The young adult novel, Man Made Boy tells a tale of trolls and nymphs, robots and dragons, living throughout the United States, and having to hide from the non-magical public. The story looks from the point of view of 17-year-old Boy, who is the son of the Frankenstein Monster, and his Bride. Boy is a tech geek living in an underground commune of monsters in the heart of New York City, who make a living running a unique Broadway show. In the show the creatures display their powers as though they are merely special effects and makeup.
Boy feels cramped and unhappy living underground, performing these menial day to day tasks. He doesn’t fit in with the magical teenagers, he himself falling somewhere between magic and science. He spends most of his free time in his room, talking to his tech geek human friends online, and developing his AI virus. When he learns what his father has in store for his future, he leaves the commune to live with an internet friend in the city. With no legal identification, and only barely passing as a human, Boy does not have an easy time living in human New York City. Not to mention the fact that his AI creation (who has named herself VI for Viral Intelligence) has come to life, and is on a murderous mission of world domination! Boy somehow finds himself in an action packed adventure with the daughters of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (who take turns in one body, just like their grandfather) trying to find a place call home, and figure out how to defeat his maniacal creation.
Man Made Boy is a unique, fast paced, and attention grabbing story. Instead of focusing on vampires and zombies, as so many of the recent young adult novels do, it takes all of the other fantastical monsters, and then weaves them into a city setting. At times, this story can get a little bit overwhelming with the action; what with Boy running away from home, his troll girlfriend hiding her appearance with drug-like glamour, the electronic rampage of VI, and not to mention Jekyll and Hyde’s brother chasing the girls down to rip them apart and kill Claire Hyde.
There is a fair amount of character development throughout the story for Boy. He realizes that he has to take responsibility for his creations, and that things may have turned out differently for his AI if he had shown her the way, and considered her side of things, instead of merely trying to push her out of his life. There are parallels drawn between Boy, and his father’s creator, Dr. Frankenstein, and how their fear and neglect of their confused creations caused a great amount of unnecessary peril. Boy is forced to face the fact that things are not always in simple black and white.
Overall, this story is a great one, and it sends out a message of family, friendship, love, and not only accepting, but flourishing in who you are.