Mundie Moms

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Book Review: Broken by A.E. Rought

By: A.E. Rought
Published by: Strange Chemistry
Released on: January 8th, 2013
Source: arc from author to review, donated to middle school library
2.5 stars: I'm torn on it being an okay/good read
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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 - quoted from Goodreads

I am a huge fan of classic story retellings. I love the spin that some authors are able to inject into an already great story, and how they're able to give the story a modern day feel. BROKEN was one of those books I was looking forward to reading. When the name Mary Shelley gets thrown around, and Frankenstein, and mentions of love, I'm all in. Going into this book I had high hopes and expectations that this re-telling would do Mary's classic story justice. Rarely don't I compare other books, but the only other retelling I've found true to Mary's story is Kenneth Oppel's The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, which I loved. Retellings to me are tricky. Not only does the author need to find that middle ground where they stay some what true to the feel of the classic story, but they also need to find that unique voice that makes the story it's own. I feel Broken would have fared for me personally if it had not mentioned Mary Shelly's Frankenstein.

I at first felt for the story's main character Emma. The story starts off with her still mourning the death of her boyfriend Daniel, but soon after she meets Alex there was something I got annoyed with, with her. I don't know exactly what it was that made me feel this way. Emotionally she was all over the place, which given what she's gone through was understandable, but it also made it hard for me to connect with her. I felt Emma was a smart girl, and I desperately wanted her to trust that little voice in her head that kept warning her that something wasn't right, and I grew frustrated when she didn't. She also does a few things through out the book that I felt didn't quite fit her character wise. Try as hard I might, I just couldn't connect with her nor did I really feel like I got her character wise, but at the same time I couldn't stop reading her story. I know, that probably doesn't make sense.

Part of that has to do with the way A.E. writes. I like her descriptiveness, and the mood she gives her story. The other part of my not being able to stop reading Broken has to do with Alex. Yes, I at first fell for that dark, brooding guy who hides inside his hoody all the time. I wanted to know what he was hiding. Sure all the characters think he's hot, and I got the attraction he and Emma had together, but there was something between the two of them that was undeniable and in some weird ways fit together between them. It also didn't take me long to figure out who he really was. I'm not sure if that ruined some of the excitement over the storyline or if it made me more intrigued with the direction the story was going in. 

I went back and forth on liking this story and wanting to love it for much of the duration I spent reading it. But once I got to the last 50 or so pages I enjoyed it much more. If that had been the case earlier on in the book I would have liked it a lot more. Yes it gets darker, a bit violent, but it also reveals the story's "true love" plot that lies just beneath the surface of much of the story's romance. It's also during the last few pages I felt it most like a modern day, lighter retelling of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein. Broken for me is a book that has this exciting concept that made me want to read it, but it lost me along the way with the execution of the over all storyline. I needed more depth and that darker, enticing feeling that came towards the end of the book, much earlier on in the story. Don't get me wrong, this is a good/okay read, but for me personally I needed more from the story than what I got, to really enjoy the book like I wanted to. I think some of that has to do with what I except to find in YA books. 

Though A.E.'s story telling is engaging, it has this exciting, predictable storyline that I feel tween and early YA readers will enjoy more than a older YA readers. This is a book I would have personally enjoyed as a middle grade reader, and it reminded me of some of the books I read then (back in the late 80's and early 90's) with the way the story plays out.  Despite my not loving the book like I had hoped, I think there are readers out there who will enjoy this book more than I unfortunately did. 


  1. Wow, you put what I thought about the book in a better review then I did! honestly I just didn't take the time. I wanted to like this so much, but I couldn't get past all the teen age drama!!!

    1. Oh wow! Are you serious? You've made me feel much better. I hate it when I take the time to read a book and don't end up liking it how I wanted to. This book felt much too much like a tween read vs a YA one, and think had it been marketed for a younger age group it would have been one I would have liked a bit more.