Saturday, January 4, 2014

Book Review: Man Made Boy

Man Made Boy, by Jon Skovron.

"He didn't seem all that freaked out by me. And he was pretty comfortable with you, too. What about all that predator and prey stuff you were talking about?"

"Carmine may not believe in monsters, but he knows they exist."

"Humans are pretty complicated," I said.

"No, Boy. Rain-forest ecosystems are complicated. Humans are just a mess."

This may be the most unique novel I have read in quite some time. Everyone knows that Victor Frankenstein created a monster, and then the Bride, his companion; but what they might not know, from this book, is that Frankenstein's monster and the Bride then made (manufactured) a son, whom they named Boy. This novel is the tale of Boy's introduction into human society and his computer hacker exploits.

Official synopsis:
Sixteen-year-old Boy’s never left home. When you’re the son of Frankenstein’s monster and the Bride, it’s tough to go out in public, unless you want to draw the attention of a torch-wielding mob. And since Boy and his family live in a secret enclave of monsters hidden under Times Square, it’s important they maintain a low profile.

Boy’s only interactions with the world are through the Internet, where he’s a hacker extraordinaire who can hide his hulking body and stitched-together face behind a layer of code. When conflict erupts at home, Boy runs away and embarks on a cross-country road trip with the granddaughters of Jekyll and Hyde, who introduce him to malls and diners, love and heartbreak. But no matter how far Boy runs, he can’t escape his demons—both literal and figurative—until he faces his family once more.

This hilarious, romantic, and wildly imaginative tale redefines what it means to be a monster—and a man.

This novel was a fun read. I haven't read sci-fi or fantasy fiction in a while, and Boy's adventures were definitely interesting. He and his family are part of The Show, a Broadway show in Times Square operated by the monsters they live with. His dad has to "turn off" every night in order to be impervious to Medusa and the Siren's powers, and when he "turns back on," all of his pent-up emotions from that time period bubble to the surface.

His mom, the Bride, hasn't been "Outside" in more than 20 years, and Boy has never been outside, until one day when the stage manager, Ruthven, takes him with him on a few errands. Boy later learns his parents plan to send him to the University of Geneva, in Switzerland, with one caveat: he will be living with descendants of Victor Frankenstein, the creator with whom his father has a love/hate relationship. Boy does not like this at all, and runs away, trying to make it on his own in the human world.

This book would make a fantastic movie. Boy is described as ugly by human standards, but he still manages to pass for human, and I wonder exactly what he looks like - he's supposedly a bit like his father, a little more toned-down. His mother, the Bride, is described as having a porcelain, pale face, and is very delicate-looking despite the stitches on her face, a trait they all share.

The author went and got a Man Made Boy-inspired tattoo recently, too, which you can check out below:

4 stars out of 5.

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.


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