Hello, friends! I’m so excited to take part in my first blog tour with Caffeine Book Tours today! 😍 It’s my stop on the tour for The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice by Lisa DeSelm and I couldn’t be happier to share my thoughts on this delightfully dark fantasy retelling. Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Be sure to click on the banner above to check out the rest of the amazing bloggers on tour!
Goodreads: The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice
Publisher: Page Street Publishing
Publication Date: 13 October 2020
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
“Listen well. Soon, the blue moon, the rarest of all moons will be on the rise. At its waxing offer up one of your creations and by moonlight they will be given breath. Choose wisely who to awaken.”
With her puppet-maker father imprisoned and the land of Tavia on the brink of war, Pirouette does not have a choice other than to follow the ruler’s whims. But when he discovers her secret – that she was once a puppet brought to life by the magic of the blue moon—he demands that Pirouette create an assassin out of wood and then make it come alive.
Fighting against forbidden magic and racing against the rise of the next blue moon, Pirouette cannot help but wonder, if she is making a masterpiece…or a monster. And if she is making a monster, what does that make her?
Lisa DeSelm lives happily with her husband and two daughters in the wilds of suburban South Bend, Indiana. When she is not writing, you will find Lisa working as an art director and designer, most likely daydreaming with a cup of tea in hand. The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice is her first novel.
Note: The quotes below are taken from an advanced/unfinished copy and are subject to change in the final version.
Wow, I can’t believe this is a debut because I honestly can’t find one negative thing to say about it! The writing was luscious and magical, the characters were filled with life, and it was just as creepy and atmospheric as that gorgeous cover portrays it to be. I was never a huge fan of Pinnochio growing up because that movie scared the life out of me, and I still need to read Frankenstein, but the combination intrigued me and I’m so glad that I had the chance to read this! It’s definitely one of the more unique YA fantasies I’ve read in a while.
It’s clear the minute you start that this is a fairytale but it’s a bit of a twisted one. There’s an oppressive atmosphere that hovers over the village and its people, despite the hustle and bustle of everyday life, that sits in stark contrast to the old, still, and creepy forest that teems with the lively whispering of the trees. DeSelm’s writing was a treat to read. It’s so richly descriptive without being purple. There’s a spookiness that is weaved through the words that steadily increases as the story unfolds and it really notches up the creepy factor, especially towards the end. Let me tell you, if I wasn’t already wary of puppets and dolls, this book would’ve solidified those feelings because… Oof, y’all, they aren’t things to be messed with! 😅
Pirouette was a really wonderful protagonist and her story swept me along for the ride. She’s a courageous and smart young woman who in many ways still has her feet in the two worlds of before and after she was brought to life. From her before, she still has a strong connection to the trees and they guide her and teach her things about life. But also being human now, she struggles with the fear of people discovering who she really is and where she comes from–not to mention the fact that every time she lies, there are painful consequences. Piro’s story is one of self-discovery, the weight and cost of choices, and ultimately coming into your own and embracing yourself.
Aside from Piro, we also have the Makers, her fellows and friends, who brought those found family vibes that I live for. The camaraderie and banter was everything that you come to love and expect from these friendship groups. They’re an important part of Prio’s life but they are only supporting characters that I wish we got to better. I would be more than happy to come back to this world and to read their stories because it seems that they have unique backstories too! I should mention that Piro’s childhood friend and love-interest is part of this group and if there was one thing I wasn’t taken by it was the romance. Thankfully it wasn’t a big part of the story so I wasn’t too bothered, and while I liked Bran and thought he was a sweet boy with good intensions, I thought Piro deserved better 😅 The villain was also pretty interesting! The Margrave is essentially an insecure, lonely and spoiled little boy in the body of a man (now) and although he was completely mad (literally), I did pity him. I wanted to slap him hard too, but I felt sorry for him because of his upbringing.
TL;DR: This was a dark and enchanting fairytale retelling that had me hooked from the beginning. DeSelm’s writing was delightful to read! Her lush prose and descriptions made the story and characters come alive and created a spooky atmosphere that filled the story. Pirouette was a wonderful protagonist that you can’t help but love and support. Her story is about self-discovery, the choices we make and self-acceptance. This was such a unique YA retelling and I’m so glad that I got to read.
If you love a well-written fairytale retelling that’s a bit on the darker side, but has great characters and atmosphere, then you should definitely check this out! I really hope that this one doesn’t slip under the radar because it deserves appreciation!
For this tour there’s a GIVEAWAY (US only) of THREE (3) HARDBACK COPIES of The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice!
ENter the giveaway ➡️ HERE
giveaway ends 11 October (philippine time)
Have you read The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice or is it on your TBR?