Saturday, April 13, 2013

Review of Broken, by A. E. Rought

Title: Broken
Author: A. E. Rought
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Source: Netgalley/Publisher
Purchase: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/The Book Depository

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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 cemetery 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.

This book is not a Frankenstein retelling. If you pick it up thinking that it is, STOP! You will be disappointed. Besides some common denominators, this story stands on its own two feet, and is very different.  I would classify it as Frankenstein inspired instead of a  retelling of the original story.

I was surprised by how much I ended up liking this book. Not that I chose a book that I thought I wouldn't like. I just had a challenging time in the beginning.  Emma is really grieving, and the sole focus of the first few chapters is how dark her world is. 
I just wasn't sure if I was in the right mood for this novel. 

But I stuck it out and didn't set it aside, because it got interesting very quickly when Alex came into the picture. I am not a huge fan of insta-love, but the connection with Alex is a special one, as the twist in this novel will explain. So I am inclined to forgive the insta-love on this own. 

That being said, I wish the book description didn't give so much of the story away. The majority of this book was incredibly predictable, because I already guessed most of the plot twists from reading the book blurb alone. A lot more mystery would have been essential to the twist factor in this story.

Regardless of that, I really liked this! I thought the story was surprisingly original, dark, haunting and 'lose-your-breath' romantic. I was very connected to this story, and feeling all the emotions I imagine the author was hoping to convey. This book really did take me by surprise. If you are a looking for a darker YA with some Frankenstein inspiration, look no further than 'Broken'.

About the Author: Funny: A known introvert and mild megalomaniac -- handy because writing indulges both. When not writing, A.E. can be found slaving under the cat's demands, chasing the laundry, or whipping up really good bad food in the kitchen.Somewhat serious: Self-proclaimed nerd, A.E. Rought has spent most of her early life in libraries and bookstores. It's no surprise that she turned to writing shortly after creative arts college. She has novels of varying genres, and different pennames, published since 2006.
Serious-er: A student of language arts, A.E. Rought studied creative writing while attending Grand Valley State University with a focus on languages; French, Russian, and English. Now, married and a mother, A.E. writes from the comfort of home.

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