Author: A.E. Rought
Publication Date: January 8th, 2013
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Rating: 2 Stars
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.Alex FRANKS goes to SHELLEY High. Oh my, could this possibly be a FRANKENSTEIN retelling? Except now the monster has become a hot seventeen year old boy?!?!?
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.
This would've been a great book if it hadn't been so reminiscent of Twilight horrified. Rought had a lot of things going for her. She had a strong main character, a successfully enigmatic male lead, and a plot that any classic/YA lover would be drawn to. I love retellings, and this is the first retelling of Frankenstein that I've seen. In the first couple pages, I rushed through this book. It was exciting, exhilarating, and I wanted to know more about Daniel and Alex and Em. Even though the GR blurb pretty much ruined the big secret for me, I still wanted to get to the bottom of everything and understand it completely. Also, Rought's writing style? Gorgeous. Sometimes it seems to go into the realm of too dramatic, but most of the time, it contributed just the right amount of haunting beauty and really added to the dark tone that existed throughout the book.
There didn't seem to be much going wrong in the first, oh, 100 pages. And I thought this book would be great, but as is the case with my crappy badness-radar, I turned out to be wrong.
Alex Franks was great for five pages. Then his whole mysterious, hood-over-face thing got old fast. It's been done so many times before, and besides his apparent good looks (in which case, why would he need the hood? And if the hood was to hide himself and people had already seen his face, what was the point?), there wasn't really much else he had going for him. I know, I know, he's related to Em's old boyfriend, but despite that, I still felt like she was cheating on Daniel. And this sort of bothered me. Also, what was the deal with Josh? He seemed like such a comical mustache-twirling villain that I couldn't take him seriously. On top of all that, he was a ginger. Figures.
The beginning and end were pretty interesting. There's some action and guts in the last couple pages. But the middle is just mind-numbing backwards and forwards lovin' between Em and Alex, with a couple memories of Daniel scattered in to make her feel guilty. I was never sold on the love. Isn't Rought essentially showing that Em only loves Alex because Daniel's in him? That's messed up, man. What guy wants to be loved because he reminds his girlfriend of her old boyfriend? No one, unless he couldn't get a girl any other way. And given Alex's supposed good looks, I think he'd be able to get someone.
Em is a badass in the first couple pages when she punches people and throws insults, but she softens too much. Sadly, she follows the trend and starts crying a lot. Not that she doesn't have reason to, but sometimes the tears were just unnecessary. I appreciated Rought's integration of Em's mom and dad instead of making her some poor orphan, but I think she really could've done a better job with her characters. None of them really made sense to me.
I recommend giving this book a try, even if it does get redundant in the middle. The end is pretty cliche, but you should just stick with it for the writing style. I think that was my favorite part.
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