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Monday, April 15, 2013

Book Review: Broken by A. E. Rought

2013 Debut Author
A.E. Rought
Reading Level: Young Adult
Publication: January 2013 from Strange Chemistry
Pages: 346
Format: ARC
Acquisition: received from the publisher for review

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.
(from Goodreads)

My Thoughts
The relationship between Emma and Alex is so much more then insta love. Unfortunately more didn't really work for me as even before I fully understood their connection I was totally turned off by their interactions. Since the entire book is a play by play of everything Emma does or thinks and she does almost nothing but obsess over Alex there was very little left for me enjoy.

The strange paranormal / sci-fi elements to the story would have been better suited to a thriller. In my opinion these elements just did not work in this quasi romantic teen angst filled story. Once I fully understood what was going on I wasn't shocked or surprised. I honestly thought it was all pretty gross when set against the backdrop of Emma's heartache and Alex's ridiculous perfect hotness.

I was really waiting for some type of twist to the story. Alex is possessive and controlling and not a boy any girl should ever be attracted to. Emma's mother was ridiculous, so very many practical things just didn't add up and the ending wasn't a surprise at all.

While Broken is a book I do think others would enjoy it isn't one I would easily recommend. For me, The unhealthily relationship between Emma and Alex combined with the implausible details of the story overshadowed the potential cool factor of the paranormal elements.

I know Broken is a retelling of sorts of Dr. Frankenstein  but for me at least, the mad scientists / monster in the basement pared with modern day teen love didn't sit well. I was looking for more of a thrill and the 'romance' was too over the top for my liking, however, you might feel differently!

2.5 / 5 Stars


  1. It also doesn't help that A.E. Rought is the author who infamously wrote that female protagonists were "an overused YA trope" on the Strange Horizons Blog.

    Maybe they only seem overused to her because she seems to think they all have to be passive, weepy love interests to moody, semi-abusive boys.

  2. I had similar problems with this one. I think the idea could have worked but the way it was delivered here made it...unattractive.


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