ARC Review – This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee

22811807Title:  Never Always Sometimes

Author: Adi Alsaid

Rating:  ★★★★★

Synopsis:  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 from the dead.

But putting back together a broken life is more difficult than mending bones and adding clockwork pieces. Oliver returns more monster than man, and Alasdair’s horror further damages the already troubled relationship.

Then comes the publication of Frankenstein and the city intensifies its search for Shadow Boys, aiming to discover the real life doctor and his monster. Alasdair finds refuge with his idol, the brilliant Dr. Geisler, who may offer him a way to escape the dangerous present and his guilt-ridden past, but at a horrible price only Oliver can pay…

HUGE thank you to HarperCollins for sending me an ARC of this book!

River’s Review:


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 at an event for Lori Goldstein’s book and I heard someone whisper behind me “That’s Mackenzi Lee… author of This Monstrous Thing!” and I was like say what? I have an eARC of that!!!! And like an hour after the even ended I got up my courage to said hi and we fangirled about Maggie (Ganseyyyy) and now we’re friends so it went from being a book that hooked me with monsters to being a book written by a friend and I was all OMG about reading and reviewing it because I AM SO SCARED TO READ BOOKS WRITTEN BY FRIENDS.

But I loved this. Lately I’ve been in the mood for fantasy (to balance out all of the contemporary I like to read in the summer, and the winter, and the fall… okay…) so this was just perfect for me (as I was in between two super summery contemporary books). I loved the setting, the dark atmosphere, the fact that it was set in the winter, the liberties taken with the real history it was based on and… Oliver.

This is a book about two brothers and the monstrous things they do. Oliver is dead and then Alasdair brings him back to life and hides him in a castle. Alasdair is a Shadow Boy; he works on clockwork body parts that replace the missing limbs of war veterans, and he’s damn good at it. His brother’s mentor, Giesler, was working on reanimation, and Alasdair figured out how to improve it and make it better, make it work. So when Oliver ends up in pieces, Alasdair puts him back together.

I loved the world that Lee creates. I loved the tension in the streets, the very real prejudices against the clockwork men. A lot of it can be related to our time, to ten, twenty, fifty years ago. Politics and segregation, police brutality… all pretty timeless stuff. I loved how Alasdair and his family ran a toy shop to cover up the fact that they were making mechanical body parts! The creep factor in this book was high and I LOVED it.

As I mentioned, I am all hearts in the eyes of Oliver. Give me monsters, give me vampires, give me shapeshifters, give me broken men, give me cyborgs. I loved how sassy and mean Oliver was and I loved how he played off Alasdair, their banter was the best. I loved how Oliver questioned himself and how both brothers though themselves monsters despite appearances.

I also adored Clemence. She really won me over and I had a few OMG NOOOO moments when it came to her well being. Mary was horrid, and I loved how horrid she was. I wanted to off Giesler from page one, and Alasdair was a perfect narrator. It was easy to slip into his mind and to feel what he was feeling.

Overall this book was awesome and I feel like fans of steam punk, historical fantasy and even gothic horror will enjoy this!

2 thoughts on “ARC Review – This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee

  1. Pingback: This Monstrous Weekend! | Cherry Blossoms & Maple Syrup

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