by A.E. Rought
Summary: Imagine a modern spin on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein where a young couple’s undying love and the grief of a father pushed beyond sanity could spell the destruction of them all.
A string of suspicious deaths near a small Michigan town ends with a fall that claims the life of Emma Gentry’s boyfriend, Daniel. Emma is broken, a hollow shell mechanically moving through her days. She and Daniel had been made for each other, complete only when they were together. Now she restlessly wanders the town in the late Fall gloom, haunting the cemetary and its white-marbled tombs, feeling Daniel everywhere, his spectre in the moonlight and the fog.
When she encounters newcomer Alex Franks, only son of a renowned widowed surgeon, she’s intrigued despite herself. He’s an enigma, melting into shadows, preferring to keep to himself. But he is as drawn to her as she is to him. He is strangely…familiar. From the way he knows how to open her locker when it sticks, to the nickname she shared only with Daniel, even his hazel eyes with brown flecks are just like Daniel’s. The closer they become, though, the more something inside her screams there’s something very wrong with Alex Franks.
And when Emma stumbles across a grotesque and terrifying menagerie of mangled but living animals within the walls of the Franks’ estate, creatures she surely knows must have died from their injuries, she knows.
I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
The synopsis of this novel had me intrigued and excited to begin reading. Frankenstein is one of my favorite books and I love gothic novels. Unfortunately, this book fell short of my expectations.
I liked the descriptions the author used throughout the book to set the tone, but I felt like it didn’t fit the plot enough and was too noticeable. The descriptions were over the top. Emma was already a dark and depressing character and the trying-to-be-gothic descriptions of everything only made her seem even more depressing. If you thought Bella in New Moon was depressing and lame and absolutely dull, you haven’t seen anything. Emma Gentry makes Bella look like the happiest girl in the world.
I still kept reading, wondering when the book would start picking up and becoming interesting. I kept waiting for it to be more gothic and mysterious, but it never happened. Instead, it became incredibly predictable. If the synopsis mentioned nothing of Frankenstein, perhaps I wouldn’t have had such high expectations and perhaps the story wouldn’t have been so predictable. But it did and it was. When Alex FRANKS moves to town and is immediately interesting in Emma, I rolled my eyes. Seriously? She’s mourning the death of the love of her life, Daniel, who had his body donated to science. And Alex acts a lot like Daniel. They even have a similar eye. And she feels electric tingles when they touch. And he’s covered in scars. That he won’t talk about. And his father is a genius doctor. If none of this seems predictable to you, then I would recommend that you read this book because you might find it enjoyable and you won’t guess what the major twist is. But if you have any sort of knowledge of the story of Frankenstein, I think it’s quite obvious what happened and where the story is going. I continued reading to see when Emma would finally figure it out. She was totally reading Frankenstein for a school project during all of this, too.
There were absolutely no surprises in this book for me. The only reason I gave it three stars instead of one or two is that I did enjoy reading about Emma and Alex falling for each other. I knew what to expect, I thought Emma couldn’t get any more depressing, but I still wanted them to be together. There was more anticipation between the two of them than anywhere else in the story and I found it to be pretty good. There was also one twist in the story that I didn’t see coming immediately. I saw it coming later on as the story progressed, but it surprised me more than anything else and I liked that at least one aspect of the Frankenstein plot wasn’t extremely obvious.
Overall, if you like fairy tale YA remakes and are looking for something different, this book was interesting and enjoyable. Like many other YA fairy tale remakes, it’s incredibly predictable and the only things the reader doesn’t see coming are the minute details of the story. Broken is focused mainly on Alex and Emma falling in love than anything else and if that’s the sort of YA that you enjoy, I highly recommend it. As far as being a modern retelling of Frankenstein, I would prefer a story less focused on depressing high school students with a much less predictable plot.