Didn’t Like It
“Broken is a book that held a lot of promise for me, especially since it’s a modern day retelling of one of my favorite novels (Frankenstein). Frankenstein is a dark novel and it has so much emotion packed into it, there are brief moments of hope and love…but it’s overall rather sad,horrific and a...”see full review » see other reviews »
“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.”
“My Opinion: Emma Gentry is living in a hazy world of pain since losing her boyfriend Daniel in an accidental fall when she meets the new boy at school, Alex Franks, and feels an undeniable pull and connection that she can't fight, and doesn't understand. Unfortunately, since we already know this is a very loosely based retelling of Frankenstein, it's way too easy to figure out why Alex and Emma are drawn to each other. Let me preface this by saying that I love retellings, which is why I was looking forward to reading Broken, but I wish there had been more surprises and twists than there were.
I also had a problem with the length of the book, since it seems like it could have been pared down by at least half without losing any of the important parts. The writing was very descriptive, which isn't a bad thing in and of itself, but when it seems like the same descriptions are used over and over and over, it becomes very monotonous and I, for one, found myself skimming the paragraphs while reading because I was losing patience, which rarely happens to me. I didn't want to give up on the book, but I felt like if I had to read one more time about Emma standing in line for coffee, or arguing with her mother, I was going to scream! Descriptive writing isn't a bad thing, but only when the descriptions vary throughout the course of the book. In this case it seemed like the same phrases were used repeatedly and that got tiring very fast.
I don't want to sound like I didn't like the writing because I did - at first - I just think a lot of it could have been cut out without affecting the story, and maybe even improving the story by making it easier to read.
The ending didn't come as a surprise (again, this is a retelling so we kind of know where it's heading from the get go) but my problem is that this was basically the only action packed part of the story since the first 85% of the book was about the romance developing between Emma and Alex and Emma's confusion regarding this.
I have to give this book 3 stars because I think it could have done with major editing and slashing of repetitive descriptions, but the basic story was good and I think if it had been shorter I would have flown through it and really enjoyed it. ”
Author: A. E. Rough
Published By: Strange Chemistry
Age Recommended: YA
Review By: Arlena Dean
"Broken" by A. E. Rough was a different read for me...Frankenstein? I am still wondering why I picked this particular book up but after reading it I did find it rather amusing...especially after going back and looking at the plot and finding out this was a 'Modern Frankenstein'...Oh, well I usually do not like care for horror or these types of books... but I picked it up so I will give you what I think of it. I knew nothing of this story so it just unfolded as I read it. As I am reading I seem to think this novel is more for the YA reader. I believe this author does have some writing ability...sort of creepy and freaky. Now, we find Emma's boyfriend(Daniel) has died and she is in morning withdrawing from everyone. Emma is suffering from 'Survival Guilt' where she sees Daniel everywhere....then she meets Alex and they seemed to known from the first time the saw each other they had a connection. OK, what is going on between these two? This is where I say you must pick up "Broken" to see how this story will play out. Yes, I did find all of the characters and storyline somewhat interesting. As a matter of fact it was that bad story at all and it did hold my attention.
I will say if you are into this is your type of read of the 'Modern Day Frankenstein'... "Broken" would definitely be a read for you giving you a story of 'confusion, pain, anger, the yearning and love.'”
“I was really excited to come across a modern spin on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. I love retellings, and I wanted to like this one so much. Going into this with such high expectations kind of made it a little meh for me, I think, which was really unfortunate. I tried so hard to get into this and to connect with Emma, but I just... couldn't.
Don't get me wrong - I think the idea of this book was really interesting, and I absolutely loved Rought's writing; I was hooked from the first page and had a hard time putting it down when I needed to do things like...you know... sleep. But there were just so many things I couldn't connect with Emma on, and so many twists that were totally predictable. For example, knowing that there's going to be some sort of Frankenstein's monster really takes away from discovering with Emma. The whole time I kept thinking how obvious it was the Alex wasn't exactly who (or what) he should be. Maybe that was part of why I couldn't connect with Emma - I just couldn't see how it took her so long to realize Alex's secrets.
I loved Alex though, and I felt like Rought did an excellent job of humanizing (for lack of a better word) him without even delving into his perspective. It's so easy to see his confusion and his hurt and his anger and all of his feelings because the poor kid wears his heart on his sleeve. And then to put him in that awful position of "is my life really worth more than theirs?" Seriously. Poor kid.
The imagery and the whole Gothic feel of this novel were fantastic. Although it's technically set in our world, I felt like I had entered a whole new parallel universe that is much darker and more exciting. Actually, it almost feels like the whole book could be set in a giant cemetery, even though I know it isn't. I would love to read more of Rought's work, especially if she creates her own world. It just amazes me sometimes how some authors can take a world that readers are totally familiar with and make it something completely new and different. Bravo. Hats off to you.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good retelling of classic stories. Even though I was a little disappointed that there weren't many twists and turns, I still thought that this was overall an enjoyable Frankenstein retelling, and I would think that many fans of the idea of Frankenstein's monster and YA would enjoy this as well. I would give this book a 3/5.”
“Broken is a book that held a lot of promise for me, especially since it’s a modern day retelling of one of my favorite novels (Frankenstein). Frankenstein is a dark novel and it has so much emotion packed into it, there are brief moments of hope and love…but it’s overall rather sad,horrific and a tad angry. I would say that in this case Broken fits into that mold, but it doesn’t really feel like it should.
The summary is one that makes you think the story will get underway rather quickly, at least in the first 40% of the book but it doesn’t. Half of that description doesn’t happen until about 70% and the rest is all focused on Alex and his relationship with Emma. I’ll be the first to admit that Frankenstein doesn’t move swiftly in the beginning so I’d have been okay with a slow start before revving things up, but at 70% I’m almost done and I’ve already made most of my decisions on how I feel about it. I will say that the last part of the book is gripping and it does deliver on it’s grotesque horrors promise but it wasn’t enough to redeem the entire story for me.
Emma is a character that flip-flopped between being someone I liked and someone I wanted to go away, she’s filled with a sort of deep sadness due to the death of her boyfriend and it’s practically seeped its way into her being. So when she sees Alex who reminds her so much of her lost Daniel she grudgingly opens up, but at the same time she’s instantly attracted to him. It’s a case of the insta-love…and even though it had me rolling my eyes I let it slide given the circumstances. I did enjoy their relationship, though it was probably more for Alex than for Emma. He’s really sweet, though he is a bit too mysterious (what high school lets you wear a hood all the time?). The best part about him is that he is clearly damaged in some way, which is slowly revealed over the course of the book…and if I’m being completely honest he was the reason I kept reading. I wanted to know just how bad things were for him and why he reacted to somethings the way he did, and the overall conclusion was one that I felt answered all my lingering questions.
I’m definitely in the middle on this one. I really enjoyed some aspects of it and at the same time it was a let down, so in reality the rating is more of a 2.5.
I received this book through Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.”
“Oh, dear. Where to start with this one, really? As a giant fan of retellings, and having enjoyed Mary Shelley's Frankenstein quite a bit when I read it several years ago, I was really looking forward to Broken. It's not often that you come across classics retold (or, at least I personally haven't read many at all), so this promised something new and fresh. I wanted something gothic and eery, reminiscent of the original tale. And, in some ways, I suppose the book delivered: set during the Halloween season in Michigan, the descriptions of the setting were spot-on; Emma feels uneasy, she hangs about cemeteries, and there are plenty of descriptions of the lit jack-o-lanterns grinning from her neighbor's porches. I enjoyed reading about her surroundings quite a bit. Unfortunately, the rest of the book wasn't nearly as engaging or interesting, and I found myself in a serious struggle to get through it.
For me, the main problem with this book was the slow pace of the plot. For the first 50%, you are stuck reading a minute-by-minute account of Emma's school day, from her teachers' lectures, to her walking the halls, to her waiting in line and getting lunch. This goes on for several days in a row, and, frankly, got extremely tiresome and tedious. It also really slowed the book down. Once she meets Alex, she can tell something's off about him, but she's strangely drawn to him anyway (yes, there's insta-love, although it IS explained toward the end, so I'm willing to forgive it in this case). Cue lots of dirty looks and rude responses from the other girls at her school who were hoping to snag Alex for themselves, as well as a rumor mill that works like greased lightning, and you also get lots of Emma trying to ignore what they're saying while internalizing how much it irritates her. Throw in a school dance, multiple stops at a local coffee shop, and some evenings spent with either Alex or Bree (Emma's best friend) helping her with homework, and you pretty much have the synopsis for the first half of Broken.
I also want to mention that I had a really difficult time connecting with Emma. She's supposedly sad, suffering from the shocking death of her boyfriend, and she's mourning the fact that he doesn't have a grave (hence her penchant for hanging about cemeteries), but I never really felt the connection with her grief. It was simply words on a page: they had absolutely no effect on me. This made the first part of the book doubly difficult, because, not only did I not care about how she spent her school days, but I also really didn't care about how she was feeling. Mostly I was just wishing that the book would get to the point, which is not really a good combination of feelings for a reader to have.
Broken did have some good parts. While the climax was, for me, too long in coming, once things started becoming clear to Emma, I did like her roiling mass of emotions. I could easily understand being confused and uncertain of what you can do when faced with the information that comes to light. I also liked how the action picked up and things finally started happening. I just wish it would have happened sooner; I mean, knowing this is retelling Frankenstein, most older readers are going to know exactly what's going to happen, so trying to make it into some sort of mystery really isn't going to work. Maybe if I were younger - I'm thinking MG/young-YA - this would have been a completely different reading experience, but for me, personally, it just really didn't work.
While promising a modern retelling, Broken sort of falls flat. Fans of romance novels who don't mind a slower-moving plot will probably get more enjoyment out of this than those reading it because it's supposed to retell Frankenstein. For me, personally, there just weren't enough of the original elements to properly call this a "retelling" (although the question of who's really the monster is quite apropos, although not nearly as thought-provoking in this case). But of course, your mileage may vary; if you're intrigued by it at all, then give it a read. Perhaps you'll like it more than I did.”
When this book is described as a modern day Frankenstein they weren't kidding. I am so glad that Strange Chemistry sent me this book because I honestly enjoyed every minute. I stayed up all night finishing this book, biting my nails, just thinking of everything that could happen.
The character of Emma made me upset. Mostly because I felt like she was too young to feel the way she did about her dead boyfriend Daniel and then on top of that she just cried a lot and mourned. I understand the mourning portion, but she was a little too focused on her pain and I'm just glad that she realized this eventually.
Also, another problem that I had is how fast she went from loving Daniel to loving Alex. While there were four months in there, and she was still mourning to Daniel.
But aside from these two points, I did enjoy the book. Rought brought a wonderful story to life that somehow mixed creepy and romance together into one.
Bree was my favorite character. She was so patient and took everything into stride with whatever was going on with Emma. And Josh - can I just say that there could not have been a better antagonist.
Overall this story was really great. And I'm surprised that I'm even writing this review since reading it I felt like like I didn't know what to say. Honestly, I was at such a loss of my general feelings towards this novel, but writing it now I think I see why it was great.
The pace wasn't too slow, the characters developed nicely, and I almost wish there was a sequel to this story. For awhile I thought there was since everything cuts so close to the end, but Rought wrapped it up nicely! ”
“Three and a half stars: A book with wonderful writing that borrows on the famed tale of Frankenstein.
Emma hurries through the dark splashes of shadow stretching across the sidewalk. It is nearly dusk on a crisp October evening. The leering jack o' lanterns on the porches, a reminder of the season, watch her every move as she rushes home after spending the afternoon in the graveyard. It has been four months since her boyfriend, Daniel, accidentally died. Her heart still hurts from missing him, her hand aches to hold his....The next day, she meets Alex, a new boy, and she is unexpectedly drawn to him. Is it because something about his eyes remind her of Daniel or the inexplicable electricity that tingles between them? Alex is quiet and mysterious but kind and nice, and she feels she knows him. He is an enigma. Emma slowly, with Alex's help, puts her feet back onto the path of living, but a terrible secret threatens to destroy everything.......
What I Liked:
*First and foremost, what I loved the most about this book was the writing. Ms. Rought's debut book shows she is an immensely talented author. I absolutely loved her unique way with words and her well defined descriptions. She utilizes smell and touch and sight and blends them into powerful passages that were astounding. I am always a fan of books with creative writing, and this one is a gem. There are books that use basic writing to tell a tale, and then there are books that enthrall you with mesmerizing words and stunning details. This book excelled on the writing aspect, so much so, that I felt like the writing itself was a character all on its own. Time and time again, I was enchanted by the details. For me, it was like watching a movie with awe inspiring cinematography, where the shots of the background are so interesting that they play a pivotal role in the movie. The background details and descriptions are so vivid that they overshadow some of the other aspects.
*I liked that this book borrowed on ideas of Frankenstein, but for the most part it is an original story. It made it a bit more unpredictable.
*I enjoyed Emma's character. She is a young lady reeling from the accidental death of her boyfriend. Her pain is gut wrenching and the reader really feels for her. I liked that Alex slowly teaches her to live again. There are so many emotions in this one and I think Ms. Rought does a great job of capturing them all and conveying them to the reader.
*I have hit a bit of a lucky spell as of late, as I have read several book in a row that are stand alones. That means no horrific cliffhangers, and can I just say, I love reading a book that has a definite conclusion. If you are like me: tired of books with jarring endings pick this one up. It has phenomenal writing and a nice, neat conclusion, that alone is worth reading this book!
And The Not So Much:
*I admit, I picked this one up because I love Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, and I couldn't resist a retelling. I have learned, though, not to expect these modern day retellings to mirror their familiar counterparts, so I went in with no expectations that this would be reminiscent of Frankenstein, and indeed this tale borrows on Ms. Shelly's ideas, but is is nothing like the original, and I liked that. I know other readers will be disappointed that this isn't more like the classic story, but for me I liked the fresh ideas and original story. I think that these respins of the classics might be better introduced as books that are inspired by or based loosely upon instead of a retelling that way people aren't expecting a familiar story line.
*I was disappointed that the villain in this one didn't have a larger part. I wanted to get inside his head and learn what motivated him, why he chose to do what he did, how he went about creating his "monster" and what exactly happened with the death and the subsequent resurrection. I was also perplexed by the scene where Emma meets Dr. Franks and his reaction to her. Why did he act that way? It is never explained and it bothered me, was it because he recognized her name from his son's rantings? I think this book needed his POV integrated into the story, perhaps with journal entries?
*This storyline tries to utilize a "surprise" element with the whole Frankenstein monster concept, but it fails because the reader goes into this knowing that it is a retelling so when the big reveal comes it is expected. Trying to keep it in the dark fails. Maybe this is why we didn't get more insight on Dr. Franks as the author was hoping to achieve the big twist but it just doesn't work. I think alleviating the surprise and integrating the villain's POV would vault this up from a good read to a great one.
*While I adored the writing, I found myself a bit bored by the repetitiveness of the plot. I liked the depth of emotions and the descriptions so I was entertained, but there was just too much repeating of Emma going to school, getting coffee, meeting her friend and arguing with her mother. I started to feel like been there done that.....
Broken is a very loose Frankenstein retelling. If you go into this expecting a mirror of the classic, you will likely be disappointed. I personally liked that it borrowed on ideas but blossomed into its own story. The big selling point for me for this book is Ms. Rought's mad writing skills. It is isn't often that I am blown away by stunning metaphors and rich descriptions, but this book has both and more. If you are a fan of detailed and creative writing you should definitely check this out. Not having a cliffhanger is another great reason to read this. I am certainly now a fan of Ms. Rought's writing, and despite this book having some flaws, I will gladly pick up another one of her books in the future so I can once again experience her unique writing.
"With Daniel, it was so much more. He wasn't just in my heart, he was my heart."
"It's such a lovely promise. Promises are like hearts, easily broken."
"Glittering frost coats the world, sharpens grass and leaves to fragile glass-like weapons."
"Talking drags the jagged ugly truth out and tosses it into view of anyone who cares to listen."
"No more leering pumpkins seeing their echo in me. Autumn is over. Novembers are fickle, but the constant chill in the air tells me the dying is done. Now comes the frigid death of a Michigan winter, bitter winds, suffocating snow."
"Do I tell him he isn't a dream for me, but a memory I've almost forgotten?"
"The snow softens the world's edges, buries its sins under a powdery blanket. Too bad it can't work the same with life."
A big thanks to Strange Chemistry Publishing for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for my review.
Posted @Rainy Day Ramblings.
“Broken is not a re-telling of the original in modern time, but rather a reflection of a favored classic. A.E. Rought uses elements and themes set forth by Shelley to create this sci-fi young adult Frankenstein-ish novel. What works is the spin, making it fresh and interesting. Fortunately, this contemporary take incorporates the lyrical prose of the Gothic tradition. This enriches the tale, making it a complete work of fiction, rather than simply a story with a cool theme. The young love, torn heart and strong familiar bonds is skin-tingling delicious. It will make your heart ache and race at the same time. Even though the characters are young, the love has an authentic feel that runs old, similar to that of Bronte, Austen and Shelley's characterization. It is ethereal, eternal and believable in the sense that it comes from a place that transcends age. What cements the overwhelming depiction is the daily, modern functions of family and school routines, such as friendship, homework and dinner time.
With that praise said, I should mention that I did waver on my rating because I felt there were a few drawbacks to the overall depiction. First, the 'hazel eye' factor becomes annoying. I'm not big on repetitive reminders of eye color. In the book's defense, it actually does provide significance, but it is mentioned, discussed, referred to so much (even in the synopsis) that it had me ready to scream aloud, "I got it! Enough already, Geez!" Nevertheless, the beautifully constructed lyric proses out-weighted this nuisance. Next, the setting of Michigan really is not intrinsically relevant. The story could take place in any location that had a beach nearby. There was very little that specifically made this place uniquely Muskegon, Michigan. The reader can look at the generalization as a message that the story could happen anywhere, but if wishing to stick with the Gothic detailing, and importance of setting as it applies to Shelley's Frankenstein, this fails and may disappoint. For me, I can forgive the overall portrait because the incorporation of the graveyard and historical estate provide enough imagery to steady this contemporary young adult version. Lastly, the reader will feel much smarter than poor Emma because they'll likely be way ahead of her in figuring out the puzzle. Emma is painfully clueless mid-way, even when the obvious is practically bashing her over the head with clues. Don't expect a surprise twist because you'll likely see it all coming before our heroine. To my relief, some things do happen that save the story and pick up the plot, climax, and speed. It's not a huge OMG moment, but it thematically works. Frankly, it satisfied my expectations and restored my faith in the text. Overall, I truly loved the work and think it is a book that must be read all the way through to the finish to get the entire understanding. It will linger long after the last page is turned.”
Seriously am loving this new Gothic revival going on in YA right now! 2012 busted it out with some seriously awesome books, and I can definitely say that 2013 is off to an awesome start in the Gothic/retellings genre with AE Rought's "Broken". While admittedly the blurb gives a lot of the story away, the details and the ending totally blew my mind, and while I feel like this story has resolved itself in just one book, it makes me sad to leave this world behind all the same.
For those who have read Neal Schusterman's "Unwind" trilogy, this is going to be pretty familiar for you in that there are a lot of the same elements going on - bioethics, loss, and how to deal with death. Most of this story is more Emma's story more than anything else, until the last third of the book, where it becomes both Alex's and Alex and Emma's story, together. This book asks sinister, silent questions - what would you do if you found out your loved one's parts were being used to "further science"? Would you seek out whoever had those parts? How would you mourn? Is it ethical to use those parts after death, giving them new life? And one of my favorite questions of all, which has been heavily speculated about in recent medicine - do we have a basic genetic memory, which goes deeper than simple muscle memory? As in, if our parts are donated to other people, do those people take on the traits of those whose parts they've inherited? "Broken" asks (and answers) all of these questions in a way that had me applauding by the end of the book.
I'll admit the pace at first is sluggish, maybe for a good first fourth of the book. My attention wandered, but Emma's mourning combined with the appearance of Alex Franks did keep it from wandering away from this story entirely. Rought could have sped things up a bit, but after some pretty thorough reflection, I understand why she started this story the way she did, at the pace she did. It made for a great set-up, and a wonderful lake of tension that only started to really simmer and bubble once Alex Franks made his appearance and started to regularly interact with Emma.
The characters were well-created, with one exception - Bree. I feel like she was 2D compared to the 3D of literally everyone else in this book. I can see why she wasn't as developed as she doesn't pop up that much throughout the story, especially when we start wondering about the possible connection between Daniel and Franks, but I feel like she could have been developed whenever she popped in a little bit more. Otherwise, all of the other characters felt so solidly defined, it was as if I was right there next to everyone as everything happened.
The other technical areas of this book are extremely strong, too, even with the slow pace - the world is really well-built, tightly constructed, and gives that Gothic feel to things. The arcs, while quiet and a little fuzzy in terms of how they might be executed at first, definitely surprised me with where they went in terms of how honest they were about science, experimentation, and bioethics, and that was a really, really nice surprise.
But I have to say my favorite part was the sensory imagery and language - Rought is masterful with her use of it, and while it's really totally grotesque at times, it really is if you're there with Emma and Alex during that sensory onslaught. I could taste the coffee, feel Alex's scars, taste the autumn air, and so forth. I love it when debut authors can pull off the sensory input area, and Rought definitely gets props from me for being able to do that so evenly, showing way more than telling.
I loved the ending, my only complaint is this - it wrapped up too neatly, too quickly. I think that I could have gone for another 10-20 pages to see how things would have wrapped up, because at the current length, it just felt more than a bit unbelievable. Especially after releasing all of that tension that had been building up throughout the book. Otherwise, I loved the ending, and while I'm sad to see this world go, I do feel like everything was wrapped up really well within it. I feel like I'm able to let go without any further questions.
One of the first books making my best of 2013 list, "Broken" will be out from Strange Chemistry/Angry Robot on January 8, 2013 in North America. It's an absolutely gorgeous debut, so be sure to check it out when you can!
(posted to goodreads, shelfari, and birthofanewwitch.wordpress.com)”