Synopsis from Goodreads
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.
Told in first person narrative from Emma’s point of view, overcome with grief at her boyfriend, Daniel’s death she is barely making it through each day. You can feel Emma’s loss emanating from the narrative, from the very beginning the story tugs on your heart strings, the grief Emma feels is so realistic you can’t help but be pulled into the emotions, such a moving portrayal of grief.
When Emma feels an inexplicable connection to the new boy at school, Alex, she can’t help but compare him to Daniel. Apart from some physical resemblance between the two there is the same mannerisms and gestures. The connection between Alex and Emma is intense, something is compelling them to be together. The idea of a soul-mate connection between them immediately comes to mind which in turn leads to a multitude of questions regarding the origin of these feelings Alex has for Emma when he has only just met her.
As the plot unfolds so do the corresponding questions regarding things like:
How much of a person do organs retain if they are transplanted? Is a persons soul a part of their body or a separate entity? How far would you go if you could for the person you love? What would you be willing to do to keep the person you love? Where do you draw the line between love and the quest for power?
Alex is a wonderful, utterly swoon-worthy character. Although he has undergone so much trauma and altered his lifestyle according to his compulsion to be with Emma he is without regret and doesn’t question if his feelings are real. As a reader you can’t help but wonder if Alex should really be so willing to give into these intense emotions. Alex makes the point that he has never been happier, that his life before Emma was controlled and planned out but not by him. Making you question whether everything happens for a reason even if we don’t initially understand what that reason is.
The imagery generated is utterly amazing, if at points a bit gross lol. I especially liked the use of Emma’s cat being able to sense spirits. Triggering the parallel with Egyptian Mythology’s belief that cats were the guardians of the dead, a subtle yet dynamic addition to the plot.
This book had me swooning and sobbing in equal measure. I have a soft spot for the idea of soul-mates add to that the belief that love can survive death and I was completely hooked.
Broken has a fast-paced, gripping story-line that while being an emotional roller-coaster is incredibly thought provoking. A brilliant and addictive piece of writing.