A wildly creative Gothic fantasy retelling of Frankenstein, This Monstrous Thing is a wholly new reimagining of the classic novel by Mary Shelley and is perfect for fans of retellings such as Cinder by Marissa Meyer, fantasy by Libba Bray and Cassandra Clare, and alternative history by Scott Westerfeld.
In an alternative fantasy world where some men are made from clockwork parts and carriages are steam powered, Alasdair Finch, a young mechanic, does the unthinkable after his brother dies: he uses clockwork pieces to bring Oliver back from the dead.
But the resurrection does not go as planned, and Oliver returns more monster than man. Even worse, the novel Frankenstein is published and the townsfolk are determined to find the real-life doctor and his monster. With few places to turn for help, the dangers may ultimately bring the brothers together—or ruin them forever.
Lee's accomplished first novel envisions an early-19th-century Geneva where clockwork technology is common yet controversial. Alasdair Finch works for his father selling mechanical goods to well-to-do citizens while secretly fixing artificial body parts for those who have them, despite the attached social stigma so-called "mechanicals" suffer. Unbeknownst to his father, Alasdair has used clockwork technology to resurrect Oliver, his dead brother. Oliver looks and feels like a monster, so Alasdair keeps him hidden in a ruined castle outside the city. The only other person who knows of Oliver's existence is Mary Godwin or, as history knows her, Mary Shelley. When an anonymous novel called Frankenstein appears, Alasdair is shocked to realize that it's about his family, and the book fans hatred in Geneva against mechanicals. Lee does a fine job of incorporating Shelley and her illustrious husband into her clockwork universe, which should especially please those familiar with Frankenstein and its author. The characters are suitably tormented, in accordance with Romantic tradition, and occasional language anachronisms ("It was a shitty choice") are only minor distractions. Ages 13 up.