Thursday, August 13, 2015

This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee {review}

This Monstrous Thing
by Mackenzi Lee
♦publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
♦release date: September 22, 2015
♦hardcover, 384 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: ARC from publisher for honest review
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…

This Monstrous Thing is not a retelling of Frankenstein, but a brilliant and haunting fantasy reimagining of how Mary Shelley’s masterpiece came to be! 

Alistair and Oliver are brothers, both close to each other and as opposite as two can be. Their relationship and Alistair’s memories drive the story with grinding conflict. Oliver hated being a shadow boy, while Alistair’s dreamed of someday studying under the best, Dr. Geisler.  After Oliver’s death, he comes back as an especially dark and troubled character, and Alistair is in constant turmoil over whether he did the right thing by bringing him back. The obligation he feels to take care of him keeps him from his dreams, but when he’s forced to leave the city, he’s caught between the happiness of finally getting a little freedom, a chance to do what he’s always wanted and a crushing guilt of leaving Oliver behind. 

When he realizes a new book called Frankenstein basically lays out his secrets for all to see,  Alistair struggles to figure out who betrayed him by writing the book. There's not much mystery for the reader---obviously the girl he loved, Mary is going to be the culprit there! It’s almost a little annoying to watch him so adamantly say ‘oh, no, it couldn’t be her’ over and over again, but there something compelling about watching him make his way to the truth.

While not a particularly fast-moving plot, the intensity and drama of the writing held me absolutely entranced. It's every bit as gruesome and dark as one would expect of a story surrounding the legendary work of Frankenstein. As I’m sure you can imagine, a story about clockwork parts being melded into flesh and bone can get pretty graphic. But strangely there is also beauty in it, as those with clockwork parts fight to be treated as humans and you see those who work on them, like Alistair and his father, show them such compassion. There are moments of stomach-churning horror, hope and wonder, and especially danger as a rebellion forms and then becomes explosive, all brought to life with absolutely gorgeous prose. 

This story is a haunting steampunk thriller about family, loyalty, dreams, and freedom that readers won’t find easy to forget after the last page.

Find Mackenzi Lee online:  Website  • Twitter  • Pinterest

Purchase the book:  Indiebound  •  BookDepository  •  Amazon

And check this out! A really cool illustrated synopsis done by the author! :)


Post a Comment