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October 31, 2015

Debut Review and Interview of This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee

This Monstrous Thing
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Published On: 9/22/16
Publisher:  Katherine Tegan Books
Page Count: 384
I received an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
Synopsis: (Found on Goodreads)

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.

The Review

Cover: 4/5
                At first I wasn`t sure how I felt about the man (Frankenstien…Oliver, Alasdair..idk) on the cover but then with the hardback you undress it and this awesomesauce gorgeous metallic guy appears. Totes strokable to.

Characters: 4/5
                Alasdair: I hated him. I know he was only trying to bring his brother back and move forward but he makes it seem like Oliver is the only thing holding him back in life when it really is his guilty conscious.

                Oliver: I truly believe Oliver is in there deep down. He is just focused on the idea of being this monster that he starts to believe that is what he truly is.

                Mary: Lee gives us a backstory about the life of Mary Shelley- that Shelley. This backstory is actually loosely based on her real life. Mary in the book knows how to turn people against one another and how to twist their emotions to fix her desires.

Plot: 5/5
                First of this is Frankenstein if other people also had mechanical parts and were outcasts. Oliver is just different because he can only survive by metal versus the other Cogs who have basically prosthetic.
                Next is if Frankenstein the actual book was released into the wild and used as a rallying cry to the Cogs to fight against the government.
                Finally what happens when the truth comes out? Will Alasdair confess his darkest secret, will Mary recant her rallying cry, most of all will Oliver see himself as something other than a monster?   
Overall Rating: 4/5
                I really did enjoy this, so much in fact I sat down at 10am and finished it at 345pm. This book was fast paced and I needed to know what happened to the Cogworks. I would recommend if you want an alternate view of Frankenstein.

The Interview
How did you research?
I did *so much* research for this book! And it was so much fun! Before I began writing, I read literary criticism of Frankenstein, about Mary Shelley, her life and how the book came to be written, and about society, technology, and anxieties in the early 1800s. All these things helped shape the plot. Then, as I wrote, I researched small things I ran into, like what was embalming like in the 1800s, what Christmas carols were sung, did shoes have laces or buckles, was apartment or flatwas more common. I also was really lucky and got to travel to both Geneva, Switzerland, where half of the book takes place, and through the Bavarian countryside, where the other half of the book takes place and experience the setting. One of my favorite parts of the research process was reading Mary Shelley’s original, hand-written manuscripts for Frankenstein (which everyone can view online and I highly suggest you do!)

Do you relate to your MC?
My main character Alasdair and I don’t have too much in common, except that we’re both a little socially inept. I relate much more to Oliver (Alasdair’s older brother and his reanimated corpse creature). We’re both artistically minded, a bit more ruled by emotion, and get passionately obsessed with things. We also both have a very keen sense of justice, and sometimes take it upon ourselves to be the enactors of it, even when it’s not our business.

What or who got you into writing?
I loved books when I was small, and wrote tiny novels in the way you only can when you’re ten years old, but I stopped reading and writing when I was in high school. School assigned reading and writing kind of ruined it for me. But I came back to books in my early twenties, when I was doing a lot of traveling and looking for something to keep me occupied at train and bus stations. The thing that got me back into writing was rediscovering children’s books after a long absence from them.

Why YA as your genre?
I love how teenagers have no inhibitions when it comes to being in love with things, whether those things are the books they read, the music they listen to, or the ships they ship. I remember the way I used to be passionate about things when I was a teen, and I want to write stories for an audience who is that unselfconsciously obsessed with the things they love and open to being moved and shaped by the things they come in contact with.

What book would suggest to be on the lookout for besides yours?
I’m very excited about The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore, a gorgeous Romeo and Juliet meets Night Circus book. I’m also excited for A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis, which is a historical thriller set in an insane asylum at the turn of the century.  

Hope you enjoyed. Stay tuned for tomorrows Spooky Reads recap.



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