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- Publisher: Strange Chemistry
- Format: Paperback | 320 pages
- Dimensions: 130mm x 200mm x 28mm | 295g
- Publication date: 8 January 2013
- Publication City/Country: Nottingham, UK
- ISBN 10: 1908844310
- ISBN 13: 9781908844316
- Sales rank: 427,432
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.
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Self-proclaimed nerd, A.E. Rought has spent most of her early life in libraries and bookstores. It's no surprise that she turned to writing shortly after creative arts college. She has novels of varying genres, and different pennames, published since 2006. The author lives in Montague, Michigan (near Grand Rapids).
By Lily 18 Apr 2013
Review originally published on Bookluvrs Haven
This book is not a Frankenstein retelling. If you pick it up thinking that it is, STOP! You will be disappointed. Besides some common denominators, this story stands on its own two feet, and is very different. I would classify it as Frankenstein inspired instead of a retelling of the original story.
I was surprised by how much I ended up liking this book. Not that I chose a book that I thought I wouldn't like. I just had a challenging time in the beginning. Emma is really grieving, and the sole focus of the first few chapters is how dark her world is.
I just wasn't sure if I was in the right mood for this novel.
But I stuck it out and didn't set it aside, because it got interesting very quickly when Alex came into the picture. I am not a huge fan of insta-love, but the connection with Alex is a special one, as the twist in this novel will explain. So I am inclined to forgive the insta-love on this own.
That being said, I wish the book description didn't give so much of the story away. The majority of this book was incredibly predictable, because I already guessed most of the plot twists from reading the book blurb alone. A lot more mystery would have been essential to the twist factor in this story.
Regardless of that, I really liked this! I thought the story was surprisingly original, dark, haunting and 'lose-your-breath' romantic. I was very connected to this story, and feeling all the emotions I imagine the author was hoping to convey. This book really did take me by surprise. If you are a looking for a darker YA with some Frankenstein inspiration, look no further than 'Broken'.
*I received a eBook copy of this book for free to review from the author/publisher; this in no way influenced my review, all opinions are 100% honest and my own.*
By Pretty Little Reader 12 Feb 2013
Marketed as a retelling of Frankenstein, I expected a lot more of that kind of tale - the science behind the doctor's crazed experiments, his creation's loneliness over being such a mix-matched creature, the ultimate betrayal and then battle between creator and creation. Broken's constant use of the words Shelley and Franks was not enough to bring such a concept to life, and I found myself mostly uncomfortable with Rought's treatment of the classic tale.
Initially, I was really intrigued by Broken's protagonist, Emma. Desolate and heartbroken over the untimely demise of her first boyfriend, Daniel, she spends most of her time lamenting over her loss. Upon meeting Alex, she finds a dark and tortured companion, someone who understands her kind of pain.
"When I close my eyes, I have the feeling I've known Alex for years. Then I see him, his scars and the brief flashes of raw honesty and horrid secrets and I think I don't know him at all.
And I can't stay away.
Those moments of open ache from him caught my heart, promised it a wounded companion."
"I'm wearing the shirt of a boy I barely know, and he ripped it off exposing more than his scars. In some way, I'm wearing his hurt and hiding in his shadows."
With time, I found myself growing wary with Alex's strange similarities to Daniel, and Emma's seemingly reluctance to question it because there wasn't enough time between Daniel's death and the introduction of Alex, the person who was somehow connected to him. But beyond that, it was uncomfortable to watch her sort through her emotions because she wasn't sure which feelings were even appropriate for her to feel. With Daniel having passed only a few months earlier, she recognized that Alex's similarities to Daniel might be the reason behind her immediate attraction and that he could just be a rebound, born out of pain and an aching loneliness. But anytime thoughts of Daniel surfaced, she squashed them and focused on the current of energy she felt whenever she was near Alex.
Alex was never the enigma that I think Rought had hoped he would be. I think, had I not read the blurb describing this as a Frankenstein retelling, I might have thought that Emma was merely projecting Daniel onto Alex because of how much she missed him. **SPOILER STARTS**But knowing the direction Broken was headed, the surprise at learning that he was created using bits of Daniel was lost. It also made it quite clear who was helping Dr. Franks in his morbid experiments, **SPOILER ENDS** and that there was more to Daniel's death than meets the eye.
At first, the mystery surrounding Daniel's death was exciting and compelling. Allusions to a fall kept me in suspense, as I pieced together the details surrounding his death. I also kept waiting to hear about the "string of suspicious deaths" mentioned in the blurb, and was disappointed that they were never mentioned in relation to Daniel's passing. I kept waiting to make the connection between Daniel's accident, and the death of some boys I only knew had died because of the summary, and was disappointed when Rought had to tell me their connection because she failed to show it through cleverly interwoven subplots.
I think the biggest disappointment with Broken was how slowly the "surprise" ending was revealed. We are forced through chapters and chapters of angsty high school drama, everyday mundane tasks (like what type of breakfast-to-go sandwich her mom made her everyday for the week; not joking, that happened) and way too many references to Emma's blonde hair and pink cell phone.
"My cell phone buzzes, sounding like bees and chicken bones as it rattles against the pencils in the front pocket of my backpack."
"The notification tones set the pink bit of electronics staggering like a mugging victim across my desk."
"The factory setting ringtone on my phone wakes me in the middle of the night."
I didn't start writing down examples until halfway through, and even then I edited out a bunch because there were JUST TOO MANY. It made me reach a point of nonchalance, so by the time the action did make an appearance, I just didn't care anymore.
It wasn't all bad in Broken I found myself jotting down a lot of lines, because the prose was so pretty I wanted to get a second look at it later. And even though I knew how everything was (mostly) going to end, because Broken is a retelling, I was still compelled to finish it. I just wish that the execution had been handled as well as the concept.
By Sarah Elizabeth 12 Jan 2013
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Angry Robot and Netgalley.)
Emma is heartbroken after the recent death of her boyfriend Daniel. In fact she still makes a point of hanging around the cemetery where they used to always meet while they were dating.
A new boy at school - Alex Franks, seems to be drawn to her though, and as they spend more time together, their relationship develops, and Emma begins to feel that she might love again.
At times though Alex is suspiciously like Daniel. He instantly knows how to open her sticky locker door, her cat likes him (and he likes nobody), and he even takes her to the cemetery where Emma and Daniel used to hang out.
Why is Alex so strangely like Daniel? How does he know things that only Daniel would know? And where does Emma and Alex's relationship go from here?
This book was a little odd. In the beginning it was a little weird, and I was thinking '3 stars', then the romance kicked in, and I was thinking 'okay, 4 stars', then the stuff about Daniel's death was revealed, and I was thinking, 'maybe 3.5 stars?'. Then I got to the ending and I'm just not sure! The ending was pretty good, in fact the ending was one of the better parts of the book, but it still lacked something for me.
This book was just so up and down for me. I found it mildly creepy at the start, and it got a little creepier really late on when Emma realised the similarities between Alex and Daniel, but it didn't get really creepy until the 80% mark when Emma goes to Alex's house for the first time, which was a long time to wait for the creepiness to kick in. Plus, this creepiness was almost a side-line to the real storyline which was a bit disappointing.
I also didn't get Alex's father's reaction to Emma when he met her. Why Alex's surgeon father would feel the need to injure a teenage girl who mentioned his son's name is just beyond me, and just made the father look a bit psycho (maybe this was the intention?). But even so, his reaction to Emma was a little odd, and I didn't really get it, how injuring her further was going to accomplish anything I don't know.
What I disliked most about this book was the circumstances surrounding Daniel's death. Very little is said about Daniel's death other than some vague hints that he 'fell'. When more details are revealed, the incident is still as clear as mud, which bothered me as that is one of the main storylines of the book! I was really intrigued as to what the hell happened to Daniel - it seemed like a pretty valid interest to be honest, but when the actual story came it was just so blah and badly explained it really annoyed me.
There also wasn't much explanation of Alex's 'accident' that led him to be unwell at around the time that Daniel died. This lack of detail was just really annoying! Even now I've finished the book I still don't really know what was wrong with Alex! This does not make me happy.
I have to say that I didn't fully appreciate how much of a weirdo Alex's father was, and how strongly intertwined Alex and Daniel were. These slight twists at the end did surprise me, which redeemed the book slightly, but still I found that I wasn't 100% happy with the ending, and still had unanswered questions buzzing around my brain.
Another little irritation is the blurb - why tell you that this is a retelling of Frankenstein? It's not obvious from the book until you're like ¾ of the way through; that is unless you've read the blurb! If you've read the blurb, you're thinking - 'well who is the monster? Hmm, could it be the new boyfriend who is strangely like the old boyfriend?' Serious spoiler in the blurb if you ask me!
What I did like was the romance between Alex and Emma, even though there was a kind of instant attraction between them. I liked the little looks and touches between them before Alex admits his real feelings, although Alex's initial hints that he likes her are a bit odd - he tells her that his heart doesn't belong to him; it beats for someone else. Slightly weird way of telling someone you like them if you ask me! But the romance was definitely the highlight of the book for me, without the romance I'm not sure I'd have made it all the way through.
Overall; a strange retelling of Frankenstein. It didn't quite do it for me, but was slightly redeemed by the romance aspect.
6.5 out of 10.
"Using every tool from characterization to ambient light and noise, Rought has created a fully rounded depiction of the aching void of teen grief and the renewal of hope discovered when romance is both new ... and familiarly true." -Serena Chase, USA Today "Happy Ever After" (http: //www.usatoday.com/story/happyeverafter/2013/01/21/ya-romance-recs-splintered-broken-the-fairest-beauty/1852605/) "A true Gothic romance, deliciously written in a modern setting. Death, kissing, and a smoking hot mystery boy: what more could you ask for?" - Amy Plum, author of the bestselling "Die For Me" and "Until I Die" "Broken is a devastatingly haunting love story where nothing is as it seems - and your heart is not your own." - Michelle Zink, author of the "Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy" and "A Temptation of Angels" "Darkly romantic, "Broken" is an intense, beautiful, and intricate story of love that knows no bounds. Even death can't stop it." - J.A. Souders, author of "Renegade" (Fall 2012 from Tor Teen) "Brilliantly dark, creepy and atmospheric, "Broken" is a love story that will hold you captivated until the stunning conclusion." - Justina Ireland, author of "Vengeance Bound" ""Broken" contains all the mystery and romance I love in a YA novel. A delicious and haunting read." - Elana Johnson, author of "Possession" "Hauntingly beautiful, achingly romantic, and edge-of-your-seat scary, "Broken" will keep you up way past your bedtime. I loved this book!" - Trinity Faegen, author of "The Mephisto Covenant" series "Broken is a paranormal YA book which is gorgeously haunting and unabashedly romantic." -Reader Girls