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.
***I received this book as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Patchwork Press
- The cover is beautiful. It’s whimsical and stunning. The sense of brokeness and lack of agency is emphasized and the fact that half of Penelope’s face is hidden suggests a vulnerability and youth that resonates throughout the book.
- Penelope and James are adorable together. They’re awkward and shy but their emotions are honest. The come together in a random burst of confession and ease into a calm, fulfilling infatuation. Romance was not the driving force behind the story and I think that that allowed for Penelope to grow.
- Penelope’s struggle to cope with her past and the changes made to her body without her consent was written with passion and astounding emotion. At heart, Penelope is a good person, gentle and kind, and when she loses her ability to make decisions, it threatens her understanding of herself. It poses the question of guilt and whether or not horrible acts when forced to do them against our will change us and whether it’s possible to get past that.
- Puppet is extremely slow to start and doesn’t really pick up.
- Penelope is almost too introspective. There’s a consistent montage of her feelings and lack of control. Sometimes, it’s poetic and powerful. The helplessness and bleak reality of her position is brutal and others it’s too much of nothing going on but internal monologue.
- The role of the government and why she’s such a huge threat wasn’t explained and felt disconnected. The pieces were there but the glue that held them together was missing.
- The carnival scene was random and Penelope’s reasoning was absent. Why Penelope made the choices she did in terms of action scenes wasn’t discussed and kind of contradicted Penelope’s consistent internal thought process and evaluation of her situation.
- Descriptions of this book label it as a retelling of Pinocchio. That’s a bit of a stretch. If anything, it’s a role reversal. Human girl becomes marionette only to learn the value of her humanity.
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