REVIEW: Broken by A. E. Rought

By A. E. Rought

PUBLISHER: Strange Chemistry
RELEASE DATE: 8th January 2013
FORMAT: Ebook, 416 pages
GENRE: Paranormal, Young Adult

Imagine a modern spin on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein where a young couple’s undying love and the grief of a father pushed beyond sanity could spell the destruction of them all. A string of suspicious deaths near a small Michigan town ends with a fall that claims the life of Emma Gentry’s boyfriend, Daniel. Emma is broken, a hollow shell mechanically moving through her days. She and Daniel had been made for each other, complete only when they were together. Now she restlessly wanders the town in the late Fall gloom, haunting the cemetery and its white-marbled tombs, feeling Daniel everywhere, his spectre in the moonlight and the fog.

When she encounters newcomer Alex Franks, only son of a renowned widowed surgeon, she’s intrigued despite herself. He’s an enigma, melting into shadows, preferring to keep to himself. But he is as drawn to her as she is to him. He is strangely… familiar. From the way he knows how to open her locker when it sticks, to the nickname she shared only with Daniel, even his hazel eyes with brown flecks are just like Daniel’s. The closer they become, though, the more something inside her screams there’s something very wrong with Alex Franks. And when Emma stumbles across a grotesque and terrifying menagerie of mangled but living animals within the walls of the Franks’ estate, creatures she surely knows must have died from their injuries, she knows. (Goodreads)


From the premise I was interested and excited to pick up BROKEN, a modern day spin of the classic Frankenstein and something a little different from the vampires, werewolves and fallen angels that seem to have saturated the paranormal YA market.

Emma, a junior in high school and the main protagonist is distraught when her boyfriend Daniel died during the summer. Spending her time visiting the graveyard and continually thinking about him, Emma felt that she could never love again. Of course those feelings change when her eyes meet Alex Franks.

Alex is a new student at her school, Shelly High and has the locker next to Emma, Emma struggles to open her locker every day and Daniel had had a special knack for opening it. When Alex opens her locker for her in the exact same way Daniel had it reminds her very much of him and she is instantly drawn to Alex.

BROKEN for me read a bit like a diary, Emma always informed us of her diet, sleep patterns, coffee breaks. We are welcomed into each day with a description of breakfast, coffee and some sort of run in with Josh Mason.

Mom has her famous Walking Breakfast Taco or W.B.T. as I like to call it-crumbled sausage, scrambled eggs and cheese added to a snack bag of corn chips-in one hand, my backpack in the other when I shoot from the stairwell.

Josh is a boy who also attends Shelly High School and wanted to date Emma until Daniel beat him to it, since then Emma and Josh have a difficult friendship that is based on throwing insults at each other, although Josh maybe hiding his true feelings for Emma beneath this façade.

My enthusiasm for BROKEN soon diminished as I felt the plot focused more on the mundane things in Emma’s life, which I found uninteresting and quite repetitive, there are only so many times you want to read about what someone ate for breakfast and follow their daily routine. I found it quite difficult to connect to Emma as she quickly realized there was something different and not quite right with Alex but it took her ages to put the pieces together, leaving me a little frustrated.

Alex has many quirks very similar to Daniel and even his eyes could be Daniel’s, Emma is confused how to feel about Alex and it’s another theme that feels repetitive.

The odd tingle in his touch, Daniel’s eye looking out of his face, all of his scars…Beyond the physical, and way more disturbing, the way he feels so familiar to me. How can I feel like I’ve known him for years? How can he open that damn locker just like Daniel?

I can see how last night’s nightmare makes a sick kind of sense. I’ve been missing Daniel so badly, for so long, that when someone came along the least bit like him I squashed Daniel and Alex into one person.

Emma flicks back and forth between Alex is odd and feels wrong to it’s all in my head and I love him however, once Emma finally realized that Alex was in part Daniel, the story changed focus and picked up pace but it did take about two thirds of the book to get to this point.

I enjoyed the final third as the pace quickened, there were a few twists and some action, we meet Alex’s eccentric and dangerous father and find out what really did happen to Daniel and who was to blame. If only the first two thirds was as good as the end.


I was very excited to get my hands on a copy of BROKEN and I wanted to love this book. I’m not sure why but the book for me seemed to drag, the pace was slow and quite often repetitive. I was annoyed that it took two thirds of the book for Emma to work out why Alex’s eye and personality traits were so familiar and without reading the summery I could tell who would be the Frankenstein as it was made obvious what Alex Franks was from the very beginning, it was just a pity Emma took so long to catch up.

Overall, I thought the plot was a good idea and for once no love triangle, I just felt the execution of the plot didn’t quite flow, which caused me to struggle my way to the end, the ending surprised me and it’s the only part of BROKEN that I enjoyed.


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A midnight book worm who loves dystopian and young adult fantasy and paranormal romances. As long as the leading man is dead sexy, she's happy. [Becs no longer reviews for the site.]


Gemma January 9, 2013 at 10:49 am

Aw Man! That really is disappointing. I really wanted this to be good as it sounded so interesting. This spin on Frankenstie really did sound fresh. Howver like you, I would have gotten bored with the mundan day to day life.

Great Review Bes, even if the book didn’t live up to the hype


Becs January 9, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Thank you Gemma, I was gutted with Broken, it’s really frustrating when a potential good book falls flat.


Rebecca January 11, 2013 at 11:27 am

It’s a shame about this book as I really loved the synopsis too :( If it just focuses on her daily routine then I guess it’s not all that thrilling :( The cover is beautiful though


Becs January 11, 2013 at 12:02 pm

The cover is beautiful and the synopsis is great but the execution didn’t live up to the potential. I was disappointed with Broken and I agree it’s a shame, it should have been a good read. :(


thorax232 January 13, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Looks like a thrilling read. I’ll have to check it out.
Family Survival Course Book


Becs January 16, 2013 at 4:58 pm

I hope you enjoy it, when you get chance to pick it up. The last 1/4 was great and I love that it was a little bit different.


Tammy January 13, 2013 at 7:32 pm

I was a little more generous with my review, but I basically had the same reaction to Broken that you did. What I felt but didn’t say in my review was that I think the story would have worked better if it had been told in third person, and from multiple points of view. I would love to see the story from Alex’s father’s point of view, because everything that took place at his estate was what made the book for me.


Becs January 16, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Thanks Tammy, I agree the final 1/4 of Broken when at the estate was thrilling I just wish the beginning matched the end.
It’s the ending that caused me to increase my rating as it was feeling like a 1 star to that point.


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