Here’s what they say:
YA author Skovron builds on his strengths in his first book for adults, diving deep into the lives of two, gruesomely orphaned children in an Earthsea-like island realm. The land is ruled by a degenerate imperium whose amoral face is the biomancers—part scientist and part sorcerer—who operate with utter impunity for ends of their own. Bleak Hope is the sole survivor of a village destroyed by a biomancer. She’s raised by the leader of a sect of warrior monks who give her all the skills she will need to wreak vengeance. Red, son of a chemical-addicted artist and a prostitute, hitches his star to Sadie the Goat, who mentors him into becoming the greatest thief in the stews of New Laven. When the adolescents emerge from their apprenticeships, they launch their adult voyages. Skovron’s eye for characterization and situations is exceptional, raising this from a fun ninja and pirate mash-up to a compelling coming-of-age yarn that genuinely merits a multivolume treatment.
I’m not sure I need to add anything to that 🙂
Hope and Red made the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of June 2016 on the Barnes and Noble SF&F Blog. Here’s what it says:
Skovron’s first foray into adult fiction is an unexpected ride into a richly-imagined fictional world. On an island realm ruled by amoral and self-interested Biomancers—men and women skilled in a powerful combination of magic and science—two children from vastly different backgrounds come of age. Bleak Hope survives the destruction of her village by a biomancer and is trained by a group of warrior priests for revenge. Red is the son of drug addicts and prostitutes, trained to be the greatest thief the world has ever known. That their fates are intertwined is a given, but Skovron’s briskly-paced story doesn’t skimp on the world-building—and thank goodness, because it’s quite a world.
Here is another great review! This one from School Library Journal:
Boy is the teenage son of Frankenstein’s Monster and the Bride. Yes, his name is just that, Boy. He has spent his entire life living in hiding with other monsters, including vampires, goblins, trolls, dryads, mermaids, and more. In this sequel to Man Made Boy (Viking, 2013), Boy has overcome his fear of humans and ventures to Switzerland to visit the descendants of Dr. Frankenstein. During his visit, Boy becomes embroiled in a conflict that threatens all of humankind. A mysterious doctor attempts to recruit Boy and his fellow monsters to join an army that will overthrow the humans. The protagonist quickly learns that this doctor has been creating disturbing monsters in a lab and that he is willing destroy anything that gets in the way of total monster domination. This work crisscrosses many different genres: fantasy, science fiction, horror, and humor. The plot is fast paced and filled with action, keeping readers engaged. At times, it can be difficult to keep track of all the various characters and their locations, especially for those unfamiliar with the previous volume. However, it can still be enjoyed as a stand-alone title. This book is best suited for older teens due to some mild adult content and some frightening scenes. VERDICT Fans of science fiction and humor will enjoy this clever, monster-filled read.
This Broken Wondrous World is out Aug 4th. Preorder now!
The Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) magazine has a really great review of Broken Wondrous World:
This sequel to Man Made Boy (Viking, 2013/VOYA August 2014) is set in an alternate present where, unbeknownst to humans, monsters are real. Boy, the son of Frankenstein’s monster and the Bride of Frankenstein, must find a way to save monsters and humanity when both existences are threatened by the evil Dr. Moreau and his army of human–animal hybrids and monster followers who demand equality at any cost. In the action-packed story, Boy rejoins old friends—a werewolf and vampire from the New York City theater troupe; his split-personality Jekyll/Hyde girlfriend; Vi, a virtual intelligence that he created; and two new allies, Henri, a descendant of Dr. Frankenstein, and La Perricholi, a Peruvian vigilante, in order to prove that not all monsters are evil.
Boy is an endearing character who continually fights for what he thinks is right. Despite being forced into hiding because he is different, Boy still believes that monsters and humans can coexist peacefully. Skovron draws upon mythology and classic literature to create an enjoyable story with memorable characters. Cursing is used sparingly, and while it is referred to that Boy and his girlfriend have sex, it is never written about directly, making this appropriate for young teens. Enough backstory is given so that new readers will be able to jump right into the series. Recommend this to fans of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Bill Willingham’s Fables series or anyone looking for a fun story with heart.—Marissa Wolf.
I’m in great company, there!
This Broken Wondrous World will be out August 4th. If you preorder now, it really helps out with the sales and marketing stuff.
I’ve been in crazy deadline mode for…a while? I think? What month is it?
Anyway, the Kirkus review is awesome and the last line cracked me up (it’s probably funnier once you’ve read the book. which you will, right? because, I mean, you’ll love it. honestly. unless you don’t like monsters, Swiss graphic designers, or Peruvian assassins, ). So here it the review in its entirety:
Advanced technology, experimental science, inspired revolution in the name of unity: sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. In the time since Boy’s own technological catastrophe nearly outed his monster clan in Man Made Boy (2013), he has left his gritty, familiar home in Manhattan to study at university in Geneva. He’s living on the estate of Dr. Frankenstein, whose descendants consider Boy family, particularly “cousin” and fellow freshman Henri. Boy hasn’t quite settled in when a disappearing dwarf delivers a foreboding message, a carnivorous mermaid tries to eat him, and girlfriend Sophie Jekyll/Claire Hyde arrives with news that her brother Robert Jekyll is up to no good. Boy returns with Henri and Sophie/Claire to New York, where they learn that Robert has joined forces with Dr. Moreau. Cue: disturbing, warped plans of global domination. Characters from the first book join appealing newcomers, but with the high stakes of a monster revolution, the demises of some favorites are inevitable. There is still a fair amount of red-blooded monster boy behavior, but it isn’t all sex, booze, and bloody battles. Affection, sorrow, guilt, anger, and particularly integrity are addressed; paraphrasing Claire, we’re all capable of terrible things, but it’s integrity that separates those who do and don’t succumb. An enjoyably action-laden, sometimes bloody, globe-trotting lesson in what it means to be monster, to be man, and to be careful when serving dryads alcohol. (Science fiction. 12 & up)
And now, back to the deadline cave. Tick tock. Less than a week before the new project is due. Eep!
Catching up on reviews for the Grim anthology…
“Johnson’s anthology of retold fairy tales, most based on Grimm, should be wildly popular as the 17 authors include such well-known names as Ellen Hopkins, Julie Kagawa, Amanda Hocking, and Malinda Lo.”
FYI, Malinda, according to Booklist you are famous. That’s official.
“Many authors bring the tone and focus back to the original Grimm tales, and graphic gore abounds.”
And hmm, wait, what’s this???
“Jon Skovron’s “Raven Princess” has delightful contemporary touches, such as a same-sex giant couple rearing an infant, and a Shrek-like ending.”
Delightful, people. It’s delightful. And has gay giants.
Here’s another great review of GRIM which you should all be getting because it is jam packed with awesomeness, gore, and hot pink on black.
“Johnson (The Gathering Dark) brings together 17 authors in a collection of reimagined fairy tales that hark back to their dark, edgy roots.”
“Overall, the stories are interesting, memorable, and ideal for readers who don’t require happily ever afters.”
Right, so I can’t resist pulling this, too:
“Standouts include Malinda Lo’s “The Twelfth Girl,” which sees “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” set at a boarding school; Jon Skovron’s “The Raven Princess,” which puts a charming twist on the story of a princess cursed to live as a bird; and Tessa Gratton’s “Beauty and the Beast” retelling, “Beast/Beast,” which gives the Beast a worthy adversary”
“The Raven Princess” is charming, people. Delightful and charming.
I know this is just a short story that I’m getting all worked up about. But I took serious stylistic chances with it. I got way out of my comfort zone. It’s nice when that works out. Because I gotta tell you, it doesn’t always.
In which Andrea Cremer says very nice things about Man Made Boy.
The past year offered such a wealth of incredible literature for young adults it was difficult to name just one book. That fact in no way dampens my enthusiasm in naming Man Made Boy as my best book choice for 2013. I adored Jon Skovron’s novel for its originality and the diversity of its endearing, […]
OMFG, you guys.
If you follow my Tumblr regularly, you know how much I link to io9.com. They are hands down my favorite SF and pop culture blog. And today they reviewed Man Made Boy. Not only did they review it, they LOVED it!
Obviously you NEED to go and read the full review and probably comment and reblog or tweet or whatever you do. But if I may just pull some quotes here so you know why I am having trouble typing this through my real man tears…
This is nice:
“No matter what happens in the book, from the outlandish to the mundane, Boy is the grounded teenage voice at the heart of the book, a deeply believable character. The depth of feeling he experiences when he falls in love, when he tries to ignore how he screwed up, when he fails abjectly, makes it easy to forget that he’s constructed out of dead body parts.”
They pretty much nail it here:
“Skovron seems to be trying to show how taking responsibility for one’s actions is how one becomes an adult. And it’s always great when taking responsibility means saving New York City from certain doom, not to mention lots of hand to hand fighting and some explosions.”
And I think I’ll close with this one:
“If Man Made Boy hasn’t been optioned for a film or at least a CW series by the end of the year, we can be assured that Hollywood has actually forgotten how to read. Because Boy, for all his used parts, is an original.”
So, yeah. I’m a happy guy. Today wins.
The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books has a nice review of Man Made Boy, with a special shout-out to El Chupacabra that I rather liked. It’s a subscription service so I can’t link directly to the review, but here’s the text:
“Okay, Boy isn’t quite your average teen—he’s a bit larger, and most of his body is stitched together from spare parts—but he’s still got problems like any seventeen–‐year–‐old kid. These problems include mustering up the courage to ask out his crush (who happens to be a troll), dealing with the expectations of his parents (who happen to be Frankenstein’s Monster and the Bride), and feeling like an outcast in his own community (which happens to be a theatre troupe made up of fantastical creatures, currently residing in vast caverns underneath Times Square). Spooked when his folks mention sending him off to school in Sweden, Boy takes off on a cross–‐country road trip with a host of other similarly displaced creatures (including the granddaughters of Jekyll and Hyde), but he’s hunted by VI, a sentient computer virus designed by none other than Boy himself. Suffused with warmth and humor, this homage pokes fun more at the pop–‐culture tropes that have sprung up around Frankenstein than the actual classic work, with the digital version of a creation gone awry a particularly brilliant and contemporary twist. The plot is pieced together in episodic bits as Boy encounters different creatures at each pit stop, and both the various settings and the individual characters provide depth and complexity; the awe and wonder of the Southwestern desert, for example, is on full display here, while the painful loneliness of the Chupacabra, the last of its kind, is equally powerful. More comfortable behind the keyboard than in real life and wondering if he’ll ever fit in anywhere, Boy is a guy to whom plenty of teens will relate, and they’ll be pleased to discover that the big wide world has a place for just about everyone and every monster.”