Tainted, by A. E. Rought, continues the modern Frankenstein story of Alex Franks and his girlfriend, Emma, as they cope with the tragic consequences of Alex’s reanimation. They thought that the ability of Alex’s father to hurt them ended with Dr. Franks death, but the events he set in motion continue to haunt them from beyond the grave. In addition to his weekly shocks and formula treatment, Alex must cope with the machinations of his manipulative ex-girlfriend, Hailey. Brilliant and beautiful, she will do anything to get Alex back – even if that means ruining Emma’s life.
This book gripped me even more than the first book, especially since it broke away from the original Frankenstein story. There are still science fiction elements tied into Ascension labs, but I found this story less predictable than its predecessor. The characters are just as engaging, but the mystery is deeper. Who is really orchestrating the catastrophic events in Alex and Emma’s lives? Is it the the evil ex or perhaps the kindly scientist who looks out for Alex after his father’s death? Every time I thought I had it figured out, the plot took another surprising turn.
Though the stakes are nothing less than life and death, the romance between Alex and Emma heightens the already skyrocketing tension. High School is enough of an emotional rollercoaster without adding a psychotic girlfriend, a mad scientist, and the raging hormones of teenage romance.
Though this is a sequel, Tainted reads just as well as a stand alone. Some references are made to the previous novel, Broken, but they do not stand out as such. Rather, vague references are sprinkled throughout the text, enough to give the reader needed information and remind those already acquainted with book one.
Readers will fall in love with Alex and Emma, cheer them on through their trials and tribulations, and hate the villains passionately. Beautifully written, with a fantastic plot and intriguing characters, Tainted is part science fiction and mystery, with a healthy dose of teenage romance thrown in. Fans of all three genres should enjoy this novel.