Tag Archives: fantasy

In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune book cover, featuring art showing a cabin and treehouses.

In the Lives of Puppets

I was so excited when NetGalley sent me an ARC of In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune. I have enjoyed everything I have read by TJ Klune, and was eager to read this.

I know I mention this in many of my reviews, but discussing this novel without giving away too much of the plot is a challenge. I don’t want to spoil it for y’all!

[Pausing to go read the official book description.]

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised; They reveal almost everything in the blurb, which is why I usually avoid reading them. I guess that means I can continue without worrying about spoilers, as I won’t mention anything they haven’t already spoiled.

Our protagonist, Victor, lives in a world filled with robots. Some are humanoid, while others, like Rambo, are not—Rambo is obvi a modified Roomba. It’s very Swiss Family Robinson meets Wall•E. Pinocchio’s influence is also evident, especially given the epigraphs.

I absolutely love the world this story is set in—the freaky robots-rule-the-world-post-apocalypse future that we’ve all been afraid of since learning about Skynet from The Terminator. I wish there were more about how this world came to be, the (other) robots, and the City of Electric Dreams (which must be Las Vegas, right?).

Who would have imagined a sarcastic semi-psychotic nurse robot (Registered Automaton To Care, Heal, Educate and Drill—Nurse Ratched for short) and a dim-witted but loyal and loving Roomba as the ultimate family and adventure companions? Each character has unique quirks and personalities, drawing us into their world.

As we delve into Victor’s life amid a world of robots, we’re forced to reconsider our understanding of what it means to be human and reflect on the potential for artificial intelligence to experience genuine emotions and self-awareness. Can a robot truly experience emotions? Possess free will and its own unique desires? What does having a heart mean for a machine?

In conclusion, In the Lives of Puppets masterfully balances this introspection with humor, adventure, and the occasional heartstring tug, making it an engaging and thought-provoking read. This novel is a must-read for fans of TJ Klune and anyone who enjoys a unique, thought-provoking, and entertaining story. And after finishing it, you’ll be crossing your fingers and hoping for more featuring these characters and their world, just like me.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thanks to NetGalley and Tor Publishing Group for an advance copy in exchange for sharing my opinions. All opinions in this review are my own.

Book cover showing a woman in a ring of fire.

The Secret Within

The Secret Within by Sean Platt and David Wright is an urban fantasy novel about a psychic detective, Delaney West. Delaney has been hired to find a missing person, and his girlfriend, Anika, might be the only one with answers.

This novel started well and was exciting and engaging. I was into the mystery, and I liked the premise of the psychic detective. However, I feel like it failed to develop Delaney’s character’s supernatural aspects to sufficient depth early in the novel.

Also, it takes a wildly unexpected twist at the end, which felt very Deus Ex Machina / WTF. It reminded me of how I felt watching the end of Annihilation. Angry, disappointed, and overall unsatisfied.

Unfortunately, it went off the rails for me, and I would not recommend this book.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Thanks to NetGalley and Sterling & Stone for an advance copy in exchange for sharing my opinions. All opinions in this review are my own.

Wolfsong by TJ Klune

Wolfsong by TJ Klune is a captivating novel that explores the themes of identity, love, loss, and acceptance through the eyes of Ox, a young man with a speech impediment who has always felt like an outsider in his small town. The story follows Ox as he becomes entangled in the world of werewolves and magic, and as he grows older, he realizes that his fate is tied to the fate of his pack, and he must fight to protect those he loves from the dangers that lurk in the shadows.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Wolfsong, although I felt it wasn’t as strong as some of Klune’s other works, such as The House in the Cerulean Sea or Under the Whispering Door. That being said, the unique take on the werewolf mythology that Klune presents in this novel is refreshing, and the world-building is well-executed.

In conclusion, I would recommend Wolfsong to readers who enjoy YA and LGBTQIA+ fiction and to those who appreciate complex themes and character arcs. I want to express my gratitude to NetGalley and the publishers for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Rating: 3 out of 5.
Book Cover forEmily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries

Emily Wilde is a professor and the leading expert on faeries. She is compiling the world’s first-ever first encyclopaedia of faeries. She is most herself while researching or in the company of books and doesn’t seem to fit in with others.

Emily travels to a remote village to complete her encyclopaedia, where she is joined by a colleague/rival, Wendell Bambleby–much to her displeasure. Wendell is the opposite of Emily in many ways. Where she is unkempt and lacking in fashion, Wendell is stylish and sophisticated. Where Emily has alienated the locals, Wendell makes fast friends. And it’s a good thing he does, otherwise these two would be in big trouble!

This book fell short for me because it centers on Emily and her research and spends less time directly on faeries. While faerie lore and stories are sprinkled throughout, I prefer when the faeries and their world are front and center. I will admit though, that I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected.

This book is perfect if you’re looking for something new, like books about socially awkward people, and (of course) if you like books about faeries.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Rey for an advance copy in exchange for sharing my opinions. All opinions in this review are my own.