Frankenstein is one of those novels that everyone knows the story of, even if they have never read it. It is a classic that is truly timeless, and perhaps the only example we have of a modern legend. Unfortunately, in modern retellings, much of the subtly and tact wich made the original book such an example of literature has been lost. What made the original tale so brilliant is that it was a critique both on the overambitious nature of pride, and the un-accepting nature humanity can have.
Much of the opening of the story is spent describing first the nature of a sea captain's voyage, and then of the history and childhood of Frankenstein, leading up to his downfall. Frankenstein is described as being extremely interested in education, devoting much time to the study of alchemy, being very interested in the promises of immortality offered within. It is elaborated upon how, after entering formal education, Frankenstein became obsessed with the reanimation of dead tissue.
After bringing his creation to life, Frankenstein becomes horrified, and flees from the creature. From then on, the story follow's Frankenstein's attempt to catch his creation, and the creature's attempt to survive. An amazing complexity that is usually lost in modern retellings is the fact that Frankenstein's monster is not a mute horror, but rather a being of intelligence and complexity, looking for acceptance, but not finding it, and thus turning his back on the world.
With its analysis of character and critique on both humanities greatest strengths and weaknesses, Frankenstein is a great classic, and one of the few examples of a nearly totally new tale.