ARC Review: This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee

Title: This Monstrous Thing
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Genre: Steampunk, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction 
Source: Edelweiss 
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: September 22nd 2015
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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…


Steampunk Frankenstein. That was it for me to be like "Huh, this is something that seems good." This book was absolutely amazing. The story is set in 1818 Geneva, men can now live with clockwork parts and the people who help build them are called Shadow Boys. That's what Alasdair and his brother Oliver are. Two years ago after Oliver's death, Alasdair wracked with grief bought Oliver back from the dead using clockwork parts and Dr. Geisler's journals. Now, Oliver looks like a "monster" enough that Alsdair can no longer look him in the eye. After the publication of Frankenstein the city is in hysterics, the police are tightening control and Alasdair is forced the flee from his home and into the refuge of Geisler, who will do anything to get his hands on the miracle that he calls Oliver. 

Alasdair: I really did like his character. His is the main protagonist and bought Oliver back from the dead. He is a talented Shadow boy and worked beneath his father for years. As the story goes on we learn more about Alasdair, and his grief, desperation, and horror of what his brother has now become. 
Oliver: When the people start a revolt Oliver becomes Frankenstein to them. He is the clockwork man. He is no longer the boy that you see in Alaasdair's flashbacks, you can see that when he came back that something didn't fall into place properly. 
Mary: Long story short? She is literally the cause of most of the problems. Frankenstein is written anonymously, but as the reader it is easy to figure out that Mary was the one to write it. No matter how she defended herself she betrayed Alasdair and Oliver both. The little bit in the end where she tried to redeem herself made me laugh. She is a coward. 
Clemence: She is my favorite character, also a Clockwork man (or woman I should say) who was saved by Geisler and now practically his slave in order to work the price of him saving her life, saves and then befriends Alasdair. I wanted to know so much more about her! She reveals to Alasdair when they are talking about their first kiss that her first kiss wasn't with a boy but another girl. I wish that Mackenzi had touched upon that more. But all in all, she is by far my favorite character! 

The plot and the world building in This Monstrous Thing was beautiful. It was easy to picture the time period and everything that was going on. I wish in the ending that we go a little more closure about certain things but for the most part it all wrapped up nicely and left me content enough to know that good things would probably be coming for some people and bad things for others. 

(4.5 Stars) 


  1. I had NO clue what this book was even about, only that I really wanted it! I'm so excited to pick this up now. I've always loved the story of Frankenstein, and with this story having elements of steampunk sprinkled in, I'm def reading it asap.

    Tika @fANGIRLconfessions

  2. I've been seeing this book everywhere but unfortunately, steampunk is a genre I'm not interested in. I like historical fiction but steampunk doesn't sound like my cup of tea. It's tempting that it's a Frankenstein retelling because I have yet to see any books about that. But I really love that cover and I'm glad you enjoyed this :)

    ~Karina @ A Reader Under The Sea

  3. Gah I am jealous you got to read this one. But I am so glad that you enjoyed it! (still jealous). I hadn't read a lot of steampunk books but once I started I could not stop.

    I am glad that the world building was good too! Great review Amber :)

    Jamie @ Books and Ladders


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