonder I loved this book, I am a fan of horror/thriller and this book was right up my alley!

As I said before, each story was different! And if you look even closer, you can classify them into different genre! Especially I loved the last 2 stories! You can call them realistic horror fiction! And they were amazing! Since it's a collection of stories by different authors, you can almost identify the writing style. 

Though I loved few, I had issues with few. Overall, I loved the concept and how the stories were written. If you a fan of retellings, gothoc fiction, horror or thrillers, definitely give this book a shot!
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I found that this was a really good anthology of work from authors that I hadn't heard of before. It took me a while to make it to reading this book, but once I started I found that I couldn't put it down! This book is several stories told along similar lines of Frankenstein, and each story was unique with wonderful characters who are both flawed and looking for their own way to leave a mark on their world.  I found that each lived up to the legacy of Victor Frankenstein's original monster and original desire to find a way to fit in and leave behind an unending legacy.
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Creatures the Legend of Frankenstein is a fantastic tribute to Mary Shelley's gothic classic containing 5 very different reimaginings of the 'monster' and creator from war time to cruises.

I flew through this collection, every short story absorbed me from the start and made me feel many emotions. This collections shows that there is so many different meanings of what a monster is and that the human imagination is vast in the creation.

Through this I definitely have found different authors that I need to check out in the future!

I highly recommend this as an engaging anthology of the weird and the wonderful.

*ARC received from publisher via netgalley. All opinions are my own*
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I feel like I should preface this review by saying I don’t read a lot of anthologies because short stories don’t always work well for me. But I LOVE Frankenstein retellings—the original is a book with so many thought-provoking aspects to explore—so this anthology in particular had so much potential for me, and I couldn’t pass it up. Especially since these stories are on the longer side, which means more chance for me to connect with them and for them to leave an impression.

As is usually the case with anthologies, I liked some stories more than others. More thoughts on the individual stories are in the hidden section below, but there were two that stood out to me the most: “Made Monstrous” was my favorite for its story, characters, and mystery, and “Love Thee Better” had the most creative take on the Frankenstein idea and was easily the most disturbing of the bunch.

*SPOILER ALERT: My thoughts on the individual stories may contain mild spoilers.*

In “Kaseem’s Way” by Tade Thompson, a man uses Victor’s notes to figure out how to make his own creation, and the original monster himself makes an appearance. I didn’t dislike it, but it didn’t leave an impression either. But it did relate to the original because of the whole creature thing, the theme of abandonment, and the way it was another case of, “If only he hadn’t [done that violence], then maybe [he could’ve found some happiness].”

In “The New Woman” by Rose Biggin, a couple combines taxidermy and science to resurrect a beautiful woman. This one achieved the disturbing factor present in the original better than the previous story. It was also kind of a nod/twist to the original that their “creature” was so perfectly beautiful that they thought of her as art. Victor tried to make his beautiful in the original, but he failed spectacularly, whereas these two succeeded. This story didn’t blow me away either, but it raised some questions about art and beauty and humanity and what the creature would really be if you were to resurrect or piece together a person.

In “Reculver” by Paul Meloy, a man recalls his young life and his run-in with a monster. To be honest, I didn’t entirely “get” this one. And the Frankenstein aspect was weak. The main relation I can see is that idea of, “Who’s the real monster?” since there was a “monster” but also a very human monster in this one.

In “Made Monstrous” by Emma Newman, a detective takes on a case involving stolen body parts. This was my favorite in terms of story and characters, despite being more mystery than sci-fi or horror. The story had this great mystery that pulled me in and made me want to keep reading. It also had characters that I liked. It tackled the topic of sexual abuse and harassment. The female characters, and the whole story, provided a great feminist perspective. I even managed to connect to the MC some and feel some emotion at the end. This one also had that element of “Who’s the real monster?” as well as some sewn-together body parts.

In “Love Thee Better” by Kaaron Warren, a couple goes on a macabre cruise like no other. This was the most creepy and disturbing of the bunch, and one of the ones that adhered to the original Frankenstein monster idea the best. The whole thing had an uncanny, dreamlike feel. It pushed my suspension of disbelief really far that the characters would act the way they did, but I think this one was the best story in terms of mood and creativity.


One of the things I liked about this anthology overall was that there was a lot of inclusivity/diversity/representation. The first story had POC main characters (Black and Hindu). The second had LGBT+ main characters (a F/F couple). The third had a disabled main character (a limp). The fourth had a main character who was a survivor of sexual abuse and possibly had PTSD or something similar from it, and it was also very feminist.

I also appreciated that each story had a connection in some way to the original story, whether through theme or actually attaching body parts together, although some had a stronger connection than others.

There was also a lot of variety. Each story was set in a different time. They varied a bit in genre too; if I were to classify, I’d say two were sci-fi, one was horror, one was mystery, and one was mostly just historical fiction. And all the stories had different premises.

Unfortunately, altogether, the anthology fell flat for me. A couple of the stories captured some of that disturbing quality of the original, one pulled me in with a great mystery, and one was creative in a horrifying way, but I wanted more from this book. More of the sci-fi/horror element. More disturbingness or thought-provokingness or emotion. Maybe I was expecting too much from short stories. Or maybe I just didn’t understand the meaning in each one and what the authors were trying to convey. All I know for sure is that I wasn’t gripped by most of these. But I think each story did have its merits, and other readers may enjoy this book more than I did.
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Creatures wasn’t what I was hoping for. I am giving 3 stars because the fourth story by Emma Newman was great. But the others I just found boring, I couldn’t even finish 2 of them. 

I still want to thank NetGalley and the publisher for this advance copy.
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This novel includes five stories about Frankstein, his research, or his monster. Overall the stories were alright but the majority of them didn't feel like a true Frankstein story. They weren't scary and 3 of the stories didn't add anything new to Frankenstein literature. The only stories that I felt were unique was Reculver and Made Monsterous. 

Kaseem's Way by Tade Thompson - 3/5 Stars
Kaseem, after reading notes on reanimating written by another doctor decides to try it himself. I felt the beginning was too gory and sad with all the unnecessary animal deaths. The middle of the story picked up with the surprise visitor. 

The New Woman by Rose Biggin - 2/5 Stars
This story features two woman who want to combine their artistic side with their medical expertise by bringing a dead woman back to life. The story is set around Christmas time which feels strange and unwelcome for a story featuring Frankenstein. This wrecked the story for me, hence the low rating. 

Reculver by Paul Meloy - 3.5/5 Stars
Story isn't what you'd expect when you first think of Frankenstein. It features a boy, a missing teenage girl and a forbidden love. Frankenstein's creature didn't appear much in the story until the end which initially bothered me. Who wants to read about some boy when you could read about a hideous creature. The ending made up for it though, great conclusion. 

Made Monstrous by Emma Newman - 3/5 Stars
Story follows two detectives as they investigate a case of stolen body parts. It didn't really feel like a Frankenstein story, not until the end. Great police procedural and a neat ending. 

Love Thee Better by Kaaron Warren - 3/5 Stars
This story is about a couple who go on a cruise. It isn't an ordinary cruise as the cruise patrons are on it to have limbs/body parts replaced or removed. Story was okay but a lot of the twists I saw coming pages before they actually happened. Main character was bland.

Thank you to Netgalley for this ARC.
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4.5 of 5 stars
I’m not shy about telling all and sundry prepared to listen (or too polite to make a hasty departure) that short fiction is not usually my thing.  I don’t know why, other than usually I find that I’m just becoming involved and the conclusion happens.  However, I have also found recently that when a book, short or otherwise, adds to an already developed story, or continues using the original story for inspiration then I enjoy it much more.  Monstrous Little Voices was the first such book that led me down this path of enjoyment (a book that uses Shakespeare for inspiration and where all the short stories are interconnected in some way).  The same can be said for Creatures.

Before I even start this review my immediate thoughts were that I loved the idea behind Frankenstein and his legacy.  This collection of five tales is the perfect way to keep this story thriving in a really original way.  I love the classics but I understand that some people like a more modern style of writing – here you find an updated story that brings a classic into the 21st century.   The stories make their way throughout history beginning around the 1850s (I think) and progressing into the modern day.  All the stories have a different concept and yet all are brought together, not only by the common thread of ‘playing God’ or discovering immortality but by the inclusion of something familiar in each story.  I’ll try not to give away too much in case of spoilers but due to the chronology of the stories and also the way they’re woven together I would suggest that readers tackle this in a straightforward story (unlike most short story collections where you can pick any story at will).  To be clear, I’m not saying you can’t pick and choose at will but I think the stories will be better enjoyed read in the order they’ve been published.

So, we have five tales and undoubtedly readers will like some more than others.  What I really like is that these stories take the work created by Shelley and through the collection bring it uptodate whilst shining a light on some modern nuances that I didn’t expect.

Kaseem’s Way is the start of the collection and harks back to a time in London when grave robbing was not uncommon.  Cadavers were needed for research purposes as demand outweighed supply sometimes gruesome deeds were committed in the name of science.  This is a perfect start to the story with it’s dark feel and fog enshrined streets.  We read of Kaseem and his fascination with anatomy.  He undertakes ‘research’ in secret within the close confines of Newgate Prison.  His benefactor is a doctor at Guy’s Hospital who seeks to make a name for himself and seems to have an interest in the reanimation of the dead.  Meanwhile we meet a character known as Adam.  Adam is full of hate, he’s also full of loneliness and is desperately sad.  On top of that, and quite unfairly, he seems to be slowly dying.  I really enjoyed this story, it contains nods to the original work (although I’m sure I probably missed more than I picked up upon) and it is definitely something of a tragedy.

The New Woman takes us forward in time to 1899 – Christmas time and the last days of the year before a new year and indeed a new era is about to begin.  A group of friends are enjoying Christmas dinner, bohemians one and all, artists, actresses, scientists and like minded.  Their discussion gives rise to the birth of an idea in the minds of one of the guests.  Fran and her partner Christine come up with a way to combine art and science.  Their creation is Eve.  This was a period that was strangely beguiled by the curious and the odd.  Collections of wonders and the like were sought after and Fran and Christine’s ‘creation’ is highly desired to turn what was going to be a wondrous New Year party into, quite possibly, THE event of the year.  This is a tale that starts off as the coming together of two minds to create something beautiful.  Unfortunately, neither of them really expected their idea to come to fruition and didn’t have the first clue what to do when they succeeded.  Ultimately, their creation created a rift where a jealous wedge found a perfect home.  A story that takes a careful look at ‘rights’.  Does the ‘creature’ have rights – should it/she be treated as human or is she simply a ‘thing’.

Reculver.  The third tale is a curious one and takes a slightly different tack.  Set during the Second World War this story is told by a now elderly gentleman as he recounts a period during his youth in which he met two strangers.  One, was Barnes Wallis – who was responsible for inventing the Bouncing Bombs – later known as the Dam Busters.  The other stranger was the one that graces the pages of each of these stories.  This is a tale of violence – and surprisingly during a time of war does not focus on the battlefield.  This is about domestic violence and looking at the monsters who live amongst us.  I was puzzled about the inclusion of Barnes §Wallis (although I admit it’s a nice touch) but then I figured he’s the scientist of the story.  As the the other tales there is a recurring theme of sadness and loss  I’m still not quite sure what to make of the ending and think I might need to read it again.

Made Monstrous brings us into the 80s where a slightly jaded detective and his young rookie investigate the stealing of limbs.  This story really gripped me.  I’m not going to give too much away – it’s not a murder mystery because the bodies that are stolen from are already dead, but nonetheless it is a mystery.  At first the jaded detective takes almost a half hearted stance into the mystery of it all until the young policewoman starts to uncover certain similarities that eventually lead the two on a strange mission.  I found this story really gripping.  I wasn’t expecting a police procedural to be included amongst these stories and yet it fits really well.  Again, there are monsters of differing guises included in the story just giving more fuel to the ‘who was really the monster’ discussion.

Love Thee Better.  The final story is all about obsession.  I’m not quite sure when this is set – present day or a near future but it’s all about the way people obsess about their body.  Poor self deception and thinking that the cut of a knife will make things better.  Set aboard a strange cruise ship that never seems to call in at port this is a heady mix of people enjoying themselves quite wildly and with absolute abandon and then almost becoming saturated with it all.  It’s a story of people wanting to lose parts of themselves and others wanting to have those parts.  It’s a very unusual and even a little bit disturbing story of people swapping body parts almost as casually as they would change their hair style – but, there’s more underlying this story.  Dr Firth seems to have a project of his own and it’s quite horrifying.

I really enjoyed this collection.  I would give two provisos.  I don’t think this is supposed to be scary so if you go into it with such expectations then you might be setting yourself up for disappointment – it is however horror, maybe not blood soaked and visceral but horror nonetheless.  That being said I don’t think Frankenstein is a scary story.  I think both are meant to be thought provoking and that brings me to my second suggestion – read these stories with care.  If you race through these you will miss the cleverness that is taking place here.

Overall, I still don’t like short stories – but, when they’re brought together like this, a set of stories that told together make a whole – well, really, it’s a wonderful creation.

I received a copy courtesy of the publishers through Netgalley, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.
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Waiting within the pages of this anthology are five new stories taking Mary Shelley's story of Frankenstein and giving it a unique twist. Spanning different time periods from the 1850's with Kaseem's Way, to the present day with Love Thee Better, each tale keeps to the solemn voice of the original. 

Some stories resonated more with me than others but they all managed to sustain the feeling of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. The authors have all taken the mad doctor's ideology of reanimation and molded it into their own monstrous creation, terrifying yet piteous.  

Kaseem's Way by Tade Thompson takes place in Newgate Prison's "dead room", where anatomists create a new being from spare parts. The New Woman by Rose Biggin tells of the creation of a female in the final days of the 19th century. Reculver by Paul Meloy transports us to WWII to a lonely boy and a very human horror. In Emma Newman's Made Monstrous, a detective investigating corpse's missing body parts takes the stage. Love Thee Better takes us aboard a different type of cruise ship, one in which people who hate their body parts, and people who are missing parts unite.

What drew me initially to this anthology is the cover. Simplistic in design, but still evoking the essence of Frankenstein, like all the stories contained within. While it's hard to rate an anthology as a whole due to the varied authors and stories held within, Creatures: The Legacy of Frankenstein is definitely worth a read this Halloween season.
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As a huge fan of Frankenstein, I was very eager to get my hands on this book, and I am happy to say I was not disappointed.  Creatures really does live up to it's subtitle, The Legacy of Frankenstein,  as it takes the well known and beloved tale as inspiration for five authors , and allows them to bring their own unique voices to bear . While the resulting stories are very different, and span a variety of eras and settings, each is strangely unsettling. Some have very obvious ties to their inspiration , while in others the link is a little more obscure but each is enjoyable and chilling. 
Tade Thompson begins with Kaseem's Way,  set in London, 1849 , where the titular Kaseem has a remarkable interest in anatomy , while The New Woman by Rose Biggin takes the action to 1899 where a couple begin to experiment with science and art to create a new beauty before destructive jealousy wreaks havoc. I have to admit that this evocative and haunting tale was one of the highlights of the book for me.  Reculver by Paul Meloy  brings us forward in time to the second world war, and again jealousy plays a part. Another favourite was Made Monstrous  by Emma Newman, a police story set in the 1980's with some seriously dark undertones and a startling amount of character development for a short story. The final story is in some ways the most disturbing , it takes not just it's characters , but also the reader, on a nightmare journey where time loses all meaning. 
While the stories are all very different from one another, at their heart they hold true to the spirit of Frankenstein,  the dangers of science run riot as well as the egoism and hubris of man. 
I read and reviewed an ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher, all opinions are my own.
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