This Monstrous Thing
by Mackenzi Lee
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: September 22nd 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Steampunk, Retelling, Historical, Science Fiction, Paranormal, Fantasy
Rate: 3.5 STARS
Rate: 3.5 STARS
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…
Haunting and thrilling, This Monstrous Thing explored human nature and its truths. To be honest, I've never seen or read Frankenstein and I'm pretty this is the first Frankenstein retelling I've read and I really really liked where the story went. It did, however, take me awhile to get into the story, especially the characters. Writing wise, I loved how Alasdair, Oliver, and Mary's past was weaved into the story and that there was more to it than just Oliver's resurrection and the aftermath. The way Frankenstein (the story) was intertwined into the story was also pure brilliance. I love how personal it became and relatable it was not only to Alasdair but also to the steampunk society of This Monstrous Thing.
Alasdair wasn't a character I particularly loved or hated but he was very real and stayed true to himself. I wished we saw more of his passion for clockwork and medicine (disregarding Oliver's resurrection) because it was a big part of his life. There's so much emphasis on human nature and the idea of a monster. Alasdair is the perfect character that symbolizes that. He's full of good intent and he may not always go about it the right way. It still doesn't account for his actions but it's something he'll have to live with.
He had lots of complex relationships like with himself, his brother, his parents, Mary, and even Clemence. Speaking of relationships...I really really disliked Mary. I'm not sure if this is just a personal thing I have but I just wasn't able to empathize with her. BUTBUTBUT Clemence totally makes up for everything. She's my favorite character and I loved her part of the story. Her subtle sass. And I'm totally shipping her with Alasdair (for now). I totally won't object to another guy or girl who steals her heart. I feel like Alasdair is a character who would be fine with just friends and wouldn't really need a relationship (although I'm sure he would be fine either way). It was so easy to sympathize with Oliver and understand all his actions. He's a pretty good guy who just didn't have a choice. I loved their sibling relationship especially seeing the contrast of the past and present day and how their relationship develops.
This Monstrous Thing is a book I would recommend to everyone who loves historical fiction, (Frankenstein) retellings, or steampunk. I'll definitely be keeping an eye on other future books by Mackenzi Lee! Happy Readings!
Mackenzi Lee holds a BA in history and an MFA from Simmons College in writing for children and young adults. She loves Diet Coke, sweater weather, and Star Wars. On a perfect day, she can be found enjoying all three. She currently lives in Boston, where she works as a bookseller and almost never reanimates corpses. Almost.
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One winner will receive...
A hardcover copy of THIS MONSTROUS THING
A pair of Frankenstein socks
A copy of the Color Your Own Graphic Novel Frankenstein
THIS MONSTROUS THING postcards, bookmarks, and buttons
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