Check out what I thought about THIS MONSTROUS THING, a YA re-imagining of Frankenstein, by debut novelist Mackenzi Lee!
If you’re in Boston, head to the launch event in Cambridge next Friday 9/25!
In 1818 Geneva, men built with clockwork parts live hidden away from society, cared for only by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Two years ago, Shadow Boy Alasdair Finch’s life shattered to bits.
His brother, Oliver—dead.
His sweetheart, Mary—gone.
His chance to break free of Geneva—lost.
Heart-broken and desperate, Alasdair does the unthinkable: He brings Oliver back from the dead.
But putting back together a broken life is more difficult than mending bones and adding clockwork pieces. Oliver returns more monster than man, and Alasdair’s horror further damages the already troubled relationship.
Then comes the publication of Frankenstein and the city intensifies its search for Shadow Boys, aiming to discover the real life doctor and his monster. Alasdair finds refuge with his idol, the brilliant Dr. Geisler, who may offer him a way to escape the dangerous present and his guilt-ridden past, but at a horrible price only Oliver can pay…
Thanks to Brittany for giving me her ARC! She thought it would be too scary for her and I was more than happy to take if off her hands.
(I’m a massive wimp and have never even seen a scary movie and there was only one scene that made me squeamish and it involves body parts and a workshop–so don’t worry!)
A list of all the awesome, for reasons:
*Mary Shelley. I loved morally ambiguous Mary Shelley who you think know, but then realize you don’t, and that you probably never will because she’s a person and people are unknowable in their own ways.
*Prettypretty writing. It made me feel everything I was supposed to. “Ow, brother” feels. “Ewwww that’s so gross, I might be sick” feels. “Badass lady” feels. “Shady dude” feels. “This place is so pretty, when can I visit” feels.
*The Author’s Note at the end. Reading Mackenzi’s thoughts about the story and what she was trying to say really helped put This Monstrous Thing into perspective for me and reminds me why I’m happy to be an English student.
So in conclusion, this book is pretty darn fabulous. It has great world building, writing that will hurt you, and is a really cool re-imagining of a classic with a twist. I wanted a tad more resolution between Alasdair and Oliver at the end, but that might just be because I loved Oliver with all my heart and wanted to give him the world’s biggest hug.
If you’ve bee following my reviews you might have noticed this has been a hard feature for me. Again, This Monstrous Thing did NOT make it easy to pick a favorite. There’s one I really love about saying things at the wrong time, but I think it is too spoiler-y so I shall save that gem for you. And there are lots of good ones about Alasdair’s feels towards resurrecting his brother but I don’t want to spoil those, either. [Disclaimer: These all could change as they’re from the ARC.]
–Are you good, whispered that horrid voice inside me, or are you clever?
-‘Is it shallow to say I miss living well?’ ‘I don’t think it’s shallow. I think it’s human.’
-‘It’s never just ‘I hit him’ or ‘he hit me’ or he was right and I was wrong. Everything’s always got sides and angles and all sorts of bits you can’t see. Nothing’s ever the way it looks straight on.’
-‘You liked Coleridge.’
‘What does he write?’
He elbowed me sharply with his mechanical arm, and I yelped. It hurt more than I hoped he meant it to. ‘What sort of things, you ninny?’