Book Review: Broken by A.E. Rought

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Broken by A.E. Rought
(Started: September 21, 2013; Finished: September 23, 2013)

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)
Review: 3 stars
Publication Date: January 08, 2013
Source: Strange Chemistry & the Author
Shelf: Goodreads, Shelfari
Available on: Amazon
I've read a few new fairy tale adaptations before but never have tried a classic novel inspired one. Thanks to the author, A.E. Rought and Strange Chemistry, I was able to join the bandwagon and the blog tour (my stop is up for tomorrow so watch out for it). I have seen a few cartoons about Frankenstein but never the movie and worse, I have never read the book...yet. I know you might be looking at me right now with disbelief but don't worry, it's part of my classics reading list. Well, this had drawn me to the story. I think it was an awesome idea to write a book inspired by the classic novel and I was so excited to see the modern world with hints of Mary Shelley's book unravel in front of my eyes, the twists I will encounter and of course, the new characters I will meet. It will definitely be a plus if it was creepy, too.

My verdict: the plot was intriguing, I have to give it that. The concept has so much potential that can lead to different directions. The excitement was, no doubt, present in the story that was both delivered by the element of romance and the conflicts of the main characters. It also have a gothic and spooky factor which was evident on the author's writing style. A.E. Rought got ample supply of frightfest to share--from graveyards to very distinct and twisted nightmares, to violent and gorey scenes that were enough to make me cringe and experience goosebumps.

On the other hand, it was also a book I badly wanted to finish and at the same time, it left me a bit dismayed. First, it was because the story was predictable even if I hate to admit it. Since most of the time I don't read book blurbs or descriptions, I proceed to read the book without any expectations and just pure innocent excitement of reading a new book. As soon as I read its first few chapters, sadly, I knew what was coming and predicted the whole thing which was a feeling I was trying so much to ignore as a reader. I felt that I've been doing that every time I read but I can't help it. I think it failed to hold the mystery vibe it was aiming for. It felt like some of the characters especially Alex was created with an enigmatic presence but he was also very transparent and easy to read which was ironic. The irony was a double-edged sword. It has the tendency to make or break the story and both was apparent. I will further discuss the characters later on the next paragraph. Second, was the non-stop repetition of Emma's daily routine and characterizations, and the slightly dragging part of the book. On the former, it was too rampant not to ignore. It was a vicious cycle, torturing my need as a reader to already figure out if I was right with the twists (which I was since I've seen a local film with a similar plot so I was familiar with the concept). I wish the minor details on Emma's high school life was left out and not used as fillers because it led to the latter reason I mentioned. It was dragging and tiring. It could have bored me if I wasn't so eager to know how Daniel died and why he was not buried in the cemetery. I would have refuse to know some of the silly information about Emma's life if I was given the chance. It was too much. Moreover, I can't help but also noticed how some of the character descriptions were mentioned almost every single time. I already know that Emma's blonde (let's get over it). To sum it up, I felt that two-thirds of the book were dominated by unnecessary fillers, aside from angst and romance. The engaging parts would be found less than a hundred pages towards the end which I felt was not enough to build the ante and finish stronger. Speaking of which, I think the ending was a good cliffhanger, enough to make it a stand alone novel.

With the characters, I was clearly attracted to Alex's character (hello fictional boyfriend). He sounds like a tough guy but in reality, he was a broken doll you would want to fix. He was swoon-worthy all right. But I have to say that I am not a fan of his cheesy lines and antics. Not blush-worthy at all. But good thing you are good-looking, boy! That can make up for that! Oh, and let's not forget about his efforts and gestures. He was really an interesting character, no wonder Emma was curious. With Emma, I think she has so much angst and so emotional. There were times when I want to hit her and make her stop whining. She was impulsive and never thinks before she acts. That's why I pity her broken hand. What turned me off with her was the cussing and when she was bad-mouthing her mother. It was so disrespectful. Though I also have to point out her mother called her a bitch (you can't blip writing) which was also so wrong. Anyway, I wish Emma didn't fall for Alex immediately. I wish she held it together as long as she can, as respect to Daniel. It would've been sweeter afterwards. She made it so easy when it could have been more romantic if there was a challenge. In connection to this, I am not totally against insta-love as long as it was executed well and really makes your heart stop (not literally though). But with this book, I told myself that I loved to love the romance but I can't fully grasp it for some reason. I wasn't able to feel it and connect to the story. I even asked my friend if it was weird to feel that way. Maybe if there was some rivalry, it could have brought so much more thrill. But Josh Mason wasn't able to cut it. I wish he was the villain we would have a love-hate relationship with. The story could have used a healthy competition and exciting foul plays, if necessary. I also appreciate and liked Bree. She reminds me of a character named Mona in one of my favorite TV series, Pretty Little Liars.

Overall, Broken was a promising story that is rough around the edges but can be definitely improved. It has just the right amount of entertaining qualities, sufficient to make you finish the book in no time. It is a timely read for October or for the Halloween season.

Your thoughts?

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Happy Reading Everyone!

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