Friday, November 22, 2013

Review: Man Made Boy

Man Made Boy
By Jon Skovron
Published 2013 by Viking Penguin

The only life Boy has ever known is The Show - after all, it would be difficult for the son of Frankenstein's Monster and the Bride to live among humans. Besides, he lives a pretty intense life on the Internet; Boy has amazing hacking skills. But when Boy's hacking goes awry, he'll have to set out for the world of humans - and maybe find a place he really belongs.

A tweet from Libba Bray about the greatness of this book was all it took for me to scrawl the title on my to-read list. Even better, it popped up as an e-galley on Edelweiss, so I snagged it while I could. I like stories that build from other stories - and this one has that in spades, including Frankenstein's Monster, Jekyll and Hyde, the Siren, and many more infamous "monsters."

The book is separated into parts, each focusing on a different part of Boy's journey (man, I wish he had a real name by the end of the book). Unfortunately, not all the parts are equal - I found part 2 dragged quite a bit for me. In contrast, I absolutely flew through parts 3, 4, and 5 - the characters and conflict have been established and the action really picks up. Part 2 seemed like an unnecessary bridge between parts 3 and 4 and I think it lasted longer than necessary. Overall, though, I liked the separation of the book into these parts, as they easily signaled that the focus would shift slightly.

I also really like Boy - he's a new creation (if you will) by Skovron, and I think he does a great job placing him in the context of our world. What would it be like for Frankenstein's Monster in modern times? While Boy is not exactly the same as his father, he shares many similarities. I think the whole notion of creation vs. creator is explored really well throughout the book - it's something Boy has to struggle with and doesn't fully understand until the final pages. I also liked Claire and Sophie - I thought Skovron offered an interesting take on Jekyll and Hyde with the girls. I liked how they were similar but also had differences.

I thought the idea of VI was well-done, though I'm very fuzzy on the science of it (would such a thing be possible? and the whole explanation of Boy's defeat of her basically went over my head). All in all, I thought this was a fun and well-done read, with lots of appeal.

Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.

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