Thursday, December 5, 2013

Jon Skovron Week: Man Made Boy

Man Made Boy by Jon Skovron

Boy isn't much of a name. But, he doesn't think he's much of a person either. Made from spare parts by his father (Frankenstein's creation) and mother (the bride), he is unlike the rest of the humans in his city, but also unlike the monsters that populate the freak show where his parents work. Humans come in every night to see the acts of the trolls, Medusa and the siren, they are wowed by the "special effects," as they see just what they want to see and nothing more. The monsters may love the limelight, but Boy is way more at home on the computer than on stage.


But, when he sets free a sentient computer virus, Boy is suddenly forced out of the dark safety of his room and out into the open road. With the help of the granddaughters of Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde, will he be able to stop his own out-of-control creation? Can he face the fact that he may have created his own monster?

Jon Skovron has created a world where the monsters of every horror movie you've ever seen are hanging out in plain sight. But, readers won't feel like they are reading about a fantasy land, instead it's definitely New York City, except behind the glasses of the larger man passing you on the street are wolf's eyes. Also, it's easy to recognize the camaraderie and infighting of a theater company when you read about the show where Boy lives, just with a few extra trolls. Boy's struggles are easy to identify with as well, lots of us struggle with fitting in and finding our way, even if our faces don't look like they've been in a "thresher accident."

There is so much going on in this book and I don't want to give anything away. It's fast moving and full of smart, witty dialogue and characters that are each more memorable and interesting than the last. It's got pop culture references for theater nerds and computer geeks, movie buffs and gamers. Just like it's narrator, Man Made Boy, is a lot of different things, skillfully engineered together. Part cyber thriller, part urban fantasy, part great American road trip and yes, part first love story, you are not going to want to miss how the pieces fit together into a un-put-downable whole

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