Author: A.E. Rought
Release Date: January 1st (US/Can) / 3rd (UK) 2013
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Pages: 384 (paperback)
Source: ARC (Netgalley)
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.
I just realized that I finished reading this Frankenstein retelling just as Frankenstorm's about to hit the US East Coast. Stay safe, friends!
Broken opened by showing Emma's grief and undying love for Daniel, her deceased boyfriend. She visited the cemetery almost everyday, wishing for a grave that wasn't there because Daniel had been cremated. She didn't stop reliving their memories together... until Alex Franks came.
Though quite predictable, this book still intrigued me. I guessed most of the what's, but the why's kept me reading. If I didn't have a life, I would've finished this in one sitting despite the insta-love. The symptoms were there: sizzling air, electricity, and vague familiarity. And although I almost always hated insta-love in other books, it didn't annoy me even a little here in Broken, probably because it was integral to the story.
But it wasn't without flaws. There were less happenings than I would've liked; Emma's entire days were written, right down to her waking up late everyday, choosing between Daniel's or Alex's hoodie, getting to-go breakfast from her mom, and buying breve from Mugz-n-Chugz; and the descriptions were overboard at some parts. At times, they didn't make sense until I read them again but oddly, I actually enjoyed the thinking that I had to do.
Now for the characters. I didn't like Emma, but I didn't hate her, either. Her grief haunted her everywhere and she let it affect every part of her life. She also kept remembering Daniel in Alex, and I just thought it was unfair to him. One of her few redeeming qualities was that at least she knew it wasn't normal to have such deep feelings for Alex less than a week after they met. I also liked that she didn't care about what other people said.
And Alex Franks. He's easily one of the sappiest guys I've ever read, but oh man, did he get to me big-time. I imagined the serene way he looked at Emma and I almost melted. Sweeter than chocolate? Yep, that's him. Long before I read The End, I was already in love with him, freaky medical history included.
Brilliantly emotional and creepy, I'm glad I read Broken this close to Halloween. It may be a retelling, but it was very original, too. And that beautiful ending truly earned itself. I hope this'll be available here in the Philippines because I really want a finished copy (look at that gorgeous cover!).
MY FAVORITE PART was whenever Emma stood up for herself... which was always!
(photo and summary from Goodreads.com)