Friday Face Off: ‘I got no strings to hold me down’


Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .   This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below. This week’s theme:

‘I got no strings to hold me down’ – a cover featuring a doll or puppet

This week I had one specific book in mind and thankfully it had two covers so thank goodness for that – I suspect there will be some excellent books (not to mention possibly creepy) this week  My book is a read that I thoroughly enjoyed and definitely falls into the dark and creepy bracket: The Motion of Puppets by Keith Donohue

The cover on the right is the one I’m familiar with and it certainly is dramatic.  But, I have to go for :


Which is your favourite?

Next week – a cover featuring a tower

Future themes:

23rd March – “When she was a child, the witch locked her away in a tower that had neither doors nor stairs.” – a cover featuring a Tower

30th March – ‘A little soil to make it grow’ – a cover featuring seeds/spores

6th April –  “After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.” – a cover featuring a family

13th April – ‘lawns and rocks and heather and different sorts of trees, lay spread out below them, the river winding through it’ –  a cover featuring a panorama

20th April – Where there’s fire there’s… – a cover featuring smoke

27th April – ‘Those darling byegone times… with their delicious fortresses, and their dear old dungeons, and their delightful places of torture’ – a cover that is positively mediaeval 

4th May-  ‘A Hand without a hand? A bad jape, sister.’ – a cover featuring a hand/hands

11th May – ‘Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth’ – a cover featuring a dinosaur/s

18th May – ‘Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs;’ – a cover featuring a gravestone

25th May – Trip trap, trip trap, trip trap – a cover featuring footsteps

1st June – clinging and invasive – a cover featuring creeping vines

8th June – Raining Cats and Dogs – a cover featuring a stormy sky


The Motion of Puppets by Keith Donohue

themotionofpuppetsThe Motion of Puppets is a darkly enchanting tale based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.  I really enjoyed this.  To be frank, I was completely intrigued.  The author spins a tale that is compellingly horrifying and I just couldn’t put it down.

The story starts off with a newlywed couple.  To an extent they come across as an unlikely couple, Kay is a performer, currently holding a position in the Cirque as an acrobat and her husband Theo is an academic, a little older than Kay and usually with his head in a book.  And yet, the two of them are in love.  They’ve found that special something that just works for them and they’re happy.  Until one evening, when Kay, after having finished the evening’s performance, accepts an invitation to go for a small soiree with some of the other artistes.  Of course one drink leads to three and soon enough Kay is walking home alone, wary of footsteps that seem to be echoing in her trail.  She spots a light on in a window.  It’s the toy shop that she’s been strangely fascinated with, especially the old puppet in the front window.  The shop has never been opened before and dashing in for cover Kay doesn’t even consider the oddness of a toy shop being open in the early hours of the morning when the streets are dark and everyone is asleep in their beds.  Of course, Kay is never seen again and Theo becomes the prime suspect in this strange tale.

I don’t want to say too much more about the plot.  However, I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that Kay has been transformed into a puppet.  She now lives in the ‘back room’ of the toy shop with an odd assortment of other puppets that all come to life between midnight and sunrise.

Where do I start!  The strange world of the toy shop.  A dusty place, now home to the strangest collection of puppets ranging from a Queen to a Devil.  They all abide by the rules set by the owners – otherwise known as the ‘giants’ in fact they are their own enforcers in that respect.  Every now and again one of the puppets is taken to perform and occasionally that puppet might never return.  I love the way the author has set the scene for this story.  There’s a certain olde world feel to everything in fact it almost feels like its set in the 50s and yet clearly it isn’t!

The cast.  Kay as a puppet is such a conundrum.  Like the rest of the puppets she is slowly losing her sense of self and in one respect she isn’t unhappy although she does remember being in love.  She’s a puppet and as such she performs and of course performing makes her content.  All of the puppet characters are slightly sad in much the same way – sad and yet resigned.  Some of them have little snippets, stories of a former life that now feels more unreal than the life they now live.  Providing they behave they have no real fear and some of them have been in the back room for so long that they remember nothing from their previous lives.  Then we have Theo who is frantically searching for Kay.  The police are on his case as is his mother in law!  They suspect foul play  Theo’s only friend is Egon, a dwarf who works on the Cirque. He believes Theo and wants to help him.  Then we have the giants.  Usually their arrival comes with a sense of tension and fear – and yet, they love these puppets – they almost act as though they’re children.

So, what hooked me about the story.  Firstly the style of writing.  This isn’t necessarily a fast paced story but the writing is lovely and as I mentioned it evokes a different feel to the one being portrayed.  A modern day fairytale almost.  It has a totally mixed feel about it.  Horror – but not visceral horror – there is nothing bloodthirsty at work here.  It’s the simple horror about what happened to Kay and the others and I admit the whole transforming Kay into a puppet chapter gave me the chills.  Frightening indeed.  Plus puppets.  Puppets are just plain scary.  Then there’s the tension, which was cranked high.  Theo always seems to be one step behind – it’s just so frustrating!

Did I have any criticisms.  Not really, especially whilst reading.  I think that if you’re expecting answers then you may be a little bit disappointed but if you fancy just falling into a dark and captivating tale then this could just be for you.

A creepy, enchanting, horrifying, mystery.  With puppets.




Friday Firsts: The Motion of Puppets by Keith Donohue


Friday Firsts is a new meme that runs every Friday over on Tenacious Reader. The idea is to feature the first few sentences/paragraph of your current book and try and outline your first impressions as a result. This is a quick and easy way to share a snippet of information about your current read and to perhaps tempt others.  Stop on by and link up with Tenacious Reader.

‘She fell in love with a puppet.

Because he was beautiful, because he was rare, because he could not be hers.  Every time she passed the dusty display window of the tiny Quatre Mains storefront, she looked for him.  Propped by hidden scaffolding, the puppet stood beneath a bell jar.  Two black holes drilled for eyes on just the hint of a face.’


My First Impressions

What are you reading right now? Did it start out strong? Feel free to join in.