Broken by A.E. Rought

Publication Date: January 8th, 2013
Strange Chemistry
Format: E-book
Source: From publisher via Net Galley
RATING: 2 out of 5 Stars
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.

A modern interpretation of Frankenstein, Broken has the romance some readers would like. Unfortunately, I never did see the romantic side of Mary Shelley’s original work. Hence, this book simply missed the spot for me.

Emma hasn’t really recovered over the loss of her boyfriend, Daniel. She spends most of her time at a cemetery where he should’ve been interned but by his parents’ choice, he’s reduced to ash encased in a jar perched on a mantle at home. She goes through life grieving for Daniel and on some days, it didn’t look like she’d get over him any time soon. Alex Franks’ appearance gave way to a resurgence of life. Daniel still haunts her memories but the newcomer has given her another set of emotions other than sadness. But there’s something odd about Alex – something that’s achingly familiar and haunting.

This book was drawn out. It could’ve used a lot of trimming – especially those parts where Emma spent a lot of time lamenting and mourning. She’s also very descriptive, so much so, that I found her thoughts tend to drift while in the midst of her melancholic angst. It took me a while to finish this book as well. But when I realize that a lot of what I was reading was excess weight and was pretty much a practice in repetitive story telling, I had to stop and do some selective reading. And some of you will probably notice this too.

The writing may be pretty at first. But after a chapter or two, I was fighting off the urge to keep my eyes from rolling to the back of my head. But that doesn’t mean the author’s writing was pedestrian. I think she’s so much better than a lot of other authors out there. She just got too carried away with all the pretties.

The synopsis of the book sounds so charming. I mean, who wouldn’t want to read about a Frankenstein retelling? But Broken’s pretty generic, actually. And it’s why it’ll be a hit with a number of readers who loves the good old mysterious newcomer pining for the girl. It’s also quite predictable and the synopsis pretty much aided to expose the majority of the plot.

Over all, this book is an orthodox YA; nothing remarkable and actually quite disappointing. I liked the first quarter of the book and the last quarter.  I think half of this book should’ve remained unwritten.