While "Frankenstein" has been adapted numerous times, quality does not always follow quantity, and the first book of Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein series is a prime example of how not to do an adaptation.
Koontz’s series serves as a sequel to Mary Shelley’s original novel, where Victor has extended his life into the present day and is dead set on using his engineered “New Race” creations to annihilate humanity and rule the world. His original creature is one of the only ones who can stop his schemes.
While this is certainly a far cry from the original work — you can’t fault an interpretation on concept alone. Execution is everything, and when dealing with adaptations, it is important to establish where your work stands in relation to the original’s timeline. Koontz’s version gives us this information in chapter 14, with:
“When Mary Shelley took a local legend based on truth and crafted fiction from it, she made Victor a tragic figure and killed him off. He understood her dramatic purpose for giving him a death scene, but he loathed her for portraying him as tragic and as a failure.”
This sets up that the original "Frankenstein’s" events as canon in Dean Koontz’s universe — minus the obvious change that Victor is the villain and still alive. Victor reminiscing on his kinder treatment toward women in chapter 28 further supports this.
However, in chapter 14, we get this quote: “Fire was featured in some of his less pleasant memories. The great windmill."
The windmill is, of course, a reference to the iconic windmill scene from the 1931 "Frankenstein" film, yet Mary Shelley's novel that is meant to be canon to Koontz's series contained no windmills.
This plot hole is far more than an inconsistency, as it forces the reader to question Koontz’s preestablished setup that the original novel is canon to his universe and characters. Mary Shelley's Victor has a drastically different backstory than the mad scientist popularized by the movies with the windmill — and though Koontz’s Victor is clearly his own person, it is hard to truly enjoy the character when his origins are uncertain.
Another plothole crops up in Chapters 7 and 9, where two victims of a modern-day serial killer are named Caroline Beaufort and Elizabeth Lavenza. These are, of course, the names of prominent characters within the original "Frankenstein."
Repurposing characters for an adaptation is fine, but Koontz establishing the original as canon to his universe makes these scenes both impossible and confusing. How is Elizabeth Lavenza, who was murdered by Victor’s monster some 200 years ago, now being murdered in the modern-day?
Perhaps the naming is a coincidence, but having another character sporting the same first and last name as Victor’s mother (Caroline Beaufort) at the same time is illogical within the world the author has set up. Victor even reflects on Elizabeth’s (the first ones) death in book three, which again enforces that Koontz's universe follows the original novel despite it not actually doing so in execution.
Reworking elements from the original novel is fine, but when you set up your series as being grounded in the original’s events, you have to stick with that established framework. Sure, these inconsistencies will go over Koontz’s fan’s heads, but those that read the series specifically for the Frankenstein element are going to be turned off by these plot holes and lack of understanding for the original.
Charlene Pepiot is a junior studying English at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Charlene know by emailing her @firstname.lastname@example.org.