Thursday, September 17, 2015

This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee

This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee
Release Date - September 22, 2015
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages - 384 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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…
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is one of my favourite classic novels. The themes and insights the novel explores are timeless. Mackenzi Lee takes her own deep love for this novel, and it's author, and spins it into a unique, captivating story that stands all on it's own.

Clockwork and Frankenstein may not initially seem like they would naturally blend together. Mackenzi Lee effortlessly blends them together in a realistic way. The story really does lend itself to the addition of clockwork, and the author ensures it's there for a reason. It's a smartly written, clever inclusion that only adds to the themes of the plot

This is a story of two brothers above everything else. The bond between Alasdair and Oliver is the heart and core of this story. Everything revolves around it and it shapes every detail of what happens. This is true of the original Frankenstein tale, where the central focus is the relationship between two individuals. The scope of their relationship is immense, and we get to see the highs and lows of it.

The setting of Frankenstein only adds to it's sense of foreboding. There is something subtly unsettling about the story, and the setting adds to that feeling. This Monstrous Thing captures that tone, and effectively uses the setting in the same manner. Filled with dark, abandoned castles and hidden chambers the setting is gripping, and intense in a way that allows our imagination to run wild with all the unsettling 'what ifs'.

Choices define everything. We are the result of our experience and may of those are a result of choices. This novel plays with the consequences those choices have and where acting rashly can lead you. We see how each boy is moulded by the choices made either by them or for them by others. There is an underlying heartbreak to the story as you can clearly see how different things could have been if choices were made differently. There is a bittersweetness, and a feeling of sadness for what was lost that haunts these pages.

Regret pulses through the entire novel. It is an all consuming thing that each of the characters have. There is a sadness to these regrets because it ties back into the choices made and how differently things could have been if done differently. These characters are not perfect, and they often act selfishly, but their remorse when they realize this about themselves is palpable.

Society is obsessed with labels and defining things. We itch to put something into a box. Good or evil, right or wrong. Frankenstein is timeless because it makes you look at things as not so black and white. It's as shadowy as the setting and it embraces that all of us as the potential for both light and darkness within us. This still holds merit today where labels are a hot topic in society and this novel showcases that the monster doesn't always look the way you expect.

A novel that delight Frankenstein fans while still appealing to those just discovering the story. Mackenzi Lee has created something that respects the original while cleverly making it her own. Those who love novels that examine both the choices we make and the potential for darkness in us all will particularly enjoy this insightful twist on the Frankenstein lore.

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