Source: Strange Chemistry/Netgalley – I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I received no compensation
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Edition: eARC, 384 pages
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Retelling
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
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.
Broken is a book that held a lot of promise for me, especially since it’s a modern day retelling of one of my favorite novels (Frankenstein). Frankenstein is a dark novel and it has so much emotion packed into it, there are brief moments of hope and love…but it’s overall rather sad,horrific and a tad angry. I would say that in this case Broken fits into that mold, but it doesn’t really feel like it should.
The summary is one that makes you think the story will get underway rather quickly, at least in the first 40% of the book but it doesn’t. Half of that description doesn’t happen until about 70% and the rest is all focused on Alex and his relationship with Emma. I’ll be the first to admit that Frankenstein doesn’t move swiftly in the beginning so I’d have been okay with a slow start before revving things up, but at 70% I’m almost done and I’ve already made most of my decisions on how I feel about it. I will say that the last part of the book is gripping and it does deliver on it’s grotesque horrors promise but it wasn’t enough to redeem the entire story for me.
Emma is a character that flip-flopped between being someone I liked and someone I wanted to go away, she’s filled with a sort of deep sadness due to the death of her boyfriend and it’s practically seeped its way into her being. So when she sees Alex who reminds her so much of her lost Daniel she grudgingly opens up, but at the same time she’s instantly attracted to him. It’s a case of the insta-love…and even though it had me rolling my eyes I let it slide given the circumstances. I did enjoy their relationship, though it was probably more for Alex than for Emma. He’s really sweet, though he is a bit too mysterious (what high school lets you wear a hood all the time?). The best part about him is that he is clearly damaged in some way, which is slowly revealed over the course of the book…and if I’m being completely honest he was the reason I kept reading. I wanted to know just how bad things were for him and why he reacted to somethings the way he did, and the overall conclusion was one that I felt answered all my lingering questions.
I’m definitely in the middle on this one. I really enjoyed some aspects of it and at the same time it was a let down.