Author: A.E. Rought
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Release Date: January 8, 2013
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Bookdepository
Read from January 6 to 14, 2013
Summary: 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.Hurting is better than forgetting.
As I haven't really been a fan of paranormal books, I started Broken with little to no expectation. After the first few pages, I was hooked. The prose was very delicate and wonderful to read; it sounded poetic. I loved the way the author described things in beautiful metaphors, as it really got the message, tone, and feelings across, embedded within those words. I was deeply impressed, but it didn't take long for things to go the other way around. In this case, I think it's best to quote Markus Zusak of The Book Thief: "Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness." And I don't mean the character's, I mean mine.
Things started to get bad after Emma, forever pining after her dead boyfriend Daniel, meets the new boy Alex. Then the teen girl instinct kicks in and she gets obsessed with him, saying how he makes her feel and how she shouldn't feel that way, asking questions along the lines of why-does-he-make-me-feel-this way and what-does-he-mean-by-saying-that-or-looking-at-me-like-that, which I can't really stand. This continues for pretty much the rest of the story. What's worse, Emma is obsessed with some of the sentences Alex says, and would repeat it again and again and again. I know the function of those sentences and Emma's need to repeat it, but really, the tireless repetition is a little uncalled for. It's like the writer doesn't trust the reader to be smart enough to pick up on the foreshadows, and it's a bit trying too hard to keep the whole story unified. It's too much for me, and after a few times it really started to bother me.
The plot is predictable. So predictable that I felt like it was pointless to read this book at all. There are more parts I disliked than parts I liked. And even though I really did enjoyed it in the beginning, I lost patience with it after a while and had to force myself to finish it. I mean, of course, the romance has to be so sappy that the boy is willing to do anything to be with the girl, and say something like "[My heart] doesn't beat for me. It's for you" even if they've known each other for two weeks. And of course, the boy has to be so messed up that the girl thinks it's attractive. And of course, the boy has to remind the girl of the dead boyfriend and echo his exact words and make her heart confused. And of course, the girl has to be so confused that she keeps a distance but pines for him anyway, 'cause apparently she can't live without him. These are only some examples of the worst cliches ever. Yawn.
In some ways, Broken is so bad that it reminds me of Twilight. Although Broken has better writing (only in the beginning), they're both made of uninteresting characters I don't care about, plots I don't like, romance that makes no sense and I have to roll my eyes at; overall books I can't stand. I think they're on the same level of bad paranormal romance. So readers of Twilight might enjoy this better than I did.
This review is also posted on Goodreads.
I received a digital copy from NetGalley and the publisher for review.