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review 2017-10-24 21:43
Great fantasy story
Hope and Red (The Empire of Storms) - Jon Skovron

Only little niggle: feels a bit simple.


But it is fast paced, interesting world-building and a good set of main and side characters.


Made for a great read.

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review 2014-03-19 20:51
Man Made Boy - Jon Skovron

The unbelievable amount of creativity in this book is impressive. Every magical creature or myth you could possibly imagine is given a twist and added to the cast of "Man Made Boy". The mashup on Medusa is, by far, my favorite of all the characters. Known as "The Diva", Medusa horrifies and entices people from her extra-large dressing room. But it's not just the twist that makes me love her--it's the constant wisdom and insightful life lessons she imparts on Boy that make her, in my opinion, the most complex and interesting character in the entire book. That isn't to say there are not other wonderfully fun and inventive twists throughout the book--Skovron's take on Frankenstein's Bride are also inventive and fun, but lacks the depth of his Medusa.

Another aspect of this book that I absolutely loved were the tech references. This is probably because I work in the technology field, but the fact that one of the characters is named VI after the visual editing software made me so happy I could almost cry. But the author is not just a tech lover in the way he structures his story and characters--his note at the end of the book about supporting open source software was something I had never seen before. An author taking a stand against big bad Microsoft Word is, to me, an unbelievably admirable feat. You go, Skovron!

So if I like this book so much, why only 3.5 stars? I will tell you. The characters were inventive, the plot was interesting, but the plot twists themselves felt entirely too abrupt. So much happened throughout the book, but it never felt like Boy spent enough time in any one place for the reader to get a good sense of the setting and its people. I think if this book had been split into at least two parts, the author would have had more time to extrapolate on Boy's adventures instead of feeling the need to rush through them unnecessarily.

Overall, "Man Made Boy" was a fun, unbelievably inventive read. I loved the mashup monster characters and the technological focus of the story. My only issues were with the abrupt plot twists, which made the story feel too rushed.

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review 2013-11-02 05:19
Man Made Boy by Jon Skovron
Man Made Boy - Jon Skovron

Difficult to define, even more difficult to describe. Skovron's canvas is epic in imagination and scope. He doesn't pick with the little stuff, choosing instead the big big everythings - themes, mythic resonances, characters, story, romance and family. It's got it all. 

Boy is such a good boy. Even when he's (trying to be) bad, he's fighting his moral fibre. But he takes a while to sort out where he's headed. I like that he sets out anyway, not sure of his plans, his destination or his future. He's realistic, but still wondering. He makes mistakes, and eventually tries to fix them. He falls in love, once, twice, no three times (a lady). Oh it's fantastical, it's quirky, it's sad.

At the centre of it all is the question of creation, and what it means to be alive. I told you - he's all about the big stuff.

This is weird and wonderful, and if you have those intelligent left-of-centre readers in your library, then you know just who to give it to.

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review 2013-10-24 04:19
Man Made Boy: Read it if....
Man Made Boy - Jon Skovron

Read it if:

* you’re a sucker for a good YA/sci fi/modern mythology/coming-of-age/paranormal romance crossover novel


* you’ve ever had stitches (or indeed bolts) in a prominent place, and felt that this may have inhibited your ability to blend seamlessly into polite society


* you are, or have ever entertained the dream of becoming, a mad scientist who creates a sentient, yet fundamentally flawed, creature for your own entertainment and/or personal gain


* you can overlook some minor problems with pacing and plot provided that there is at least one character with a rhyming name.  (…Paging Shaun the Faun…your presence is required…)

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review 2013-10-19 00:00
Man Made Boy - Jon Skovron Full review at: http://thebookshelfgargoyle.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/arc-read-it-if-review-man-made-boy/

I received an ARC print copy of this book from the publishers in return for an honest review.

It's actually a 3.5 from me, and even as I type this, I feel I might be being a little bit harsh.

Quick Synopsis:
Monstrous son of two famous Monsters goes on a road-trip to find himself while simultaneously creating, setting loose and dealing with the aftermath of, an emotionally unstable and homicidally angry artifical intelligence. Personal insight, romance and mindless violence ensues.

Skovron has created a new and engaging take on some well-used characters and themes that should appeal greatly to a wide spectrum of YA fans. For the paranormal romance buffs there's enough going on to make things interesting, without causing the rest of us to vomit in disgust. For the pop culture crossover buffs, there are enough references to classic film and book characters to satisfy even the snobbiest of literature hipsters. For the sci fi fans, there is a decent smattering of themes relating to artifical life wreaking havoc on humanity. And on an entirely different note, avid readers who are also CosPlayers will be spoiled for choice after reading this.

I did enjoy this book quite a lot, but I feel I have to mark it down a bit because of a major plotline that seemed to disappear for great chunks of the narrative, yet show up conveniently when the author wanted to drive home the coming-of-age/taking-responsibility-for-your-actions theme. I felt the author meshed this aspect of the book far better in the second half of the novel, but early on it seemed a bit transparent to me and really set the book as a teen novel, rather than a YA book that has appeal to adult readers as well. Having said that, there were great swathes of the book during which I really wanted to read on and stick with the characters and if I based my rating on the second half of the book alone, I would have given it a four.

This is a good choice for those who don't mind a bit of fun fantasy that is unashamedly pitched at the teen market.

Recommended for a bit of enjoyable summer reading.

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