Series: Broken #1
Published by Strange Chemistry on 2013 January 8
Buy on Amazon
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.
Please remind me again why I allowed myself to be tortured by this book. Right. Because I was STUPID. I actually didn’t know that this book existed until after I got a notification from Netgalley that Strange Chemistry has approved my request for Tainted. As I was searching GR to download Tainted’s book cover for my Stacking the Shelves post, it came to my attention that Tainted is already the second book of the Broken series. Because Stupid me believes that ARCs are not free and they’re meant to be reviewed and it was my fault for not checking things out, I purchased Broken.
At first, I was really happy. Like hey, I am going to read a Frankenstein retelling. I am scared out of my wits right now. You know, I am not really good at handling scary books because I tend to scare myself even if the story has already ended. But this book really surprised me.
By the name of the Big Bang Theory, Broken was anything but a Frankenstein retelling. It’s a gross romance story in the guise of a Frankenstein rendition to attract readers. Here’s the thing about Broken: It’s a story about Emma Gentry, a girl who is endlessly pining for her boyfriend, Daniel Hughes, who died recently because of a fall incident. She wasn’t suicidal though and continues to go to school. However, one day, a new student by the name of Alex Franks arrived at Shelley High. His presence evoked a lot of emotions in Emma including that nagging feeling that she somehow knew him even if they’ve just met.
But please, before you succumbed to the intriguing synopsis of this book, be warned. Broken will slap you in the face. And only my iron will made me read this book to the end. It was a traumatic experience because no character made the slightest effort to hold my hand while Broken tortured me in ways unimaginable. How can Emma, our heroine, help me when she’s busy grieving for her dead boyfriend, cussing at Josh and thinking about Alex Franks? And when she’s not doing any of these things, she goes to the cemetery every afternoon or go to bed wearing her dead boyfriend’s red hoodie. Nice.
I couldn’t also depend on Alex because his time is fully booked, what with opening Emma’s locker or choosing the next hoodie that he’s going to wear for the next school day or stalking her, he barely has time for anything. But what really made him stand out as a character is the fact that he brought Emma to his grandparents’ house and made her wear her dead mom’s clothes. Good lord. Gross and incorrigible.
There were only two characters who managed to arouse my interest; the villains, Josh and Dr. Franks. But the author failed to show their full potential as villains. This book is made up of 346 pages without taking the time to fully develop the leads and the villains. A lot of potential gone to waste.
As if the characters were not torture enough, Broken’s plot lingered like an incurable plague. Until about page 280ish, it was just all about the romance. The suspense, the action, the mystery and the chilling moments were buried six feet under so that romance can prevail. Hep hep horray. After page 280ish, the plot finally rose from the grave and took immediate action. But by that time, it was too late. Verdict has already been drawn.
Not even A.E Rought’s beautiful prose can save Broken from plummeting to its ugly death. Not even Dr. Franks’ brilliant mind could fix this broken broken story. I hope no one’s crazy enough to make an attempt in fixing this book. If anything, it would do everyone a favour if someone killed it and throw its tattered pages to the void.