Release Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Recommended By: My Guilty Obsession
Genre: Young Adult Steampunk
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.
What if the novel Frankenstein was real? What if Mary Shelley was there to really observe Dr. Frankestein work (AKA Alasdair's mad genius) and have her novel come to life instead of it remaining as a sordid make-believe? And what if The Monster wasn't an amalgam of mangled parts of various corpses but Oliver, Alasdair's brother, who died suddenly, unexpectedly, and was then ressurected to assuage his guilt?
Fascinating concept right? THIS MONSTROUS THING by Mackenzi Lee is a great nod to the gothic genre and a wonderful homage to Mary Shelley's classic tale. MLee preserved the eerieness and moral dilemmas of the original story while at the same time reinventing and making it a brand new tale that's totally hers.
The steampunk elements were more of an accesory than a main plot driver, a great enhancer to an already fantastic base. I also loved how MLee cleverly wove fact and fiction together in THIS MONSTROUS THING by adding anecdotal scenes referring to the actual Mary Shelley and how she came about her novel, Frankenstein. I was completely absorbed by Alisdair's drive to make things right with Oliver and the latter's constant state of confusion about who he is and what he's supposed to be. But perhaps my favorite part is the Author's Note in the end. See, I'm always fascinated with how these amazing writers come up with their fantastical tales and MLee was generous enough to answer that question for me in the end. It's the perfect cap to the story.