Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Teen Frankenstein by Chandler Baker

Teen Frankenstein by Chandler Baker
Release Date - January 12, 2016
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books/Macmillan
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 368 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
High school meets classic horror in this groundbreaking new series.

It was a dark and stormy night when Tor Frankenstein accidentally hit someone with her car. And killed him. But all is not lost--Tor, being the scientific genius she is, brings him back to life...

Thus begins a twisty, turn-y take on a familiar tale, set in the town of Hollow Pines, Texas, where high school is truly horrifying.
It's a dark and stormy night when Tor accidentally hits someone with her car, and brings him back to life. This recognizable setting and plot is giving new life with Chandler Baker's fresh spin on this classic tale. An atmospheric, enjoyable read that allows it's main character to be deeply flawed, and unapologetic for it.

Tor is the stand out in this novel. She's unapologetic for her faults, and her laser like focus. She is, at time, abrasive, and puts the science ahead of those around her. She may not endear herself to you, but she fascinates you. She's the type of character that makes you wish you could go a little deeper, and delve a little more into her psyche. The fact that her worldview skews a little darker, all in the name of science, and that she is willing to be a little ruthless to achieve her goals is my favourite part of the character. Chandler Baker lets the character be who Tor Frankenstein is supposed to be, and doesn't flinch away from the fact that she's flawed and, at times, uncaring. The twist of having the creator be female makes this story fresh, and Chandler didn't compromise the creator role and made Tor everything that character should be.

There is plenty of humour woven into this story and it offers as many laughs as it does chills. Adam, the young man Tor resurrects is the surprising cause of some of that humour. There is an endearing, child like quality to him at first that lends itself to some humour before things get scary. The rest come from Tor's sidekick and friend. He's the voice of reason who sometimes gets in over his head while helping out his friend. The humour is never without the darkness however, and that atmosphere and tone is always present in every single part of this story.

The chills in this story come more from being unsettled than truly terrified. There is plenty of gory descriptions to set you on edge, and some tension filled passages that will leave you clutching the book with white knuckles. This feels like a modern homage to the classic story that is well known for it's unsettling tone, and 'less is more' approach of scaring you. The novel offers up plenty of gory scenes, but also allows the reader's imagination to create the monster who haunts these pages. This, for me, is always more impactful as your imagination can always create something even more unsettling in my opinion.

This series, even after the first novel, reads like a show or a movie. It would make an incredible television series. I could see it being at home on the CW or Freeform networks. There is an edgy, current vibe that lends itself to a stylish TV show.

The next books will feature other classic horror tales revamped into more modern fare. I cannot wait to see the twist on Dracula in particular. Rumour has it that some of the side characters will step into the forefront for the 'companion' novels and the set up is certainly there.

Teen Frankenstein offers a fun, unsettling start to a new horror centric series. It's a novel that is entirely fun to read. It's a quick, enjoyable take on the Frankenstein tale, and one that Chandler Baker puts her own gory twist on. I eagerly await the second novel in this series set in a town where high school really is the stuff of nightmares.

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