It's a shame I could never get around to reading this - because this is a masterpiece, in the truest sense of the word.
All of us know the gist, as Frankenstein's monster is a huge part of popular culture - Victor Frankenstein, a committed science student, discovers the secret of ‘animation' - the process by which life is injected into a body. He then attempts to create a sentient creature, and does so - but repulsed at his own creation, he deserts the creature. What happens in the novel is simply repercussions for the same.
But what really made the novel work was its maddeningly beautiful prose, and the sheer tragedy of the villain, Frankenstein's monster. Deprived of human affection due to his monstrous appearance, you feel for him, even though your sympathies are strongly tested. But Shelley's command of the language is unparalleled - you can visualize the downfall of both Victor and his creation, and it is just heart-rending to witness.
Another striking thing about the novel is the pacing - it is simultaneously beautiful and wretched to witness. It is an exercise in futility to think of all the ‘what-ifs', alluded so casually by Shelley at numerous parts of the novel. In fact, at some point, you just have to stop to take a deep breath, because it is so pulse-pounding.
I was thinking Frankenstein would be another one of those ‘classics', solely read because it's on all of those ‘best of all time' and ‘trope creator' lists. I will gladly admit though, that I have never been more glad to be proven so wrong.