In the Lives of Puppets

Tor. Apr. 2023. 432p. ISBN 9781250217448. $28.99. FANTASY
Victor Lawson is a “real boy” in this charming reinterpretation of The Adventures of Pinocchio, while his dad, Gio, is the puppet. Or rather, the android, who, along with a gaggle of misfit, repurposed androids, live together in a forest clearing, separate from the society that spawned them. It’s a society of androids that killed all the humans—except for Victor. Their lovely idyll is broken when Victor learns that Gio was once a hunter of humans and that he might be reprogrammed into doing it again—unless Victor and his friends can save him. Combining the cuteness of Wall-E with the history of the deadly android rampage of Day Zero, this quietly draws the reader into its safe and peaceful idyll only to send everyone on an epic quest of rescue and discovery.
VERDICT Readers who loved Klune’s (Under the Whispering Door) previous works will find plenty of the author’s trademark charm, heart, and bittersweetness, while those looking for more hopeful robot stories, like A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers, will find this interpretation of a robot-future different but just as compelling.
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