Publication Date: January 8, 2013
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Pages/Format: 384; Paperback, ebook
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.Broken opens sharp and effective as A.E. Rought paints the picture of broken-hearted Emma Gentry. Emma's down-to-earth and realistic presence will immediately disarm and endear readers to her story. The language, seeping with dark undertone, hits the right level of chilling without bordering too near gloomy. Foreshadowing mystery, Rought introduces the enigmatic Alex Franks. The new student at Shelley High with eyes and mannerisms familiar to Emma's recently deceased boyfriend, Daniel, sets off a chain of events that spiral down to an emotionally thrilling conclusion.
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.
Emma remains lost in the grief of losing the love of her life, but she doesn't drag readers down with sad reminisces or self-pity. The memory of Daniel is part of her recurring nightmares and a sweet indulgence to get her through the days. Emma's story is captivating because of her will to move on after life takes an unexpected turn, even when it throws creepy, evil doctors and jealous schoolmates in the mix. When Alex walks in and takes her heart on an electrified ride, the story escalates and reveals a side of Emma that had perhaps been buried deep within. I tend to favor plots that are steep with action, action and more action, but when the romance is as deep and tangible as Emma and Alex's I am more than okay with the suspenseful buildup of mystery and danger that Broken provides.
This is the kind of story that you never want to end, because when it does you have no choice but to be thrust out of the world the author so lovingly created. Rought not only makes one feel for the characters, but she details the world that surrounds them so that the reader fully experiences it. Emma's school and home lives are so vivid and relatable that the twist of the story becomes more shocking when woven into the plot. Like when after a few scenes of Emma hanging out with her best friend Bree, drinking caramel breve or hitting the mall, she runs into Alex and feels the waves of uncanny electricity that runs through her with one touch. The Gothic romance (which isn't a usual genre for me) and the science-fiction elements are so well mixed with the modern setting that whatever is next in this series will be a sure thing!
*I received an ARC from publisher in exchange for an honest review*
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