Tuesday, September 15, 2015

[Review: This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee]

"This Monstrous Thing"
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Series: None
Pages: 384
Genre: YA, Alternate History, Steampunk, Retelling
Date Published: September 22nd, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Format Read: eARC provided by publisher (via Edelweiss) 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…

My Thoughts:

An Open Letter To This Monstrous Thing,
When I think of creative books, I'm always going to think of you. You not only are a retelling of a classic novel, but also an alternate history book. Those are some of my favorite genres, and you pulled them both off wonderfully. I really couldn't have asked for more from you. I enjoyed you immensely.

-The White Unicorn

Do you enjoy retellings of classic horror novels? Do you enjoy alternate history stories? Do you enjoy the steampunk genre? If you answered yes to one or all of these questions then This Monstrous Thing is the perfect book for you. Mackenzi Lee isn't messing around with her debut novel, and it shows not only in her story telling, but also her writing. She's created a story made from the bones of classic horror and a reimagined history of it's author. She asks the question, "what would happen if Mary Shelley got the inspiration for Frankenstein from her own life?" It's a question I never knew I wanted the answer to, but I'm glad that I have it now. 

The book takes place in real places. It houses characters that actually existed. But then it steers away from the norm and throws a Steampunk element into the mix. Lee gives us a industrial revolution that effects people. There are people that are fully human in her world, and others that have body parts or organs made of gears and metal. It's creates factions in the society, and raises some pretty heavy moral questions. It's the perfect setting for a Frankenstein retelling. 

The fact that Mary Shelley is one of the book's characters is an interesting move. When I read the back of the novel and found out Lee's reasoning behind making the book an alternate history piece instead of just a retelling, I liked what she had to say. I highly suggest that you read the afterword when you've finished the book. It's interesting to see the brothers that Frankenstein is based on brought to life. Literally and figuratively.  

I just adored Alasdair. He's a conflicted soul, but he always does what he thinks is right. He's likable, which isn't what people who know the tale of Frankenstein remember him to be. Oliver is also much more than meets the eye. He's not the monster we know either. The book looks at what makes us human, and what has nothing to do with it. Also, I enjoyed what Lee added to the story with Clemence's character. She's a winner in my book.

So, if you enjoy all the things that I've mentioned, go get your hands on a copy of this fantastic novel!

4 Unicorns = Close to perfect!

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