Author: A.E. Rought
Pub. Date: January 8, 2013
Source: Publisher (Thank you, Strange Chemistry!)
Summary: 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.
Genre: YA, Fantasy
I wanted monsters. Instead I got an 18 year-old sex god and a deer with a limp.
Broken was hailed as a fresh, new retelling of Frankenstein. That alone was enough to command my attention. I’m a huge sucker for retellings and they’re certainly in abundance these days. That there was a Frankenstein retelling… I couldn’t pass it up.
Unfortunately Broken is a classic example of an intriguing idea with a horrible execution (something I’ve dubbed the Matthew Pearl effect). Broken is a typical YA romance – awful poetics (and the fastest case of insta-love I’ve ever seen) included.
A few short months ago Emma Gentry lost her boyfriend Daniel in a horrific accident. Since then she’s retreated into herself, sleeping in his hoodie every. single. night. and hanging out at the local cemetery where she feels his presence. Emma’s haunted by his memory and when she closes her eyes all she can see is Daniel’s broken, bloody body.
All of that changes when a new boy, Alex Franks, shows up at school. There’s something familiar about him and his mannerisms that Emma can’t quite shake. Why does he remind her so much of Daniel? Why does he call her by the nickname Daniel gave her?
Ugh. Really, that’s all I have to say. Broken was one steaming pile of meh. Emma stubbornly refuses to let go of Daniel until Alex shows up. Naturally he’s got a jawline to die for and amazing cheekbones. And don’t forget that brooding, mysterious aura! I wonder if the author has ever read Frankenstein. But of course she has! Alex has scars all over his body, guys. See how wretched and horrifying he is?? Not at all. In fact, Emma muses – multiple times – over those scars and how hot they are.
Emma is a typical girl who sits at the Theater Nerds lunch table. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why she was the sole piece of gossip. She wasn’t a popular cheerleader, but she also wasn’t a part of the out crowd. Somehow there’s a new rumor about her everyday and I just didn’t get it.
The fact that Alex’s last name is FRANKS, his father is a crazed doctor, and the high school is SHELLEY HIGH never raised an eyebrow. For an English project, Emma has to read Dracula and other classic gothic novels. If those books exist in this world, wouldn’t Frankenstein exist as well?
I could go on and on with my list of grievances: Emma only loves Alex because Daniel is a part of him, certain elements are introduced (Alex’s ex-girlfriend, for instance) only to never be discussed again, etc etc.
I’ll admit that at the very end I was interested. All the talk about memory fusion in tissue was great. Sadly, by that point, I was reading Broken just to finish. I don’t think I could have handled one more page detailing Emma’s school day – including a play-by-play of each class – or her on-going text conversations.
When all is said and done, Broken is 250 pages of overly dramatic high school days (and don’t forget the coffee shop!) with a few chapters that were relatively interesting. If you’re looking for a creepy monster tale, look elsewhere.