Puppet by Pauline C Harris

Posted On 11 October 2014

Filed under Book Reviews

Comments Dropped 14 responses

Puppet is loosely based on the story of Pinocchio although not massively so.  At the start of the story Penelope has been taking part in science experiments performed by her new guardian Jed.  Penelope is an orphan and Jed adopted her from the orphanage, took her away from all her misery and give her a fresh start in his home.  However, he’s not exactly a knight in shining armour as he only took her on the condition that she became his guinea pig.

The story is set in an alternate future where marionettes have developed and are now robots with speed and strength used for various tasks.  Jed is obsessed with marionettes and his experiments will turn Penelope into a human version.  She will become faster and stronger but unfortunately having all this raw and uncontrolled power at her fingertips, combined with Penelope’s human qualities such as the ability to think and reason, and also lie, means she becomes an object of fear and attracts the unwanted attention of those in power.

I do enjoy retellings and I was keen to see how this story would be tackled, ultimately however this fell a little flat for me.

To break it down.  The world building.  I couldn’t really get a feel for the place.  Why the marionettes had been developed in what otherwise seemed and felt like a fairly basic society.  What was really there purpose as it seemed to boil down to cheap tricks and performances in carnivals and side shows.  I just had too many questions and niggles that seemed to go unanswered.  I can live without a full explanation of the sci fi involved as sometimes the explanation can leave more queries than it resolves but what was the purpose of developing a human marionette – that’s a major query right there that I never felt was tackled.

The characters.  I struggled to like Penelope although I thought Jed made an interesting character.  There was a romantic interest thrown in with Jed’s son but it felt a little superficial and the way the two behaved made me wonder whether they really cared about each other at all!

Lastly the plot.  Again, with the unresolved questions for me plus just areas that I found irritating or with holes.  Too many plot devices that were rather blatantly used to further the story – which I’m not going to list as they will constitute spoilers.

I never enjoy writing a negative review which is reflected in the length of this piece.  It may feel like I haven’t justified all my concerns but thats simply in order to stay away from spoilers.  In fairness to the book however I do feel I should mention that this is a YA novel and actually has quite a ‘young’ feel to it and clearly I’m not the target audience here so whilst this might not be for me I recognise it could work perfectly for others and I would hate to deter anybody for reading.  The simple fact is that this story and I just simply didn’t get along.

I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.  The above is my own opinion.

14 Responses to “Puppet by Pauline C Harris”

  1. Danya @ Fine Print

    Sounds like a classic case of cupcake book syndrome: looks real pretty on the outside (nice cover!) but it’s not very satisfying. I’m not surprised that you liked Jed more than Penelope because I always thought that Geppetto was a more compelling character than Pinocchio. It’s too bad that you didn’t enjoy Puppet but on to the next one and all that!

    • lynnsbooks

      Exactly – you just have to move on. Tbh, I don’t usually finish a book if I’m not enjoying it but as this was short I thought I’d give it a proper shot!
      Oh well. It wasn’t dreadful – just not for me!
      Lynn 😀

    • Ana

      I completely agree; the cover is definitely what drew me to it.
      I was pretty disappointed by the book.

      If you are curious, you can find my review here: https://anaslair.wordpress.com/2015/02/20/puppet/

      Not as well written or at least not as nice as Lynn’s, though. 🙂

  2. October round up and RIP summary! | Lynn's Book Blog

    […] Puppet by Pauline C Harris […]

  3. Ana

    Another book where our thoughts seem to match eheh.
    I also feel bad when writing something negative, but I feel I should still be fair, if only for the sake of authors who really do great. It would not be fair to them if I gave a bad book the same rating or positive remarks as I did theirs.

    • lynnsbooks

      Yeah, Puppet wasn’t for me. I think I’m probably too nice!! I just hope that my gushing comes across in my positive reviews – plus I have to give a rating on Goodreads – so I think I gave this 2 stars! I had to look away though whilst I was doing it. Lynn 😀

      • Ana

        Ahah yes, definitely too nice!
        And hey, I gave it 2 stars as well. I am begin to feel like an evil twin version of you 😛
        Anyway, over time I have made it my priority to be fair over being nice. Not all authora can deal with that, but I would rather feel I have been fair to myself and others than nice. That said, at times I do find it hard to tell the difference between enthusiastically defending my point of view and being just plain mean.

      • lynnsbooks

        mwahahahah – we’re evil!!!!
        I’m sure you’re not mean – I’m going to come and check out your ‘meaner’ reviews! I wish I could be firmer – I do usually say ‘this isn’t for me’ and try to justify why but….
        Lynn 😀

      • Ana

        Ooh feeling brave, huh? Thank you for checking out my blog, I really appreciate it!
        And I really do enjoy reading your reviews, I think you always manage to get the perfect balance between rational and emotional thoughts, if that makes any sense.

      • lynnsbooks

        Thank you. I can’t believe your blog is so young – it looks so well established! Well done you.
        Lynn 😀

      • Ana

        Thanks!! I just noticed my blog is 2 weeks old today ahah, not 3 just yet 😉

      • lynnsbooks

        A real newbie then and you’re made it look so good – very impressive!
        Lynn 😀

      • Ana

        Thanks, but I really cannot take full credit! This html stuff is hard!! Thank you so much for your compliments, they’re real motivational eheh.

      • lynnsbooks


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