Ah! A boy, his robot, and flying taxis – what’s not to love? The adventures of Zak Corbin: Master of Machines, by Tony Russo, begins fast and furiously with an epic robotic battle. Russo tosses a sprinkling of mystery into the battle, just enough to get us turning the pages to know more.
Under the devious guidance of his imprisoned uncle, the feared Dr. Elias Corbin, fifteen (and three-fourths) years old Zak Corbin and two good friends build a Corbin robot. When Zak’s robot, Pogo, mistakenly follows an errant command to set Dr. Corbin free, unstoppable gears are set in motion that will steamroll the world of Zak, his friends and New Futura itself. Along the way, the trio learns about friendship, confidence, and responsibility.
Zak struggles with everything that the typical teenager goes through – frustration with his parents, self-doubt, young love. We feel his nervousness as he and friends bring their robot to school for the first time. We applaud when the robot does well and shrink in our skin right along with Zak as the robot fails. Russo manages to plush out a young teen (perhaps based on his son, “the original Zak”) that seems real and human. Albeit, Zak does appear a bit over-achieving and a bit of the over-the-top young genius to be able to construct such advanced robots, even with the help of his illustrious uncle. However, I guess we could all aspire to possess such intelligence!
The robots are oversized, elite, and scrumptious. I want one! As each robot stomps and battles through New Futura, we feel the ground shake and hear the artillery whistle and explode.
Zak Corbin: Master of the Machines is an exciting, fast-paced action/adventure tale that is perfect for a quick read. Young adults would especially love it and identify with our hero, Zak, and his friends. 8 out of 10 stars.