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This Monstrous Thing

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3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,467 Ratings  ·  417 Reviews
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 fro
...more
Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published September 22nd 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books
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Mackenzi
Jul 27, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  (Review from the author)
I might consider picking it up.
Wendy Darling
"Have you ever thought...that maybe (he) only acts like a monster because you treat him like one?"

This book seamlessly blends history, gothic mystery, and steampunk into a thoughtful reimagining of the creation of Frankenstein, and it's one of the best YA retellings I've read. The author has clearly done her homework on the time period, as well as the story's literary roots--and beyond that, she makes this story of clockwork men and women, struggling to survive in a world where they are feared a
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Kassidy
Loved the steampunk elements, the characters, and the ties to Frankenstein. There's also great discussion on some philosophical topics.
Gemma ♕ Books_McCoy
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

“Here I was touched by your sacrifice, and come to find out you’re still obsessed with Ingolstadt and studying with the man who killed me.”



This was an interesting YA retelling of Frankenstein, that was still a bit different to the original.

Alasdair was in a difficult position in this book; trying to hide the fact that he had reanimated his brother after his death, whilst c
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Liz
Mar 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: anticipated-2015
I spend a lot of time working with the original story, meaning Frankenstein and it grew on me, but this one was not quite as amazing as I had hoped. It was good, mind you. But I am generally not particulary fond of steampunk. The problem with clockwork people, while intriguing, left me very very cold and the turning point of the story that felt rather forced.

I liked the way the author connected the original story with this one via one particular character and I liked Oliver although there was n
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Kristen Burns
4 Stars

Review:
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. This has not influenced my review.*

I recently reread Frankenstein and, upon finishing, decided I wanted all the retellings. I started with this one, and I'm really glad I got the chance to read it because it was a beautiful, somewhat bittersweet story about brothers and grief and monsters and what it means to be human.

I will admit the pacing was slow and a bit uneven. Something happened near the beginning, then there was a span of the
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Elise (TheBookishActress)
“You took my life and Oliver's life and made them into this book. You made us into monsters, both of us.”


Actual Rating: 3.5 stars. Do you ever read books that don't really stand out? That you love while reading, but can't think of anything standout to mention? That's how I felt about this. It's a very solid and well-paced book, it's lacking in romance but strong in friendship, and it's a creative retelling. But there's nothing here that makes me cry with delight, you know? A fun read, but not
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Molly
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
HUGE thank you to HarperCollins for sending me an ARC of this book!

OLIVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!

end of review.

....

Okay no sorry I lied. I am just OLIVER.

Okay, so this book! I have a little story behind this book. Back when the cover came out (I think I was still in Japan? idk) I was like 'wow, monsters, clockwork men... sounds like my kinda book! (I'm a closet monster/cyborg fan. They're HOT.) and I followed the author on twitter. Then I moved to Boston and I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW SHE LIVES HERE OKAY. I was a
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Maria
I devoured it in one sitting! This one is a really great retelling.
Faith Simon
This is a rich, steampunk reimagining of Frankenstein. I don't have much experience with steampunk, but after reading this I find I can certainly be a fan of similar works.
I love re-tellings, and this book was no exception. But this one is interesting because rather than re-telling the story itself, it's a reimagining of the circumstances around the story, including real people like Mary Shelley who wrote it. I really liked this and thought it was immensely interesting. We don't often see this
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Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
Jun 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Lee's well written, well told debut novel set in a Victorian steampunk era was fascinating and makes one wonder that it is her first novel. With words that are sometimes lyrical and a setting that is every bit as believable and it fantastical, this story really does stick out and jump off the pages.

Having been one that was always fascinated with Dr. Frankenstein and his freakish monster, it was no wonder that when I saw This Monstrous Thing, I didn't hesitate one iota to pick it up and dive rig
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Kaitlin
Dec 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2015
*I received an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I could tell This Monstrous Thing was well written. It was just the feeling--I knew I was reading a great book. The atmosphere was intriguing and the take on Frankenstein was creative. I loved that it focused on brothers and had a mechanical side. I also loved that the original book was IN this retelling. There was very little romance, which seemed to suit the book well. The book had a nice ending and good themes.

Sooo . . . why d
...more
Dahlia
May 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is not at all my usual kind of read and I enjoyed it so. Much. Did not expect to read it in one sitting but whoops!
Creatyvebooks
My mind is completely blown. This is such an innovated retelling of Frankenstein that I have ever read. Not only is it filled with such breathtaking details but it's beautiful at it's core. So much emotion takes place as one tows the line of playing GOD and questions what it means to be human.

For the die hard Frankenstein fans out there this is a must have to add to your collection. I truly enjoyed reading This Monstrous Thing. Mackenzi Lee has found a fan in me and I can't wait to read more of
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Jessica Cluess
Sep 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a weird and wonderful reimagining of the Frankenstein story. In 1818 Geneva, Alasdair has brought his brother, Oliver, back to life with the help of clockwork. Now, with the publication of Frankenstein, their lives get even more complicated. It's so refreshing to have two siblings as the emotional core of a YA fantasy. The writing is fantastic, the clockwork is imaginative, and Alasdair is an intriguing protagonist. You're not completely sure whether to trust him or not. This is a fantas ...more
The Girl Murdered by Her TBR
a frankenstein retelling? oh wow! gonna give this one a try soon-ish???
Aj Sterkel
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Guys, I love this book so much! My first five-star read of 2018. It’s not a mind-blowing, brilliant piece of literature, but that doesn’t matter because I basically inhaled this book. It’s compulsively readable. It kept me awake for most of the night because I had to know how it ended.

Alasdair is a Shadow Boy, a mechanic who builds prosthetic limbs. In 1800s Europe, this is a dangerous profession because people see the fusing of flesh and machine as disgusting and unholy. Alasdair’s family is f
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Ally
Jul 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
"We're all monsters," I said. "We're all careless and cruel in the end."


3.5 stars

Let me preface this by saying that I am not a huge fan of the classics. On time I tried to read Wuthering Heights and it took me the entire summer to read the first 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, whic
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Fonda Lee
Oct 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
STEAMPUNK FRANKENSTEIN, PEOPLE! What else do you need to know?!

If you haven't already run out to buy it on those two words alone, let me assure you that this book is so good it hurts. This Monstrous Thing takes the original Mary Shelley story and infuses it with fantastic clockwork and unforgettable characters: the brilliant but guilt-burdened Alasdair, his volatile brother Oliver, and a nuanced and complicated supporting cast, each character with his or her own ambitions and secrets. The book
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Jodi Meadows
A steampunk Frankenstein retelling! And definitely a must-read for those looking for books about brothers, and books very light on romance.
Celine
Aug 29, 2015 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this steampunk rendition of Frankenstein, but ultimately the story left me as cold as the monster's corpse.

Alasdair Finch is a Shadow Boy. He knows how to use clockwork parts to make mechanical limbs for people. When his brother dies, he does the incredible - he brings Oliver back to life. But Oliver is no longer who he used to be.

Set in an alternate version of nineteenth century Geneva, This Monstrous Thing is loosely inspired on the real-life Mary Shelley and the publication of Fran
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Paul Decker
Dec 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
*I received this book as an eARC from Katherine Tegen Books via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review*

This book was so much more than I expected! I LOVED it! It was heavier than I thought it would be, in subject matter considering I read this on my kindle. It started as a slow read, but I really got into it. The long chapters made me want to make sure I'd finish the whole chapter in one sitting. Between chapters, the book just kept coming up in my thoughts. This book was a thinker.

This boo
...more
McKelle George
Sep 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read so many books that I tend not to spam the internet with everything awesome I’m reading, but this is an exception because it’s 1) a particularly awesome book, and 2) written by a particularly awesome person. I have been biding my time. Lying in wait, you might say. Often when you recommend a book that isn’t published yet, people are like, “Oh, yeah, that sounds cool,” but they forget about it because the book won’t be available for months.

BUT NOT THIS BOOK.

This one will be here in a week,
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Sara
Actual Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Set in Geneva, Switzerland in 1818 (the year when Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was published), This Monstrous Thing explores the question, "What if there was a real-life inspiration behind Frankenstein?". Enter Alasdair Finch, a Shadow Boy who uses machinery to give new limbs to French Revolution and Napoleonic War survivors. However, Alasdair has done the unthinkable: Using his talents, he's brought his older brother Oliver back from the dead - and Oliver is no longer
...more
Tiffany (About to Read)
This review was originally posted on About to Read. For Fairytale fashions, reads, and more visit abouttoread.com

***

This Monstrous Thing was a bit different than I expected, but in a good way. Rather than just re-telling Frankenstein, Mackenzi Lee explores what may have caused Mary Shelley to write the story. Seeing Shelley in the story, as well as the incorporation of artificial limbs was brilliant and such an interesting addition to the classic we all love.

Artificial limbs are not a big deal t
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Iris
4.5 stars

This was so good, and dark, and really atmospheric and unique. I loved it. A lot.

I ADORED the characters! The main character was such a tortured sweetheart, and I really, really liked him! He was so full of emotion. Love, and regret, and determination, and he was SUCH a rich character! I. Loved. Him.

And the brother was SUCH AN AMAZING CHARACTER!!!!!! His worries about not being human enough, not being capable of human feelings, were SO raw and real. And wow, what a stunning character.
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Anna J. Shelby ☕
This is a tale of two brothers struggling in a gothic steampunk era. The one more despicable and monstrous than the other. We follow Alasdair, narrating the story. Having reanimated his dead brother, he now keeps him hidden in a gloomy castle. And Oliver doesn't particularly like it. Being isolated and lonely he stuggles with self-loathing and gnawing self-doubt. Being born into a family of Shadow Boys (manufacturers of clockwork-prostethics) the Finch family has to do their work in secret, due ...more
Stacee
Apr 10, 2015 rated it liked it
I was really excited about this book when I first read the synopsis, but as it came closer to the time to read it, that excitement was gone.

I did like the story and the characters. The writing is good and the plot was interesting. It kept me turning the pages, but I wasn't captivated by any part of it.

Don't get me wrong, there isn't anything wrong with it, I just couldn't get into the story like I was hoping to.

**Huge thanks to Katherine Tegen and Edelweiss for providing the arc in exchange f
...more
Shelly
Oct 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
You can check out this review and more like it on Read.Sleep.Repeat.

I received this book for review from the publisher. This does not influence my thoughts on the book or my review.

I read Frankenstein over a year ago and I have to say I’m not a fan of classics. However, I’m a fan of retellings, especially ones that make me appreciate classics I didn’t appreciate so much. This Monstrous Thing was definitely a retelling that did justice to Frankenstein.

Alastair is a Shadow Boy, a mechanic that fix
...more
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3,269 followers
Mackenzi Lee holds a BA in history and an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Simmons College. She is the New York Times bestselling author of the historical fantasy novels THIS MONSTROUS THING and THE GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE (HarperCollins), as well as the forthcoming THE LADY'S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY and SEMPER AUGUSTUS (coming in 2019 from Flatiron/Macmillan). ...more

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“...you made a human being. And humans are, by nature, monstrous.” 13 likes
“We're all monsters. We're all careless and cruel in the end.” 11 likes
More quotes…