Book Review: The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice

by Lisa DeSelm

Pirouette spends her days busy helping her father, Gephardt the puppetmaster. Aside from performing marionette shows, Piro helps her father crafts the dozens and dozens of life-sized wooden soldiers the Margrave, the ruler of Tavia, has ordered. And in everything she does, Piro guards her secret: that she was once a marionette, just like the ones she and Gephardt sand and chisel away at. Only because her father used forbidden magic in the light of the blue moon is Pirouette human rather wood.

When Piro’s father is taken to the Keep by the Margrave for failing to complete an order on time, Piro is left to finish the order and free her father. But finishing the wooden soldiers only creates more trouble for Piro. The Margrave’s son, Duke Laszlo, wants Piro to make him a saboteur– an assassin marionette. And after the assassin has been crafted, Laszlo wants Piro to make another marionette for him. And he wants this marionette to be brought to life.


I just want to say really quick that I find the actual synopsis for The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice the tiniest bit misleading. That synopsis makes it sound like the saboteur is the marionette that Laszlo wants brought to life, but it isn’t. Laszlo has Piro craft an entirely new marionette that he plans to bring to life.

But that minor complaint aside, The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice is a very unique novel. It’s advertized as Pinocchio meets Frankenstein. I can’t say whether or not it has Frankenstein vibes to it or not, but it does have a nice Pinocchio feel. Piro is a marionette brought to life, and she also suffers whenever she tells a lie. Now whether or not the plot has anything to do with the plot of Pinocchio, that’s another thing I cannot say. But Piro has a very strong Pinocchio feel.

I loved the family-feel of the Makers. It was sweet to read about how they cared for each other and acted like family. The dynamics were really fun. The plot was also well crafted and paced well.

If you’re a fan of fairy tale retellings, you’ll probably enjoy The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice.

Cautions: three instances of a British swear word; brief, moderate violence; light/moderate romance; several kisses

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