Title: This Monstrous Thing
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: September 22nd 2015
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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…
I received an e-ARC from the publisher via edelweiss for the blog tour and in exchange for a review. This does not affect my opinion whatsoever nor was I compensated in any shape or form in exchange for this review.
This Monstrous Thing is a steam punk retelling of Frankenstein that follows Alisdair Finch. He is a Shadow Boy, like his father, which means that he is able to create and maintain clockwork body parts for those who have lost their original body parts to disease or war. However, clockwork people are looked down upon by society since they “are not in the image of God” and thusly an abomination. The novel enters on the consequences of Alisdair having brought his brother, Oliver, back to life with clockwork.
Mackenzi Lee’s writing is great and there were some really gorgeous lines sprinkled throughout and there were some really vivid scenes that she painted with her writing that had me just kind of shocked and also captivated by the writing.
We read the novel from Alisdair’s point of view and we’re able to see his point of view and his thoughts as he endures the roller coaster of consequences. And despite me not agreeing with his actions, I like that I was able to understand his motives and the reasoning behind his actions. I didn’t like Alisdair, but I was rooting for him through the novel and for things to turn out okay for him.
Oliver is Alisdair’s brother that was killed after being pushed out of the clocktower window. Devastated, Alisdair revives him with his own improved version of Dr. Geisler’s theory. When the novel first begins, it is two years after Oliver has returned to the living and I really found myself empathizing with him despite him not being present for large swathes of the novel. I love the way Mackenzie Lee wrote him and I really kind of just wanted to give him a hug, despite his very sharp edges.
I love how the original novel of Frankenstein and Mary Shelley was incorporated into the novel! It’s kind of meta in that sense and it was really interesting how the Frankenstein novel really created a lot of problems for Oliver and Alisdair. It was really interesting for me in how the original book and Mary were weaved into the novel as well, since I never really read Frankenstein or knew too much about Mary Shelley’s life.
This Monstrous Thing is a great steampunk retelling of Frankenstein that had me captivated by her writing and also left me thinking about it afterwards, with the vivid scenes she paints in her novel and the real and relatable characters .
And oh hey, a giveaway!!
The prizes are:
- A hardcover copy of THIS MONSTROUS THING
- a pair of Frankenstein socks
- a copy of the Color Your Own Graphic Novel Frankenstien
- This Monstrous Thing postcards, bookmarks and buttons.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mackenzi Lee is reader, writer, bookseller, unapologetic fangirl, fast talker, and perpetually-anxious badass. She holds an MFA from Simmons College in writing for children and young adults, and her short fiction has appeared in Inaccurate Realities, The Friend, and The Newport Review. Her young adult historical fantasy novel, THIS MONSTROUS THING, which won the PEN-New England Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award, as well as an Emerging Artist Grant from the St. Botolph Club Foundation, will be published fall of 2015 by Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins.
She loves Diet Coke, sweater weather, and historical fiction. On a perfect day, she can be found enjoying all three. She currently calls Boston home