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Puppet Master by Joanne Owen
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Puppet Master

by Joanne Owen

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Inspired by Eastern European folklore and the puppet theatres of old Czechoslovakia, Puppet Master is an homage to both, bringing to life the eerie legends along with its own slice of fairytale.

Set in the Prague of 1898, the tale centres on a young girl, Milana, who's mother disappeared shortly after the death of her beloved father. Together, the family had run the local puppet theatre, and both the setting and language hark back to a time when puppets were one of the main arts and forms of entertainment. Milena is intrigued by the opening of a new puppet theatre, and its Master, a mysterious man with two devoted apprentices, the identical twins Zdenka and Zdenko. But the Puppet Master is more than he seems, and his power does not only lie over his marionettes. He plans to take over the city with a dazzling show of his power, and claim Prague for his own. Milena is the only one who can stop him, and together with her wise and slightly eccentric aunts, Tereza and Katerina, she must face her own fears if she is to save her family and the city from the Puppet Master's terrifying power.

What's not to love about this story. Set in turn of the century Prague, the story is seeped in history and legend, made all the more visceral by the author's aversion to modern language. Both her storytelling and writing fit the period beautifully, allowing the reader to become completely immersed in her world. Like My Swordhand is Singing, another Eastern European book I have recently enjoyed, Puppet Master revels in its setting and the truth behind its legends. Not only does it deliver an entertaining gothic horror story, but it also packs a cast of powerful female characters and I dare you to not be inspired to read the folklore behind the tale.

One review that I read likened the story to the work of Tim Burton and the surrealists that inspired him. Now I am a huge fan of Tim Burton (yes, HUGE) and this tale, although perhaps somewhat tame in comparison, has all the eeriness, mystery and gothic horror that one would expect from a Burton story. With puppets. Yes. Are you not sold yet?
1 vote aleya79 | Nov 2, 2009 |
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"When Milena meets the charismatic Puppet Master and his menacing proteges, the twins Zdenko and Zdenka, in Prague's Old Town Square she has no idea quite how much her life is about to change." --Back cover.

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