Broken – Broken #1 – A.E. Rought
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.
This book was just what I needed right now. It’s been a while since I read a YA Fantasy novel with a strong focus on romance. I know lots of people don’t like these sort of books and I can see why. And although I don’t always appreciate this genre either, I’m a sucker for it when it’s well executed. Insta-love and the likes, no thanks, but a nice, swoony love story with lots of exciting things going on around our lovebirds, yes please! ‘Broken’ hit all those right spots for me. I honestly couldn’t stop reading, wanting to know what the hell was going on with our main characters Emma and Alex.
The characters were easy to relate to. Emma is a down to earth, normal teenage girl that lost her boyfriend due to a deadly fall some months ago. Rought does a great job portraying her, she’s not over the top, she actually kind of thinks like I did when I was a teenager, so she’s easy to relate to. Alex is a bit of a mystery guy here, the new kid in school, handsome, full of scars. Maybe a bit of a cliché when I say it like that, but it certainly didn’t read like that.
The other characters like Bree and Josh give extra color to the story. Bree the hyper, but superloyal best friend and Josh, the annoying stalker guy that’s got a thing for Emma. The conversations between Emma and these two were fun to read, especially the insults flying back and forth between Emma and Josh in the beginning.
YA Romance usually makes me cringe. I don’t know how many of these authors do it, but it’s always so over the top and frankly, unrealistic. ‘Broken’ did quite good in that department, not too much, not too unrealistic from Emma’s point of view, which is probably the reason why I liked this book.
I kind of knew what to expect at the end of the book, because the synopsis and the reference to Frankenstein gives a lot away, but when the whole truth was revealed it still managed to catch me off guard. I was having way too nice thoughts, while in truth the story takes a much crueler turn.
I loved the explosive ending, which I really needed after the first chunk of the book where not that much action took place. But man, that ending lifted the whole book to a higher level. Creepy, action-packed, cruel twists, I can’t find enough words to describe it.
I’m curious about the second book, ‘Tainted’, that I started right after this one. It’s told from Alex’ point of view, which could be quite interesting. I’ll keep you posted! For now, if you want to read a good Young Adult novel, pick Broken, it’s mysterious, romantic, a bit creepy at some points and has an explosive ending that I know you’ll love!