*I received this book as an eARC from Strange Chemistry/Angry Robot on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
I was really excited to come across a modern spin on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. I love retellings, and I wanted to like this one so much. Going into this with such high expectations kind of made it a little meh for me, I think, which was really unfortunate. I tried so hard to get into this and to connect with Emma, but I just... couldn't.
Don't get me wrong - I think the idea of this book was really interesting, and I absolutely loved Rought's writing; I was hooked from the first page and had a hard time putting it down when I needed to do things like...you know... sleep. But there were just so many things I couldn't connect with Emma on, and so many twists that were totally predictable. For example, knowing that there's going to be some sort of Frankenstein's monster really takes away from discovering with Emma. The whole time I kept thinking how obvious it was the Alex wasn't exactly who (or what) he should be. Maybe that was part of why I couldn't connect with Emma - I just couldn't see how it took her so long to realize Alex's secrets.
I loved Alex though, and I felt like Rought did an excellent job of humanizing (for lack of a better word) him without even delving into his perspective. It's so easy to see his confusion and his hurt and his anger and all of his feelings because the poor kid wears his heart on his sleeve. And then to put him in that awful position of "is my life really worth more than theirs?" Seriously. Poor kid.
The imagery and the whole Gothic feel of this novel were fantastic. Although it's technically set in our world, I felt like I had entered a whole new parallel universe that is much darker and more exciting. Actually, it almost feels like the whole book could be set in a giant cemetery, even though I know it isn't. I would love to read more of Rought's work, especially if she creates her own world. It just amazes me sometimes how some authors can take a world that readers are totally familiar with and make it something completely new and different. Bravo. Hats off to you.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good retelling of classic stories. Even though I was a little disappointed that there weren't many twists and turns, I still thought that this was overall an enjoyable Frankenstein retelling, and I would think that many fans of the idea of Frankenstein's monster and YA would enjoy this as well. I would give this book a 3/5.