Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Broken by A.E. Rought (ARC)

BROKEN
A.E. Rought

BrokenImagine 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.
 

Emma Gentry spent the past few months spending all her free time at the cemetery mourning the loss of her boyfriend Daniel. She's trying to move on, knowing Daniel would want her to, but her heart just isn't in it. At least, not until new guy Alex Franks comes to school. From the get-go these two have an attraction. But the weird part is how many similarities Alex and Daniel seem to have: a matching hazel eye with a black freckle (Alex's eyes are mismatched hazels), the ability to open Emma's locker using the same sequence of hits, the use of an unusual secret nickname. And if that wasn't weird enough, Alex's body is covered in scar lines from recent surgeries. And for some strange reason, Alex's father is incredibly annoyed of their newfound friendship, to the point he actually crushes her broken hand more. As their relationship progresses, Emma realizes there's more to Alex than meets the eye, and his surfacing knowledge of private memories she had with Daniel is downright creepy.
 
I was actually intrigued at the idea of a Frankenstein retelling, but I'm sorry to say this rendition just didn't do it for me. The descriptions were overkill for me. It's wonderful that an author has a vocabulary database that can rival the dictionary, and has the ability to come up with some neverending, and sometimes strange, analogies ('things that make you go hmm'), but there was so much of that going on in this book my head actually hurt. Also, the story was just too simplistic. With the hint of Frankenstein in the synopsis, you'd have to be completely out of it not to realize that Alex was put together by Daniel's organ donations, and that some memories and feelings seemed to have come along with them, so the secret of this book is obvious right off the bat, and makes reading the rest almost pointless. Perhaps if the Frankenstein reference was deleted from the synopsis, it might have actually been a more intriguing novel. A subplot or two could have done wonders, too.
 
The other problem I had with this book is that for like 80% of the novel, nothing happened! Seriously. Emma was depressed. Mom was mad. Emma meets new boy Alex, but was still depressed. Mom was still mad. Emma comes out of funk a bit, but then Alex was depressed. Mom slightly less mad. This novel was completely depressing to read, as the tone was so negative, you almost don't care if these two came out of the predictable Frankenstein danger alive in the end. Not to mention, Alex's father was so insane its a wonder someone in the medical profession hadn't noticed his behaviorial issues and acted on them yet. The guy's a psycho, and his little partner too, who we're never given a reason for how he became involved with the doctor, or why he does the things he does, which are pretty extreme, and he's too important of a character not to give us this reason.
 
I don't know, peeps. Read at your own risk. It's not a horrible book, it's just not that great. I did like the interactions between Emma and Alex, and truthfully, they were they only reason I continued this novel, even though their relationship got to love in just a few weeks (but the way this story drags you'd think it took all school year). Broken is a slow, depressing, predictable read, but if you're one to apprectiate overdescriptions and endless analogies, you may really enjoy this book.


ARC provided by publisher for honest review.
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