Welcome to my stop on the ‘The Everything Machine’ blog tour. I was very excited to be able to get my hands on a copy to read and review.
Have you ever wished you could print yourself anything you wanted? Rare Pokémon cards, strawberry ice cream, a brand new bike? How about a mountain of sweets, or a swimming pool, or a startlingly lifelike robotic replica of your father? The you need you very own ‘Everything Machine’!
What would you do if you were patiently waiting for the delivery of a rabbit hutch, when instead you got a large box stamped with PROPERTY OF M.O.D and BRITISH SPACE AGENCY. WARNING. DO NOT TAMPER? Would you send it back or would you do what eleven year old Olly did and open it…?
When the very large and very heavy package was delivered to the ‘mob.’ (the mobile home at the end of the garden which Olly shares with his brother Stevie), Olly can’t resist opening it. Upon doing so, he discovers a highly sophisticated talking 3D printing machine called Russell. Naturally, Olly and Stevie start by printing a huge mound of sweets, but things take a more dangerous turn when Olly decides that the one thing he really wants is…his dad (who has just moved out of the family home.)
With the help of his expert-coder sister, Bird, Olly creates a frighteningly realistic replica of his dad – Dad-Bot. However, Dad-Bot soon evolves to become able to act independently and in a somewhat unpredictable way.
The three siblings soon get sucked into a race to save their family and prevent the mass extinction of the online world in their favourite computer game, Mazzo.
At the heart of this story is Olly’s desperation for his mum and dad to reunite, and the lengths he’s prepared to go to make that happen. It was also lovely to see a fairly accurate portrayal of sibling relationships, particularly the computer-game based rivalries and Olly’s secret soft spot for his baby sister.
I thought the online gaming references and the coding genius sister, Bird added a relevant and modern dimension to the story in a world where lots of people (children and adults) spend their time interacting with virtual ‘friends’ online and building their empires.
For me, the book also raised a lot of issues about the ethics of robotics and artificial intelligence. There have been several films and television programmes made about human-made robots developing intelligence beyond that programmed into them by scientists. Often with dire consequences.
I really enjoyed this roller-coaster ride of an adventure and was rooting for Olly and co. to save the day. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough as I got to the final few chapters!
If you’d like to read more reviews, author interviews and giveaways, look at for other stops on the blog tour.
I’m off to save the virtual world with a couple of forward slashes,
*Many thanks to Scholastic books and Faye Rogers for organising this tour.*