Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tainted (Broken #2) by A.E. Rought - Ashley's Review

*I received this book as an eARC from Strange Chemistry on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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Title: Broken
Author: A. E. Rought
Year Published: 2013

My Pre-Reading of Tainted
My review of Broken

Alex Franks believes the madness is behind them. With Ascension Labs under his direction and the forces threatening Emma's life overcome, they have a chance at a normal life, and keeping his secrets safely buried. But a shadow rises from Alex’s past, and she wants him back. Criminally brilliant, Hailey Westmore will stop at nothing to claim the boy she was meant to be with. 

Without warning, Emma Gentry finds she cannot trust anything. Not her mind, her memory, not even herself. Tragic events and unexpected deaths stalk Alex and Emma, testing them in ways they would never imagine, and may not survive. Alex carries a new secret, and a horrifying guilt that Hailey uses to her advantage. 

Emma’s life and sanity hang in the balance, and Alex may have created a monster...


Review: Modern re-tellings of classic stories are my favorites. I love seeing how authors take such well known stories and make them their own. Although this story still has that Frankenstein element to it, I was really pleasantly surprised to find that it also integrated the tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde! I loved the way these two stories melted into one, and I think Rought did an excellent job of leaving enough of the originals for the reader to be able to pull out the references but still weaving her own unique, beautiful, haunting story. 

When I read Broken earlier this year, my biggest problem was with Emma. Everything about her just drove me crazy, and I think it really took away from the book for me. She was a slow narrator, and I just didn't like her. In Tainted, however, Alex is front and center, and he never slows down. Everything is so fast paced with him, and I kind of loved it. He's always looking for a solution, always trying to right his (and his father's) wrongs, and always doing whatever it takes to keep Emma safe while still wrestling his own demons. I loved him in Broken, and I love him even more in Tainted.

I think seeing Emma from an outside perspective makes her more tolerable. I didn't like being inside her head, but she's not as bad when you see her through Alex/Daniel's eyes. I understand better why he loves her, and I think she's just a better character in this book. I also liked getting to know Bree and Jason better, and Jason quickly became one of my favorite characters. He's an excellent friend to Alex & Emma and boyfriend to Bree, and his story is just so heartbreaking. I would love to have a short story from his perspective, because I think there's so much we don't know about him. 

Although Alex's dad is a pretty decent villain in Broken, I think Hailey Westmore is an even better one here. She's cold, calculating, and willing to do whatever it takes to get Alex back. She actually terrifies me. I would NOT want to get on her bad side, because she's really got some major issues going on in that head of hers. At first, I felt like she came out of nowhere, but then I realized that this book is set not too long after Broken and things fell into place more smoothly. I love a well-developed villain, and Hailey definitely fits that bill. 

Since Alex is narrating this book, everything feels more urgent and faster paced. I think it worked really well here without being overwhelming. We were still given enough details to figure out what was going on but they didn't bog down the plot or the pacing. I loved all of the twists and turns, and didn't see most of them coming. I think some things were a little unbelievable, but they fit within the framework of the story so it didn't bother me too much. 

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has read Broken, even if you weren't crazy about it. The sequel is one of those rare gems that's actually better than its predecessor! It's still got that dark, haunting, Gothic feel to it but is faster and will keep you more on the edge of your seat. I couldn't put it down and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning furiously turning pages just to find out how Alex and Emma's story ends. I also recommend this series to anyone looking for a unique retelling of classic literature. You won't be disappointed! 5/5 for Tainted


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