Broken by A.E. Rought
Expected Pub Date: January 3, 2013
My Copy: eBook, 275 pages
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 now 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 moon light and the fog.
When she encounters newcomer Alex Franks, only son of a renowned widowed surgeon, she’s intrigues 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 enjoyed reading Broken. It is full of wonderful writing and story-telling through the eyes of a distraught teenage girl. It begins with Emma, the narrator, as an emotional wreck due to the fact that her boyfriend, Daniel, has died. Then she meets Alex, who has uncanny similarities to Daniel. His left eye is identical to Daniel’s and he strangely knows personal things about Emma that only Daniel knew.
I thought that the story was very well done. It is a retelling of Frankenstein and there are hints all over the place inside the novel that, if you have read Frankenstein, you will have an idea of what is to come. I found the story to be intriguing and well developed. However, I felt that the synopsis should have been a bit more mysterious, so as to not ruin the novel for the reader. I think Broken would have been much better if I wouldn’t have known that it was a retelling of Frankenstein. A lot of things were predictable due to this spoiler in the synopsis. But, there were also twists and turns that were unexpected. Rought did a good job of making the story her own by adding differences from the original.
I loved the writing style of Rought. She wrote this novel in a way that it has so many similarities to Gothic literature, but it’s also contemporary. It’s not quite Gothic, but it does have that tone that classic Gothic literature has. Gothic mixed with contemporary: Contemporary Gothic = awesome! I’m leaving out any mention of quality of writing/mistakes found because this is an ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy) and these things will probably be changed.
Overall, I found the novel interesting and intriguing. I wanted to keep reading to discover more. I would recommend this novel to fans of YA (young adult), story retellings, and fans of Gothic literature who don’t mind a contemporary twist. One thing I would like to mention that irked me about Alex’s character is how he continually pulled Emma’s hair out of her ponytail/braid/bun/etc. to let it hang down. Alex, sometimes a girl just want to wear her hair up and out of the way! Jeez.