In the Lives of Puppets by T.J. Klune
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is a charming quest narrative set in a world where robots have attempted to wipe humans out.
‘In the Lives of Puppets’ is described as a Pinocchio retelling, but this is quite a loose description. Pinocchio motifs are present – ie the Blue Fairy, the fox and the cat, the Terrible Dogfish/whale – and some of the rescue mission structure is used, but the central moralising about a little puppet who won’t be good is decidedly absent.
Instead we have a story about robots and a human deciding what kind of people they want to be, and sometimes reconciling that with who they were before. Mostly it’s a story about friendship, love and family. The cast is small and distinct – in particular the supporting robots, Nurse Ratched and Rambo the Roomba, seem like an attempt at quotable comic relief at first, but as the book progresses they increasingly feel like fully-fleshed characters.
For a book set in a ‘kill all humans’ style world, this is a surprisingly gentle book. There is peril and bloodshed, but it isn’t a gory or violent read. Instead, it’s frequently tender, and the romance is tentative and vulnerable. You could probably call this very soft science fiction, although the fable style and the quest format make it more of a fantasy hybrid. The storyline doesn’t really deliver any surprises but I enjoyed reading about the characters and I’m sure the book will do well.
Thank you to the publishers and Netgalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
View all my reviews