This Monstrous Thing
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Publication Date: October 22nd 2015
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an 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…
This Monstrous Thing is a hard one to review, mainly because it's down to it not being what I thought it was going to be. In some ways, it was great, especially in the way that attracts me to certain books and keeps me reading, which I'll get to in a minute. But, in other ways I felt it let me down because it just...lacked something for me. So I'll get that bit out of the way.
So...This Monstrous Thing is a sort of retelling of Frankenstein but it's more of a reimagining of how Frankenstein came to be more than showing you Frankenstein, if that makes sense. It wasn’t Frankenstein. I felt like it relied too much on the mystery of Frankenstein, especially when it came down to who wrote it, which was my main issue that niggled at me because we knew who wrote it, and a chunk of This Monstrous Thing was Alasdair wondering and figuring out who wrote it. Of
course, the characters don't know who wrote it, although there are only a few who it can be, it was frustrating for me, as the reader, since it wasn't a mystery to us.
It took me a while to get into This Monstrous Thing, for me I felt like it had pacing issues, just as it started to get interesting, it stopped. I got bored during the second half. I guess I was expecting a lot more from it in the Frankenstein sense.
The best things about This Monstrous Thing and the two things I loved most about it was the family dynamics and atmosphere. Although Alasdair is on his own without his family, his parents are not featured much, but his brother, Oliver is. I loved their relationship and getting to know them from before Oliver died and what got them to the point where they were.
The atmosphere in This Monstrous Thing is eerie, and dangerous and even though it tapered off a little when the pacing issue set in, it was still intense.
Overall I have mixed feelings, This Monstrous Thing wasn't what I was expecting, but I loved the writing and the atmosphere and family dynamics despite my issues.