Author: Pauline C. Harris
Format/Length: eBook/246 pages
Publisher/Date Published: October 2014/Patchwork Press
Category/Genre: Young Adult/Science Fiction — I think?
Source: Netgalley — Thank you! :)
Description: Penelope lives in a world of advanced technology but many claim society has yet to catch up. Marionettes have advanced in the form of robots; lifelike creations remote controlled to perform super human tasks.
When Penelope makes a deal with Jed, a marionette-obsessed scientist, she doesn’t fully realize what she’s getting herself into. In order for Jed to take her away from the orphanage she lives in, she must first agree to undergo his experiments and tests, ultimately creating something no one ever dreamed possible; the first living marionette.
As Jed shows off his scientific creation to the world, concerns arise surrounding Penelope’s abilities and what she’s capable of doing. Ordered to somehow lessen her abilities, Jed makes a desperate attempt to change Penelope to make her more human, more vulnerable. After Penelope lies to the officials about her past, Jed makes sure it’s the last one she’ll ever utter. The truth is now the only thing she is capable of telling.
As Penelope struggles with her past, her disturbingly new present, and her uncertain future, she is thrust into a magically twisted world of mayhem in search of the one thing she wants, but knows she can never have. The chance to be just a girl again. To be normal. To be real.
2/5 stars —
Puppet by Pauline C. Harris promised a fantastic concept, but the majority of the novel fell awfully flat. I really wanted to like it, and there were parts of it that I enjoyed, but overall it didn’t reach my expectations. I have to admit that I was definitely curious about this novel from the get go considering the author’s young age. That and I love retellings.
I’ll start off with something positive: the author’s writing is wonderful. I’d probably read another book of the author’s based on that alone.
The first issue I had with the novel was the limited worldbuilding. I was confused as to what sort of world the author was trying to get across — sci fi? Dystopia? I wish this part of the story had been fleshed out more, so I could actually picture the world. The sci-fi “cell manipulation” talk in the novel seemed rather forced to me, as if the writer didn’t really know what she was talking about and was making it up as she went along. I’m not scientist, so perhaps I can’t judge accurately, but it all seemed very vague and confusing. In order for a science fiction-esque novel to feel real, explanations need to be somewhat understandable to the reader. A lot of it was glazed over, and only explained when absolute necessary — which may not be a bad thing, exactly, but the explanations given felt rather flimsy. If the novel’s world had been explained more, I think it would have been much more enjoyable to read, as well as creating a vivid, intriguing world.
The characters, too, felt pretty flat, and perhaps this was because the novel itself was very short? I thought the author had more room to elaborate on character motives, especially when it came to the villains of the story. I also wanted to know more about Jed. In saying that though I did enjoy the romance between James and our main character, Pen, and there were some interesting twists and revelations at the end which kept my interest.
Overall, Puppet was an interesting concept. I also enjoyed the “gender-bending” aspect of it all — something I wish I saw more in YA. I wish I could have said I liked this more, but there were just too many elements of the story that I felt needed to be revised before publication.