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Jessica (HDB)

I'm a bookworm of the highest caliber! If you see me, I'll probably be reading. There's nothing I love more than finding a good book, and then sharing it with the world!

This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee

This Monstrous Thing - Mackenzi Lee

Fans of both Steampunk novels, and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, are going to adore this book. I can tell you that right now. I would know, seeing as how I fit right into that category as well. While I knew this was a retelling, going in, I had no idea that there was also a Steampunk aspect attached to it. Needless to say, it was a rather pleasant surprise! That ended up being one of the many things I really enjoyed about this book.


This Monstrous Thing sets us in the middle 1818 Geneva. Alasdair, our protagonist, has grown up as a "Shadow Boy", or part of the group who help "repair" injured people through the use of clockwork. Which, as you might imagine, is rather frowned upon by the general public. Their work is seen as against God, and is therefore illegal. So, our young protagonist has to no choice but to operate in the shadows. Let me tell you, I fell in love with young Alasdair from page one. He's so smart, so inherently kind, and yet has the analytical mind of a scientist. I loved that he, buried in a sea of sheep, was the one who thought for himself.


What progresses from here is a story that skims along the edge of its source material. While This Monstrous Thing is a reimagining of Frankenstein, it happily takes off on its own course. There are some brilliant discussions of morality, of death, and even of the bonds between family members. Mary Shelley herself makes her debut, and the relationship between her and Alasdair was just perfection to me. In fact, I adored the fact that there was no romance front and center, to steal the stage. Having a protagonist who can meet a female character, and have a platonic relationship with her, is generally rather rare. I'm glad there wasn't any of that to muck up Alasdair's destiny.


This book is quick paced. It's vividly written, and easily the type of story that you won't want to set aside until it's over. The historical part of all of this meshes perfectly with the fictional side, creating a book that it just a treat to read! I'm impressed, and I'm genuinely hoping that there's more out there somewhere.