Broken by A.E. Rought
Genre: YA paranormal
Publication Date: January 8, 2013
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Format/Pages: paperback & e-book/384 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 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 cemetary 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.
Gothic romance in YA is thriving as exemplified in A. E. Rought's latest novel, Broken. Heavy on the romance and the dark, creepy atmosphere, complete with horrific dreams, this story drew me in and made me a fan of the author's writing.
What I wasn't crazy about was knowing the surprise beforehand. Book summaries are like movie trailers: they tease us into wanting to read or see something; yet there are times when too much is revealed, spoiling the surprise factor. Even though I liked main character Emma, I already knew who Alex--the new guy Emma is drawn to--is, or in this case, what he is. I know this is classified as a retelling of Frankenstein but I would have preferred not knowing too many details beforehand.
I really liked how the author paid homage to Frankenstein. Emma attends Shelley High. The new guy is named Alex Franks. There's even a mad scientist. Emma is in mourning over the passing of her boyfriend Daniel. She has normal parents and a best friend named Bree. I did connect with Emma and believed her attraction to Alex but then the romance aspect seemed to take over too much of the middle of the story. I wanted more of the background of Alex and the connection to Daniel so I could understand everything. Also, Emma started off tough and then lost some of her strength (which drew me to her) when she met Daniel. And there were a few 'ick' moments when I really thought about 'falling' for someone because part of their deceased partner was inside you. That would make me wonder if the so-called love we shared was true and not the result of residual feelings.
What kept me reading Broken was A.E. Rought's writing. Her descriptions, dialogue, settings, everything drew me in to the world of Broken and kept me engrossed.
Cover comment: I may like it the art but it is reminiscent of other gothic YA novels o the past few years.
Book source: I received a paperback copy from the publisher in return for my honest review during a book tour.