This Monstrous Thing
by Mackenzi Lee
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: September 22nd 2015
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…
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Robin Hood (the Disney animated version)
This changes every day! Right now it’s Weeds or Wildflowers by Parsonsfield
Vanilla soft serve ice cream
The Night Circus, The alternate-history turn of the century in Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, Where The Wild Things Are
Oh gosh, so many things. I’m a perpetual fangirl, and it’s most often characterized by a refusal to shut up about the things I love. Lately I’ve been hardcore fangirling Mad Max, the Dead Authors Podcast, and Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee.
The collective noun for a group of hedgehogs is a prickle. You’re welcome.
Hello Mackenzi! We are super excited to have you in our FFBC tours.
I am much excited to be here!
This Monstrous Thing is a steampunk Frankenstein reimagining set in an alternate-Switzerland in 1818, about a boy who brings his brother back from the dead.
Alasdair is a pretty straight-faced guy with little to no sense of humor. He’s right-brained and clever, with a particular passion for mechanical things and how they work. He’s also fiercely loyal, the kind of guy who would come pick you up in the middle of the night on the other side of town if you texted him “come get me.”
My initial exposure to Frankenstein came through a stage production at the National Theater. I’d never read the book before and knew nothing about it other than what everyone knows from pop culture, so I was totally knocked over by their interpretation of the story, and how said story was very different than everything I thought I knew about Frankenstein. That production was definitely in my head when I wrote This Monstrous Thing. When I’m working on a book, I feel like a sponge—so much of what I’m reading and watching and listening to ends up influencing my work. Lots of Gothic literature, lots of Frankenstein retellings, and the music of The Mountain Goats were all rattling around in my brain.
“It would always be us, dead or alive or alive again, locked like gears so that neither of us could turn without moving the other.”
So many! I really loved writing the scenes between Alasdair and his brother Oliver that take place in the past, because in spite of being the central relationship of the novel, they don’t share a lot of screen time in the present narrative. It was so fun to write them together.
A song called Autoclave by the Mountain Goats. The Mountain Goats actually have an entire album called The Life of the World to Come which fits the novel really perfectly, but Autoclave is my particular favorite. I didn’t know what it was when I first heard it, and I spent twenty minutes intensely Googling the lyrics I could remember to find it! To me, it’s a song about the fear that you are too broken or cruel or inhuman to be worthy of love. Since there are a lot of characters in this book who think themselves this monstrous, it’s pretty appropriate.
Heat up some wassail, be sure there is a fantastic storm beating down the windows, and have a fainting couch nearby.
Hearing from readers about their reactions to the book. I don’t think that will ever stop being magic.
I have another book coming out with Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins in 2017 and I am super excited about it! It is unrelated to THIS MONSTROUS THING, but is another historical fantasy set across Enlightenment-era Europe. There is travel and magic and two best friends who are a little bit in love.
Thank you so much for everything, Mackenzi!
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Mackenzi Lee holds a BA in history and an MFA from Simmons College in writing for children and young adults. She loves Diet Coke, sweater weather, and Star Wars. On a perfect day, she can be found enjoying all three. She currently lives in Boston, where she works as a bookseller and almost never reanimates corpses. Almost.
Blog Tour Prize Pack (US ONLY):
One winner will receive...
A hardcover copy of THIS MONSTROUS THING
A pair of Frankenstein socks
A copy of the Color Your Own Graphic Novel Frankenstein
THIS MONSTROUS THING postcards, bookmarks, and buttons