This Monstrous Thing by McKenzie Lee

This Monstrous ThingLet me preface this by saying that I am not a huge fan of the classics. One time I tried to read Wuthering Heights and it took me the entire summer to read the first ¾ of the book before I gave up. Granted, that was back when I was in high school and might not have had an appreciation for finer literary works, but still, all this to say that I haven’t read Frankenstein. The closest I’ve come is a cold Legacy, which I liked well enough, but didn’t find amazing.

But this book made me want to give it a try. Set in an alternate history where men are fitted with clockwork/mechanic parts after the war, we meet Alasdair, a brilliant, kind of selfish boy. Living in Geneva, an apparent ‘safe haven’ for survivors of the war due to its neutrality, Alasdair secretly constructs limbs from metal and clockwork for war veterans. But being a Shadow Boy is a dangerous occupation to have in a city like Geneva, which is intolerant and discriminatory toward such practices.

Plus, there’s the small problem of him bringing his brother back to life in this manner. And the fact that someone (three guesses who!) has written a book about it, stirring up unrest amongst those who have similar inflictions.


Four star
Four Stars

I must say, I really enjoyed the characters in this book. Alasdair was kind of a jackass, but one that you want to succeed. I think a lot of us will be able to see and empathize with his specific brand of selfishness. But the character that really blew me away was Clémence, such a strong and contrary female character for her time. I won’t say much more, though I don’t think I would spoil much, but it was nice to have her adding some diversity to the characters.

And Oliver; our tortured monster, he was interesting. I’m still not sure how I feel about him.

This book really did a good job of portraying Mary as one of those people everyone thinks is good, but who really isn’t. This book is definitely worth the space on your Kindle or bookshelf, and is an interesting way to get readers unfamiliar with the classics such as Frankenstein, by putting them in a new and exciting steampunk universe.

I actually disliked her a lot by the end of this, definitely one of the worst characters in the book, but someone who fooled everyone.

Overall, an interesting read. If you liked a cold Legacy you should give it a try.

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