eMergent Publishing (2013)
ISBN: 978 0 9875000 2 1
eISBN: 978 0 9875000 3 8
Reviewed by Pearl Maya
Wow, what an adventure this book is! McRae and Dullemond have crafted a tale that should please junior (10 – 13) and senior readers (14+) alike.
On one level this is a tale of the trials of Pandora, a teenage girl who lost her mother just last year, is living with the only man she has ever called Dad, and is struggling at school. All of that is manageable but then her grandmother seeks to claim custody over her.
The second, intertwined storyline is the tale of knights, pirates, miracle granters, the Sphinx and the origins of the other major character Buridan. This is initially told as a fable to Pandora after she wins a special prize at her school science fair.
It doesn’t take too long for both storylines to merge into one that combines the real world with fantastical elements. It is then that Pandora must make some choices which will have consequences in both worlds.
For the senior reader this is an explosion of philosophical discussion that spans the ages. It references many of the great philosophers through to some of the more obscure strains of thought as it investigates some of the great questions of all time: what is truth and who am I/what makes me me, to name but two. Answers, well maybe there are some but none are definite and there is still plenty of room for discussion and debate. If you miss some of the references, or are too young to understand, it doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the book and they should be considered as a delectable bonus.
The Machine Who Was Also A Boy is a highly recommended book than can be read as a stand alone, or with Wikipedia at your elbow for those who wish to wring every drop of enjoyment from its pages. The ending perhaps doesn’t resolve both storylines but is satisfactory, and an opportunity for the authors to continue the story in the sequel.