From the start I was thrown for a loop. My expectations involved creepy mountain castles and electric storms not ships sailing the Arctic seas. The beginning wasn't the only thing that broke the mould of my expectations, for the novel as a whole was wholly other than that which I had envisioned it to be. The beauty of the language carried me to places I have never seen. Where was the clunky beast with a flat skull and bolts in his neck? Where were his jerky, robotic movements? Rather, the "demon" brought to my mind images of Tarzan, bounding and scampering with an animal-like agility. Nor was I prepared for Dr. Victor Frankenstein's own abhorrence of his creation. I always assumed it was creature and creator against the world. Oh, how little I knew.
Nearly from the start this tale built tension towards a chilling conclusion. There were no "Fire bad" moments. No villagers wielding pitch forks. Perhaps that's why I found the book so refreshing. The monster was much more human than I would have supposed, often waxing quite eloquent. It is the incongruence of his humanity and inhumanity that was, for me, the greatest horror. But this isn't just a story about a monster. As the subtitle indicates, this is a tale of a Prometheus who flew too high and paid a terrible price.
If you are content to maintain the caricatures, gleaned from movies and cartoons, please understand that these have very little to do with the original novel. I have watched two movie versions and I was still surprised by the ending! It is a beautifully told tale of horror and is well deserving of its classic status. 4 1/2 stars.