by Catherine Bruton
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 7 Oct 2021 | Archive Date 7 Oct 2021
A brilliantly-conceived and hugely imaginative ‘sequel’ to Mary Shelley’s masterpiece, Following Frankenstein is a hugely exciting and beautifully-written historical adventure, perfect for 9-12 year olds.
Sometimes I was jealous of the monster of Frankenstein. I grew up believing my father cared more for him than he did for me. And was I wrong?
Maggie Walton’s father has dedicated his life to a single pursuit: hunting down the monster created by Victor Frankenstein. It has cost Maggie and her family everything – and now her father is staking everything on one last voyage to the Arctic, with Maggie secretly in tow, where he hopes to find the monster at last.
But there they make a shocking discovery: Frankenstein’s monster has a son…
A breath-taking, epic adventure, spanning the icy wastes of the Arctic Tundra to the vaudeville circus of New York, from the award-winning author of No Ballet Shoes in Syria and Another Twist in the Tale.
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Average rating from 22 members
I suspect that, like most people who have not read the classic novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, my understanding of what happens within its pages is considerably at odds with what really happens. Although I know that the title is the name of the scientist who creates the monster, rather than his creation, my impression of the events of the book is in reality likely to bear little resemblance to what the author intended, influenced as it undoubtedly has been by popular culture. When I saw that this sequel had been written, my curiosity was sparked. Could a sequel written for a middle grade audience work well as a standalone? After all, the original text was intended for adult readers and although it is one that was recommended for my daughter at KS3, she was a particularly confident reader; I am not convinced that many young readers would either choose to pick it up or access it fully. Having now read this though, I can report that it is perfectly pitched for upper KS2 and absolutely no prior knowledge of the original story is necessary. That story is well known to Maggie Walton, however, who we meet shortly after the death of the aunt with whom she has been living in the absence of her father who has been away chasing after Frankenstein’s creation. Attending his sister’s funeral Captain Walton, meets Count Florenzo who has heard of his reputation and tells him he wishes to fund an expedition to finally track down the monster. To Maggie’s enormous dismay, he agrees and will not listen to her protests, arguing that finding the creature is his destiny. Worried about the effect on her father’s wellbeing, Maggie stows away on board the ship taking him north and is soon found by its captain, Ishmael, who also knows of the creature having travelled extensively amongst the people who live in the Arctic. While talking, Ishmael speaks of rumours of a second monster – a child, whose existence is as yet not known to Captain Walton. Arriving in the far north, Maggie, Captain Walton and Ishmael meet Ahnah – a respected elder of the Inuit people who warns them to leave Frankenstein’s creature alone and the travellers learn more about the monster’s child. Led by one of Ahnah’s people the three of them find the child, who appears at first glance to be little more than a wild beast. While the adults around her have plans for the boy, Maggie wonders if he is more human than they think and tries to befriend him. But is she wise to do so, or is he too a terrible monster like his father? Written from Maggie’s perspective, the reader is left with no doubts as to how she feels about the monster at the start of the book, as she continues to be of less interest to her father than the creature. Rather than letting this turn her against her remaining parent, as might be expected, she shows great strength of character when she determines to do all she can to bring his attentions fully back to her. On meeting the monstrous child though, she does not hold a grudge against him but judges him on his own merits – something that I suspect possibly not enough of us would do. This makes for a very powerful section of the story, which could be used to great effect in school to discuss difference and the importance of acceptance. Although obviously a modern work of fiction, the story feels like an authentic older read but is one which is readily accessible to today’s readers. While the writer admits that she has used artistic licence here with regard to the history of the events of the original book and those that have been included here, including a lot of references to Moby Dick, the narrative is woven so skilfully that younger readers – and a great many older ones – will not think to question the events which unfold. I really enjoyed this, and although I won’t be dashing out to read Frankenstein there may be younger readers who go on to enjoy one or more of the adapted versions suitable for children, or other classic texts – a good thing in my opinion. Suitable for Year 5 upwards, Following Frankenstein is published in paperback on October 7th. Huge thanks, as always, go to publisher Nosy Crow and Net Galley for my advance read. 5 out of 5 stars.
Is there anything Catherine Bruton can’t do?! Her writing is a masterclass on everything a book should be. She builds empathy with ease; I adore her writing and was delighted to find that Following Frankenstein is no exception. What a fantastic story! I love how, in her last two books, Catherine has taken a classic tale and given it a twist. Following Frankenstein stands alone beautifully for those who haven’t read the Mary Shelley classic, but also has lots of nods to the original for those who have read it to enjoy. Not only is it a great story, but, like Bruton’s other books, it has a beautiful message at the heart of it. I cannot wait to add this to our Year 6 class library. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.
First, I feel the need to mention the acknowledgements at the end of this book. I must admit, I don’t often read them in books but I really felt the urge once I had finished Following Frankenstein as I just wasn’t ready to let this book go! I am so glad I did. Catherine Bruton’s acknowledgement was very insightful and added more meaning to an already wonderful story. I think the thing which struck me the most in Following Frankenstein was Bruton’s fantastic use of language, she has a great way with words which allows a reader to clearly imagine characters as well as action. Bruton’s writing will allow your vocabulary to grow as she uses a range of interesting but well-chosen words throughout the book. The story is told by a girl called Maggie. She lives with her dad, who has been obsessed with Frankenstein’s monster for as long as she can remember; Maggie often wonders if he loves the monster more than he loves her. When the opportunity arises for Maggie’s father to hunt for Frankenstein’s monster, he goes for it but this time Maggie decides she is not being left behind. What follows is an adventure, which Maggie didn’t quite expect, but one she and her dad ultimately really benefit from. Following Frankenstein is a story about not being accepted by people around you and if you enjoyed watching The Greatest Showman, this story will definitely resonate with you. I also think fans of Katherine Rundell and Emma Carroll will enjoy it. I will certainly be seeking out more of the Catherine Bruton books to add to my class library as well as adding Following Frankenstein after its release.
I loved Frankenstein and have used it as a reading group with some of my Y6s (abridged), however, this book was brilliant - how could you improve on a brilliant story? It tells the continued story of Frankenstein's 'monster' and his search for friendship and family - a definite twist on what makes a family. Fast packed action dealing with what it takes to belong (in all its forms).
As a lover of anything gothic when I saw a sequel for children to Frankenstein I almost salivate at the thought of reading it and I was not disappointed. This is a wonderful book so well written with great characters that I devoured in one sitting.
This story is a great sequel to Mary Shelley’s original and focuses on a young girl, Maggie Walton, whose father is obsessed by finding Frankenstein’s monster. His obsession has cost him all his wealth and reduced his family to living to living in rooms near London Docks. A mysterious stranger arrives looking for Robert Walton and employs him to lead a final expedition to the Arctic to find the monster. Maggie stows away and then becomes part of the ship’s crew. The story then follows their voyage across the arctic ice where they meet a community of Innuit who have met the monster and his child. The child is captured and taken to America to the mysterious stranger. However, the stranger is not what he appeared to be and their fate is very different to that which they imagined. The author describes her characters and the different landscapes brilliantly and the story is fast paced so you never lose interest. There are several strong themes in the book including what it means to belong somewhere and also the subject of mental illness. The effects of her father’s obsession on Maggie are made really clear. I loved the acknowledgments at the back of the book and enjoyed finding out more about what inspired Catherine Bruton to write this book. This is another great book from the publishers, Nosy Crow and I’m really grateful to them and Net Galley for allowing me to read this advance copy.
This is a brilliant tale of obsession and compassion, of friendships and jealousy, of polar coldness and of unexpected humanity. It's also a gripping adventure, featuring a race across America with ships, trains and a circus! We are plunged into the story immediately. Maggie is effectively alone in the world as her mother and beloved aunt are dead and her father has lost himself to an obsessive pursuit of the elusive Frankenstein. Warned by her aunt to destroy the letters and free herself from the entangling passion, Maggie does the opposite. She follows her father and is soon embroiled in the chaos of greed, fear and desperation that the creation of Frankenstein has stirred up. Pacy and rich, the story moves through a multitude of settings and cultures, each one vividly described. It also has a wealth of wonderful villains and noble heroes, not least Maggie's endearing mouse, Victor. Maggie herself is a wonderfully believable and utterly lovable character growing to understand the world around her in all its brutality and all its brave loyalty.. Catherine Bruton challenges the reader to ask searching questions. What is humanity? What is love? How can we include the excluded and still celebrate difference? When does interest tip into obsession and what is it that drives desperation? How can the dangerous power of story be used for good? Meanwhile, the story never misses a beat as the tension mounts and the pursuers close in. My one reservation was that I felt it ended a little abruptly. Some questions were left hanging, other ends tidied away perhaps a little too neatly. But maybe even that is a strength; the book has asked questions with no easy answers, and happiness can nevertheless be found despite uncertainty. It is a book that left me pondering. Having loved Catherine's previous spin-off novel, "Another Twist in the Tale", relishing the ingenious riffs on Dickens' original, I was initially a little anxious that not having read Frankenstein would mean I enjoyed this less. I needn't have worried. This is an excellent story in its own right, and although I am sure I missed multiple links with several of the books so cleverly woven into this story, it in no way spoilt my enjoyment. In fact, this book whetted my appetite for these and would work superbly as a gateway to these older classic novels. Catherine Bruton has perfected a balancing act; she uses a style and vocabulary suited to the novels that inspired her, whilst remaining accessible and clear. She addresses the same themes and issues, but never forgets that she is above all telling her own exciting story. As a result, she has created a work that is at once an enticing invitation to a wider world of literature and also a rattling good yarn.
Wow! So I was initially drawn to this book because of the futile ‘Following Frankenstein’ , as a book lover I was intrigued. This story utilises characters from literature in order to tell the story of Frankenstein’s monster’s son and a girl called Maggie, her little mouse Victor and her fathers obsession over finding the monster. I wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did, the literary references are always a bonus but I loved how the author made them her own. We see how Maggie has become incredibly lonely after her fathers obsession with Frankenstein’s monster has led them to the artic. This story talks about so many topics and has so much depth to it, you are rooting for the main characters but also anxious to see the ‘bad guys’ get what they deserve. This book is gritty and has some heartbreaking moments but also tells the story of those who often seen as ‘monsters’ in such an important way. We see how the story takes a life of its own, featuring circuses, native Americans and references to Moby Dick. Honestly, after reading this book I think I appreciate it even more. A great story that tackles important topics in a beautiful literary way. I would also like to note that it is not often I read acknowledgments and give them so much attention but they were such an important part of this book and you can tell the author really cares and is passion about the message her story portrays. She thanks young carers, she’d light in disability and neurodiversity and the whole idea of ‘otherness’ and how people are excluded and ostracised for being different. This book may be aimed at 9-12 year olds but I think it’s reach is much further than that. I could see this a great book to study alongside Mary Shelley’s masterpiece, a mirror of her story with the context of today inspiring a new generation to be enamoured with the beautiful and heartbreaking tale. I honestly didn’t think I would have so much to say about this book, but as I said… I think this book has so many more levels that just the words on the page. A fantastic read and thank you to Netgalley for sharing this book with me for an honest review.
One of the most gripping openings I have read - the words of the prologue filled me with suspense and a small amount of fear. The seed that something terrible was going to happen was planted and I desperately wanted to read on to find out just what that might be. Maggie’s father has a dangerous obsession with finding Frankenstein’s monster. Having once seen it he has squandered what money they had in a cursed quest to find it again. When a strange man appears at her Aunt’s graveside Maggie is instantly suspicious. Her suspicion is well founded and she soon finds her father back on his ill fated quest. Stowing away in a last ditch attempt to save her father - Maggie meets Ishmael the ships Captain who also claims to have seen the creature. Together he promises they will steer her father back home safely - but is that possible or has he been lost to deeply? I truly felt for Maggie when they learnt of the monsters child. How many wanted it dead because ‘it had killed its own mother’. The parallel to her own life - losing her mother in childbirth, a father who abandoned her, living in a place where she didn’t truly belong. My heart ached as I read those pages - feeling the pain that Maggie must have felt and her pleas to leave this poor child be. This book also looks at the slave trade and the Underground Railroad. Depicted respectfully but with the reality still there to allow readers to understand the life that slaves lead. Throughout the story there are many dangers but equally there are many moments of hope and kindness. This is a story about acceptance of those who are different from ourselves and finding family. Maggie and Kata are helped by many unlikely allies throughout the book and despite the moments of horror and pain, ultimately I was left with a feeling of hope and joy. Trigger warnings: loss of parents, harming others, slavery
A simply wonderful story featuring a classic spin. I adore Catherine Bruton’s writing and this one certainly disappoint. I’m always amazed at how diverse a writer she is, and pulls it off effortlessly.
I always found Frankenstein an interesting story so when I saw this I just had to read it. Can love really be shared out it does all just have to be for one person? There is a difference between love and being consumed by a passion and Maggie is soon to learn that a passion can bring love together and take them on a journey. I loved this book the characters and the plot had me hooked straight away.