I absolutely LOVE the premise of this story. The idea that the very rocks will call out and praise God is Biblical - but if they could share what they have 'seen,' can you imagine the stories that they could tell? I'm only a so-so sci fi fan, but this was really well done. The tech details were explained enough to be intriguing but were not bogged down in technicalities. I can completely see how this book would be interesting for the 10-14 year-olds it's geared towards.
The life lessons learned were quite valuable, too. Jennifer had only a face-value faith at the beginning of the story, and her brother had his own set of issues, but through time, friends, and circumstances, they began to make their faith their own. Just as importantly, they saw the value of it - and were willing to put themselves on the line to protect it. By the end of the story Jennifer is showing the reader just how important it is not to compromise on one's values. We need more of these examples in our culture today!
The plot was full of adventure, with those life lessons mingled in. I think that this unique combination would be action-packed enough for a tween boy but touchy-feely enough for a girl of the same age, and that brings us to another important point.
The Machine comes with valuable information for families tucked in at the end. This is a great feature - just because our kids can read on their own doesn't mean that they have to. This would make a fun read-aloud for the whole family or as a starting place for a wonderful family discussion.
The only aspect of this story that I was not thrilled about was the crush that one character has on another. While nothing is discussed beyond whether 'to-date-or-not-to-date' and flirtatious looks, I just don't think that the story had to go there. Do we really need to have our ten-year-olds debating the merits of dating? Or is this the perfect way to talk about it in a safe, fun way? I don't know - my kids aren't that old yet, and so for now, we just don't go there.
All in all, The Machine is a zany, comical, adventurous novel that teaches great lessons at the same time. It's a keeper.
I received a free copy of The Machine in exchange for an honest review.