Review Blog

Sep 05 2014

Man made boy by Jon Skovron

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Allen & Unwin, 2013. ISBN 9781743315132.
(Age: 14+) This is a coming-of-age novel with a difference, described as 'hilarious, romantic and wildly imaginative' and it is all that indeed. Boy is the son of Frankenstein's Monster and his Bride and as you can imagine this is not a family that could easily fit into a normal human suburban life. Instead they live in a community of magical creatures in a labyrinth underneath a Broadway theatre which continually runs a magical show featuring all the assorted societal misfits of the commune: the Diva (Medusa), troll dancers, Charon the ferryman who acts as stage hand, the Siren whose act befuddles every adult audience, and led by the redoubtable undead Ruthven.
Boy's only interaction with the world of humans is through the Internet where he hangs out with other geeks and pursues his passion for creating coding. Like all teenagers he chafes at the restrictions of his life and yearns to escape the rigidity of his confined existence. When conflict with his parents escalates Boy takes off and attempts to fit into the human world, banking on his newly created super code to fund his adventure. But something goes seriously wrong. His code evolves itself into a powerful Artificial Intelligence which begins to stalk him with disastrous results.
As Boy attempts to dodge and destroy VI (Virtual Intelligence), his own creation, he is led to other magical enclaves where he meets up with more mythical misfits and embarks on a bizarre road trip with the granddaughter/s of infamous Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde. Their cross country trek introduces Boy to country diners, shopping malls, undisguised curiosity by strangers, danger, love and heartbreak. However, no matter how he tries to escape his own creation, the time comes when he must face it down and rescue his family.
A wonderful story of wild adventures, acceptance and tolerance, the importance of family support and being true to oneself, this was a real page turner and fun to read. Both male and female young adults, from around 14 up would find it immensely appealing. Some strong language and sexual references would lead me to suggest that your older readers would be the most suitable audience.
Visit the author's website here .
Sue Warren

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