What it Means to Be Human: In the Lives of Puppets and The Daughter of Doctor Moreau

19 Apr

In the Lives of Puppets
by TJ Klune

I have previously blogged about Klune’s other adult novels The House in the Cerulean Sea and Under the Whispering Door. Both are beautiful, gentle, fantasy reads. I was hopeing for and found more of the same from Klune’s latest work In the Lives of Puppets, but what I love about Klune’s work is that despite some similarities such as a strong found family and embracing individuality and diversity in a world that often makes those who do not conform feel like outsiders, there is also a great deal of originality and creativity in the characters and stories that he shares. In the Lives of Puppets takes inspiration from the classic story of Pinocchio and then weaves a very modern story about a group of robots and one young man, Victor, living a sweet fairytale existence in their treehouse compound in the woods, until one day the father figure is snatched away by a whale like air ship and Victor and his friends including the newly restored and refurbished HAP set out to rescue him. The story looks at what it means to be human in a world filled with AI and if it is possible to overcome one’s past programming to become a new and better person. There is humor from Rambo, a neurotic rumba desperate for approval, and a nurse robot who is both equal parts motherly and sadistic. If like me, you loved Guillermo del Toro’s recent film retelling of the classic story, this one is also definitely worth checking out. I received an advance copy of In the Lives of Puppets from Netgalley and the publisher in order to provide an honest review. The book will be available April 25.

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau
by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

We read The Daughter of Doctor Moreau as part of the library’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Discussion Group. I was curious to check it out since my colleagues, Victoria and Lauren, had spoken positively of Moreno-Garcia’s very popular novel, Mexican Gothic. This novel takes inspiration from the classic H.G. Wells story, The Island of Doctor Moreau and also seemed to pull some of the details from the 1996 film adaptation. The story transports the original from the South Pacific to taking place during the Guerra de Castas, when Indigenous Maya and Mexican population of mixed and European decent were in conflict. Moreno-Garcia uses the story of animal/human hybrids to explore issues of racism and identity. This a gothic story with a feminist perspective; where a father’s frustrations about not being able to control his increasingly wild daughter read as a larger society who seeks to define and shape a women’s bodies and ideas without taking the time to hear their own desires. The Daughter of Doctor Moreau will appeal to those who enjoy historic fiction as well as fantasy and horror fans.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services Manager

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