Book Review: Broken

Published By:  Strange Chemistry
Publication Date: January 8, 2013
Page Count:  384
Source:  Arc Kindly Provided by Publisher via Netgalley
  Audience:  Mature Young Adult - Fantasy

Broken by A.E. Rought was quite possibly one of the most 'different' books I've ever read...but by the same token, I was utterly pulled in to the story regardless.  Ms. Rought took Mary Shelley's classic Frankenstein and added a young adult spin to it with all kinds of dark, gothic and romantic twists woven in.  I have to confess that I've never read Mary Shelley's original works myself but I've seen enough adaptations to have a general idea of how the story goes and I think that what this author brought to the table was a lot of modern-day creativity to the classic story. 

Despite how engaged I was with this 'retelling', I thought it was going to be entirely predictable.  But as it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised by the twists and turns the story took...and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. 

A few months ago, 17 year old Emma lost her boyfriend Daniel in a tragic accident and she hasn't been able to let him go ever since.  Haunting the town's cemetary almost every night, she desperately wishes for a grave (Daniel's) that will never be that she can mourn beside.   The creepy cemetery was 'their' place so it wasn't surprising that she was drawn to it.  Since Daniel's death, Emma's had vivid memories and visions of him that still left her tied to her true love.   Enter the new boy to SHELLEY High...Alex FRANKS (you got the tie-ins, right?!)...who we would expect to be able to take Emma's mind off of her lost love by his good looks, chivalry and honest charm...but there were some really strange similarities that Alex shared with the very dead Daniel that made it difficult for Emma to move on.

The main character, Emma Gentry, was a interesting protagonist.  I would describe her as a little 'emo' but with good reason.   Emma was confident and knew herself.  Her inner dialogue was laced with horrific images and violent points of view on how she saw the world around her.  I think the author did strive to create a mood with this tone that didn't necessarily mean that Emma was really a violent person...but the descriptive imagery really lent itself to the gothic feel.  I have to give some examples:

"The sky choose now to open and hemorrage water like a slit vein."

"The empty bike rack stands like a frenched rib cage, a suspicious puddle beneath reflecting back the sunset's bloody hues."

"The image of his scar slashes through my mind, cutting open veins of questions."

Creepy, huh?!  It was a little over-the-top but not to the point of being too overdone. 

Moving right along to Alex.  In a word...he was yummy!  Emma would describe Alex as beautiful despite his many scars that she later discovered the secrets of.  She wondered exactly what he saw in her...quite every time he approached, he looked at her like she was the greatest gift he had ever been given.  He was all kinds of awesomeness...charming, attentive, protective and wonderfully romantic.  

The other characters were well developed...some I loved, some I H.A.T.E.D. and some I just understood. 

Although, I do have to say that I found the writing wasn't flawless though.  I felt there were things in the characters as I came to know them that I expected them to do or not to do, and some ideas were stretched nearly to their limits.  The writing was sometimes a bit choppy...where the author and I parted in different directions.  But I can't ignore the fact that I also couldn't put this story down despite some inconsistencies.  The 'mood' of the book was very affective being equal parts kitschy and appropriately melodramatic with some intense scenes that were also a bit violent and creepy. 

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book in advance!  Overall, I quite enjoyed it!


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.


  1. This sounds really good. I like re-tellings even though I haven't read Frankenstein, I think I'd enjoy this. Nice of you to include some quote example of the creepiness of the story. Sounds like a great read for Halloween. Nicely reviewed without spoilers.

    1. Thanks so much Gina! This would be an awesome story to read right about now...I hope you enjoy it!

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I didn't love this one. There was too much lovestory and not enough action until the end.

    But I love reading reviews that feel different than me.

    1. Hey Megan, Broken was a very different story as I mentioned...and might not appeal to the masses. I did enjoy the love-story that is perhaps why I liked it a bit more. Thanks for stopping by and for your input! I like to hear what others think too! :)

  3. Seems a very interesting book to me. Great review! Congratulations. Took a quick look to older posts, and I really like the blog.
    I'm now a follower, and I'm going to become a follower on Twitter too ;)
    Going to post a link to this blog on mine!
    LadyBug @ Coffee Break

    1. Thank you so much Ladybug! And thanks also for your support of our blog! I will check out yours as well! Take care!


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