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From the bestselling author of The Boy Who Drew Monsters and The Stolen Child comes a modern take on the Orpheus and Eurydice myth—a suspenseful tale of romance and enchantment In the Old City of Québec, Kay Harper falls in love with a puppet in the window of the Quatre Mains, a toy shop that is never open. She is spending her summer working as an acrobat with the cirque wh From the bestselling author of The Boy Who Drew Monsters and The Stolen Child comes a modern take on the Orpheus and Eurydice myth—a suspenseful tale of romance and enchantment In the Old City of Québec, Kay Harper falls in love with a puppet in the window of the Quatre Mains, a toy shop that is never open. She is spending her summer working as an acrobat with the cirque while her husband, Theo, is translating a biography of the pioneering photographer Eadweard Muybridge. Late one night, Kay fears someone is following her home. Surprised to see that the lights of the toy shop are on and the door is open, she takes shelter inside. The next morning Theo wakes up to discover his wife is missing. Under police suspicion and frantic at her disappearance, he obsessively searches the streets of the Old City. Meanwhile, Kay has been transformed into a puppet, and is now a prisoner of the back room of the Quatre Mains, trapped with an odd assemblage of puppets from all over the world who can only come alive between the hours of midnight and dawn. The only way she can return to the human world is if Theo can find her and recognize her in her new form. So begins a dual odyssey: of a husband determined to find his wife, and of a woman trapped in a magical world where her life is not her own.


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From the bestselling author of The Boy Who Drew Monsters and The Stolen Child comes a modern take on the Orpheus and Eurydice myth—a suspenseful tale of romance and enchantment In the Old City of Québec, Kay Harper falls in love with a puppet in the window of the Quatre Mains, a toy shop that is never open. She is spending her summer working as an acrobat with the cirque wh From the bestselling author of The Boy Who Drew Monsters and The Stolen Child comes a modern take on the Orpheus and Eurydice myth—a suspenseful tale of romance and enchantment In the Old City of Québec, Kay Harper falls in love with a puppet in the window of the Quatre Mains, a toy shop that is never open. She is spending her summer working as an acrobat with the cirque while her husband, Theo, is translating a biography of the pioneering photographer Eadweard Muybridge. Late one night, Kay fears someone is following her home. Surprised to see that the lights of the toy shop are on and the door is open, she takes shelter inside. The next morning Theo wakes up to discover his wife is missing. Under police suspicion and frantic at her disappearance, he obsessively searches the streets of the Old City. Meanwhile, Kay has been transformed into a puppet, and is now a prisoner of the back room of the Quatre Mains, trapped with an odd assemblage of puppets from all over the world who can only come alive between the hours of midnight and dawn. The only way she can return to the human world is if Theo can find her and recognize her in her new form. So begins a dual odyssey: of a husband determined to find his wife, and of a woman trapped in a magical world where her life is not her own.

30 review for The Motion of Puppets

  1. 5 out of 5

    Amalia Gavea

    "Had you not been born,you would not know what it is like to be alive, and without life,death is impossible to understand." I admit I hadn't heard of Kevin Donohue before I came across this book.I didn't know he is an author of Horror books primarily.What appealed to me was the cover and the fact that I find puppets fascinating in a deliciously creepy way.I don't keep any at home,but I would read a story about them anytime.This is a haunting book,beautiful and sad.Terrifying,for some, but in "Had you not been born,you would not know what it is like to be alive, and without life,death is impossible to understand." I admit I hadn't heard of Kevin Donohue before I came across this book.I didn't know he is an author of Horror books primarily.What appealed to me was the cover and the fact that I find puppets fascinating in a deliciously creepy way.I don't keep any at home,but I would read a story about them anytime.This is a haunting book,beautiful and sad.Terrifying,for some, but in a subdued,elegant manner.I'd say it is a version of Gaiman's "Coraline" for grown-ups. The setting is contemporary Québec and our protagonists are Theo and Kay,a young artistic couple,closely bound to each other.Theo is a university professor and Kay is an acrobat in a travelling Cirque.One night,Kay simply vanishes and Theo,shuttered and terrified,begins a search for her that brings him to a world he'd never imagined possible.I cannot tell you more about the plot,because there are too many spoilers,but I can assure you that it is full of elements of magical realism,a genre that continues to fascinate me. Theo and Kay are very sympathetic.Their relationship is tender and honest and it breaks your heart when they are separated in such a sudden way.I'd say,though,that the real stars of the book are the puppets.They are a spectacle of a cast,indeed.The Queen, the Clown,the Three Sisters,Noe and,of course, the Devil,my favourite.Along with the main narrative,we are shown snippets of the life of Eadeard Muybridge,an English photographer whose biography Theo is translating in the course of the story. The word "Motion" isn't in the title accidentally.There are references to the early stages of motion picture and references to Aristotle's "On the Motion of Animals".However,the strongest echoes in the story come from the beautiful Ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.Now,this carries certain connotations of love,loss,despair and the struggle against forces that surpass the human world in order to have a second chance with the person you love.And allow me to say that the world Kay finds herself into is worse than Hades' realm... The writing is beautiful,both the dialogues and the descriptive parts, Donahue manages to create puppets with personalities and character development,human-like indeed.I loved the description of Theo's agony,without resorting to drama, I loved Kay's determination and ability to adapt into her new life.The descriptions of the days approaching Halloween and the decorated nightly streets of the Old Town were just chilling.Would I consider it a Horror story? It doesn't matter. "Horror" doesn't mean the same to everyone.To me,the creepy puppets are frightening,but the real "horror" of the book is the unjust ordeal the young couple has to go through.It is magical realism,a great effort to create a dark story,with beauty and sensitivity.I loved the fact that some threads were left loose.After all, I need to think from time to time and we are readers, we can make do with some open-ended questions:) The end is....I don't know how to describe it...it left me staring into space,utterly speechless....Don't try to understand whether the story makes sense, it doesn't.It is a fairy-tale for adults, a myth of love and darkness.A nightmare where awakening isn't guaranteed.If you want a Horror novel,full of blood and guts and zombies,this isn't for you.If you're in a mood for some dark magic and a wonderful story about a deep love and a haunting parable,then you should give this book a chance.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Heidi The Reader

    The Motion of Puppets is a clever play on an ancient Roman myth. Orpheus was a musician who was so talented he could charm the birds from the sky and make the forest spirits weep. He madly loved a woman named Eurydice. One day, she stepped on a serpent and died. Orpheus nearly lost his mind out of grief for her. So, he made his way to the underworld to beg Lord Hades for his bride. Orpheus plays such sweet music that Persephone weeps and Hades allows the bard to take the shade of his dead wife back The Motion of Puppets is a clever play on an ancient Roman myth. Orpheus was a musician who was so talented he could charm the birds from the sky and make the forest spirits weep. He madly loved a woman named Eurydice. One day, she stepped on a serpent and died. Orpheus nearly lost his mind out of grief for her. So, he made his way to the underworld to beg Lord Hades for his bride. Orpheus plays such sweet music that Persephone weeps and Hades allows the bard to take the shade of his dead wife back to the living world. There's one condition, he can't look back to see if she's following. I think we all know what happened then. This book takes that tragedy and places it in the modern world. Everything is fine until Theo's wife, Kay, goes missing. "She should be more responsible, should know that he would worry, but he could hear her laughing it off when she came home. You'll give yourself ulcers, she'd say. You fret too much. I just went out for croissants." pg 18 He assumes she stumbled into the bed of one of her coworkers and is sleeping off a hangover. But the truth is much worse. Kay has been transformed into something else, something magical and monstrous. "We lucky few can move about as long as the people are not watching. Midnight to first light, we are free." pg 41 She is trapped in a metaphorical "underworld," ruled over by an ancient power and his minions. "You cannot go home," he said. "You cannot ever leave the Back Room." pg 76 Even if Theo can figure out where she's gone, how on earth will Kay go back to the shape she had before? Keith Donohue has crafted a clever and haunting novel, putting a horror-tinged lens on the myth. "And, besides, let me tell you a secret: all art needs a little sadness in it, a small tragedy to balance the human comedy." pg 111 Like Moulin Rouge, Baz Luhrmann's musical take on Orpheus and Eurydice, the elements of the original story are in both works of art. I think The Motion of Puppets is more weird and other-worldly. To truly enjoy this tale, you have to be willing to believe in magic. Highly recommended for readers who like twists on mythology or not-too-terrifying horror stories.

  3. 5 out of 5

    J.K. Grice

    Another absolute winner from Keith Donohue. THE MOTION OF PUPPETS is a very engaging story involving magic and the relationships we share with others. To me, Donohue is very much like an American version of British writer Graham Joyce. Both are masters of some the best dark fantasy out there.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Aditi

    "I could never be on stage on my own. But puppets can say things that humans can't say." ----Nina Conti Keith Donohue, an American best-selling novelist, spins a thoroughly engrossing part-horror-part-mystery book, The Motion of Puppets where the author weaves a slightly gripping tale about a newly married couple's dilemma when the wife goes missing and surprisingly she turns into a puppet, leaving the husband on a trail through the city's darkest alleys to the trending ones, until his belief c "I could never be on stage on my own. But puppets can say things that humans can't say." ----Nina Conti Keith Donohue, an American best-selling novelist, spins a thoroughly engrossing part-horror-part-mystery book, The Motion of Puppets where the author weaves a slightly gripping tale about a newly married couple's dilemma when the wife goes missing and surprisingly she turns into a puppet, leaving the husband on a trail through the city's darkest alleys to the trending ones, until his belief comes true about his wife. Synopsis: From the bestselling author of The Boy Who Drew Monsters and The Stolen Child comes a modern take on the Orpheus and Eurydice myth—a suspenseful tale of romance and enchantment In the Old City of Québec, Kay Harper falls in love with a puppet in the window of the Quatre Mains, a toy shop that is never open. She is spending her summer working as an acrobat with the cirque while her husband, Theo, is translating a biography of the pioneering photographer Eadweard Muybridge. Late one night, Kay fears someone is following her home. Surprised to see that the lights of the toy shop are on and the door is open, she takes shelter inside. The next morning Theo wakes up to discover his wife is missing. Under police suspicion and frantic at her disappearance, he obsessively searches the streets of the Old City. Meanwhile, Kay has been transformed into a puppet, and is now a prisoner of the back room of the Quatre Mains, trapped with an odd assemblage of puppets from all over the world who can only come alive between the hours of midnight and dawn. The only way she can return to the human world is if Theo can find her and recognize her in her new form. So begins a dual odyssey: of a husband determined to find his wife, and of a woman trapped in a magical world where her life is not her own. Kay and Theo has shifted to the Canadian province of Quebec soon after their wedding, where Kay used to work in a theater group as an acrobat and Theo used to work from home by translating the life story of a pioneering photographer, Eadweard Muybridge. But one night, Kay goes missing, after being chased down by a man, when she takes shelter into the comfort of her favorite toy shop with a range of colorful puppets on its display. Theo upturns the whole city in order to find his loving wife, with a faith that she isn't dead but somehow turned into a puppet herself and that he needs to rescue her, but how? The author's previous book, The Boy Who Drew Monsters left me frightened to the very core and enthralled as well as intrigued me till the very last, thereby turning me in to a hardcore fan of the author, and have been vouching to read his upcoming books for quite a while now. Sadly, his new book did not live up to my exceeding expectations, also the book doesn't belong to the horror genre, instead its a sweet love story interlaced in an unraveling mystery. Nonetheless, the story is emotional with a hint of fear and anticipating suspense and will keep the readers engaged till the very end. The author's writing style is eloquent and emotional enough to make the readers feel deeply for the story line as well as for the characters. The narrative of the book is projected in an arresting manner, although at times, it lacked depth or logic, and flowed in its own terms, that might leave the readers baffled. The pacing of the book is smooth as the author unwraps the mystery through many layers and twists while referencing a famous and an age old Greek mythological story about a loving couple. The tone of the book is slightly eerie yet most of the time, the plot evoked a sense of desire, longing and romanticism between two newlyweds who are separated by a mystical circumstance. The mystery, depicted by the author, is full of twists and turns and is unraveled one layer after another, rising the intensity of suspense as the readers delve deeper into the core. The readers are left anticipating for the next clue until the author surprises and blows the readers minds off with an unpredictable twist and the whole journey of Theo finding Kay feels like riding high on a roller coaster passing through owl towns, gorgeous architecture, captivating landscapes and finally emerging into the dark and twisted world of puppets, puppeteers and making of papier mache and wooden puppets. The characters from the book are well crafted out from realism, honesty and psychological flaws. The main characters, Kay and Theo, both are developed with depth and enough back story so that the readers feel connected to those two characters. Kay's demeanor is evolving right from the very start as she begins to feel for the love that she always had for the world of puppets, thereby erasing the love for her husband, Theo. On the other hand, Theo remain attached and devoted to his missing wife, yet his faith never once falters all through out the plot. The supporting characters, especially the puppet characters are extremely delightful and cheers and lightens up the darkness with their pleasing demeanor. In a nutshell, the story is compelling and riveting yet romantic with a dash of being scary and challenging, and fans of mystery and thrillers may find this book appealing. Verdict: Charming tale of love, fantasy, mystery and horror. Courtesy: I'd like to thank the author, Keith Donohue, for providing me with an ARC of his book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    That was unexpectedly wonderful. I don't even know why I was sceptical starting the book, but after I got used to the writing style (in the first few pages it seems like Keith Donohue never met an adjective he didn't like), I was absolutely sucked in. Theo and Kay are newly married and are spending the summer in Quebec, where Kay works as an acrobat und Theo translates a book, when one night Kay gets turned into a puppet. After that, the story follows both Theo, who is missing his wife and despe That was unexpectedly wonderful. I don't even know why I was sceptical starting the book, but after I got used to the writing style (in the first few pages it seems like Keith Donohue never met an adjective he didn't like), I was absolutely sucked in. Theo and Kay are newly married and are spending the summer in Quebec, where Kay works as an acrobat und Theo translates a book, when one night Kay gets turned into a puppet. After that, the story follows both Theo, who is missing his wife and desperate to get her back, and Kay who needs to get used to being a puppet. Both story-lines worked absolutely wonderfully, but Kay's was extraordinarily done. The puppets she encountered and the friendships she forged while trying to maintain a sense of the self she was before were superbly handled. Some reviewers have expressed displeasure that the book is not really a horror book (apparently unlike the author's other books, which I haven't read so I don't have an opinion on that) but for me that was actually a relief - because I get scared easily. It is more a love story than anything else and a very well done one at that. I believed the relationship and believed that the main characters would try anything in their power to get back to each other. The writing style worked really well in creating a fitting atmosphere; especially when the world of the puppets gets described. I adored the matter of fact way Kay' transformation and subsequent integration into the small puppet society is depicted - it seemed more like magical realism than fantasy in that regard. I deducted a star because the middle portion of the book started to drag a little and some of the allusions to the classics were a little on the nose. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I am already looking forward to reading some of the author's older books. ____ I received an ebook via NetGalley and Macmillan-Picador in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for that!

  6. 4 out of 5

    The Behrg

    "Never enter a toy shop after midnight." Keith Donohue's "The Motion of Puppets" is a loose modern day take on the Orpheus / Eurydice myth. (Hint: VERY loose). The premise, as well as the title, of the novel I found instantly intriguing, imagining a sort of dark, enchanting, Charlie Kaufman-esque type of book. Unfortunately, at least for me, this novel failed to deliver. I'm still trying to figure out what it is about this novel that made it so difficult to become attached to. (I've been sitting o "Never enter a toy shop after midnight." Keith Donohue's "The Motion of Puppets" is a loose modern day take on the Orpheus / Eurydice myth. (Hint: VERY loose). The premise, as well as the title, of the novel I found instantly intriguing, imagining a sort of dark, enchanting, Charlie Kaufman-esque type of book. Unfortunately, at least for me, this novel failed to deliver. I'm still trying to figure out what it is about this novel that made it so difficult to become attached to. (I've been sitting on writing this review for over a week). There's an aloofness in the manner the novel is approached that makes it impossible to really connect with any of the characters, except peripherally, and of the two interwoven storylines, there's really no sense of drama or concern for either of the main characters, despite the fact this this couple has been separated, and the wife has been turned into a puppet. I'm not sure how you accomplish that, to be truthful, but it is what it is. And that's the ultimate feeling I got from this novel -- it is what it is. It's a dull version of Toy Story, a mystery that's fairly obvious without any real twists or turns. If it were a road map, it would go from point A to point B without a single bump in the road. It carries a light mystical air to it, but like eating a wafer, you're still starving after your fifteenth time to the table. While I found some of the imagery enjoyable, overall I would have a hard time recommending this book to anyone. It felt more like something I would have been forced to read in English class in High School, and that's never a good sign. Sadly, a pass from yours truly, though I'd love to hear where I went wrong if you've had a chance to read this one.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lata

    I'm not sure what to say about this book. I'm glad it didn't turn into some Chucky-style story, as I'm really not a big fan of the horror genre, because I'm kind of a scaredy cat. The story had fantasy elements, though they were handled in an almost matter-of-fact way. I liked that part of the story took place in a city I've been to a couple of times when I was a kid. And the text was well-written, though I found that this was not a gripping tale. I would find myself feeling like I needed a brea I'm not sure what to say about this book. I'm glad it didn't turn into some Chucky-style story, as I'm really not a big fan of the horror genre, because I'm kind of a scaredy cat. The story had fantasy elements, though they were handled in an almost matter-of-fact way. I liked that part of the story took place in a city I've been to a couple of times when I was a kid. And the text was well-written, though I found that this was not a gripping tale. I would find myself feeling like I needed a break from the story every 10 pages or so, not because I was bored, precisely, but I kept finding that life actually held more interest for me than the book. I guess my reaction to this book is more lukewarm/tepid than anything. The puppet community was kind of interesting, with all the personalities and the slight sense of menace and discombobulation Kay felt in their company. I'm giving this more of a grudging 2.5 to 3 stars because the text was well-written, rather than because I found the mystery and fantastical elements interesting.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bandit

    I was very excited to get this book through Netgalley. I've read Donohue before, almost all of his books, and thoroughly enjoyed them, this one was no exception. It's a dreamlike novel set in a dreamlike Montreal, an Orpheus and Eurydice sort of a story or a mystery thriller, if you like, about a man whose wife disappears one night seemingly without a trace. But with puppets. And that, of course, makes all the difference. What creepier stranger way is there to disappear than in a toy shop after I was very excited to get this book through Netgalley. I've read Donohue before, almost all of his books, and thoroughly enjoyed them, this one was no exception. It's a dreamlike novel set in a dreamlike Montreal, an Orpheus and Eurydice sort of a story or a mystery thriller, if you like, about a man whose wife disappears one night seemingly without a trace. But with puppets. And that, of course, makes all the difference. What creepier stranger way is there to disappear than in a toy shop after midnight. Which just happens to be when the puppets come alive. And from that point on the story bifurcates...one direction is the surreal journey of the disappeared wife, one a very real quest to find her by the grieving husband assisted by a dwarf performer. It's a very enjoyable read, though I would recommend reading it in as close to one sitting as possible, since walking away from it does something to the suspension of disbelief and disengages in a way. The puppet world was absolutely stunning of a creation. What a disturbing and lovely imagination the author has. If I had to classify it, it would probably be something like literary horror/darker fantasy/surreal love thriller. Either way it's quite good and well worth the time. Thanks Netgalley.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sudha Kuruganti

    The beginning of this book gripped me, but the ending disappointed me. Perhaps I should have expected it, with the book being based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Without going into too many spoilers, I expected a more satisfying ending, given that this was meant to be a retelling of the myth - instead, the denouement felt rushed, and fell flat after all the spooky build up. The heart of the myth is Orpheus's journey to and through the underworld - the equivalent here is very rushed, and i The beginning of this book gripped me, but the ending disappointed me. Perhaps I should have expected it, with the book being based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Without going into too many spoilers, I expected a more satisfying ending, given that this was meant to be a retelling of the myth - instead, the denouement felt rushed, and fell flat after all the spooky build up. The heart of the myth is Orpheus's journey to and through the underworld - the equivalent here is very rushed, and is the very last chapter, when I would have expected it to be the last third of the book. Another disappointment was our heroine, Kay. For someone trapped as a puppet, she seemed spectacularly uninterested in going back to her old life. Other characters (who were said to be trapped longer than her) seemed more eager to escape. There were a lot of loose ends, many Chekov's guns that ended up unfired - like the mysterious 'secret' that had made Kay and Theo break up when they were still dating, which was never fully explained. What or who was the mysterious Inuit puppet? Who were the puppeteers and why were they all (so many people!) so blase about the idea of human beings being converted into puppets? In all, it's a spooky book with a lot of atmosphere. Read it if you like your horror without gore and blood. I received this book from NetGalley for an honest review. Thanks, NetGalley! :)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brenda A

    Perhaps I'm too jaded at this point but there's no way I would call this a creepy novel. If anything, this is the type of book I would've read when I was 12--creepy enough to a virginal mind, but child's play to my adult brain. As I've said previously, I read Stephen King at the tender age of 12. It was The Dark Half and it started almost immediately with a gory scene of blood spattered walls and a massive amount of tension. The Motion of Puppets is what I'd ultimately call a romance. The emphas Perhaps I'm too jaded at this point but there's no way I would call this a creepy novel. If anything, this is the type of book I would've read when I was 12--creepy enough to a virginal mind, but child's play to my adult brain. As I've said previously, I read Stephen King at the tender age of 12. It was The Dark Half and it started almost immediately with a gory scene of blood spattered walls and a massive amount of tension. The Motion of Puppets is what I'd ultimately call a romance. The emphasis is on Theo's undying love for his new wife and his desperate desire to get her back. Kay, for her part, was indifferent to everything: her old life, her new life, her circumstances, even her friends. She didn't seem to particularly miss Theo or care about being a puppet either way. Since she was never involved, I wasn't either. I also had a really hard time accepting WHY these puppeteers were so okay with turning people into puppets. If it's a dying entertainment, what's the point? They were having such a hard time finding work that it didn't seem to be a particularly lucrative way of life, never mind the fact that they were stealing plenty of other lives to boot. Too many different components just didn't sit right with me and it ultimately ruined my overall enjoyment of the book despite my love of good retellings and Greek mythology.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Peaches

    Expectations are thwarted by the smallest accidents...Like thinking this book would be groundbreaking! So, it's a great idea, but I'm really disappointed in this one. A lot of reviews I see that give this book more stars are toting that it has a "creepy" mood that keeps you on edge, but I didn't feel it. Granted, I don't find dolls/puppets creepy anyway, so maybe I'm not the target audience, but the puppets didn't seem any different than many human characters. Plus, Kay has moments where she real Expectations are thwarted by the smallest accidents...Like thinking this book would be groundbreaking! So, it's a great idea, but I'm really disappointed in this one. A lot of reviews I see that give this book more stars are toting that it has a "creepy" mood that keeps you on edge, but I didn't feel it. Granted, I don't find dolls/puppets creepy anyway, so maybe I'm not the target audience, but the puppets didn't seem any different than many human characters. Plus, Kay has moments where she really enjoys herself there and it seems logical that she eventually would fully (especially since she begins to forget Theo's name not even a week into being a puppet...). I don't read a lot of fantasy because I find it silly, but with this book, the magical realism elements worked, while the general elements of a work of fiction such as plot pacing and characterization did not: 1. Despite it being shorter than many books I've read, this book feels so slow. I found myself trying to coerce myself into continuing it, hoping it would pick back up. Then, the ending is completely rushed and leaves the reader with a sense of emptiness not for what the characters have lost, but from a lack of a less than fulfilling ending! 2. One of the most interesting parts is the connection to the myth. Yet, the entire connection happens at the end and it thrown in so quickly you basically don't know what has happened. Suddenly, Theo looks at her because he's so insecure and then he's ripped to shreds! 3. Theo is so obsessive, odd, and insecure. It's difficult to see why Kay even liked him, which we never figure out since she keeps forgetting and he never knew in the first place! 4. Kay is secretive with her private life to the point that it's hard to connect with her. She might as well stay a puppet since she was so empty as a human. 5. The ancient puppet lost relevance towards the middle of the book and then had a confusing ending. He doesn't seem evil, but then he tries to keep Kay. He doesn't remark on Kay's former love for him or why he has control over these humans. It's like Donohue never figured out what he was trying to write about. 6. The fact that Theo and everyone is quick to believe Kay has turned into a puppet. Sure, it happens all the time! I did enjoy the different puppets, their complexity (like the worm, Devil, and Queen), and when they put on performances: "all art needs a little sadness in it, a small tragedy to balance the human comedy" (111). I also loved Noe, my favorite character with a head full of bees, desperately clinging to a world she was no longer a part of. For the greater good, the Queen expected her to suffer in isolation: "Did you not consider that if you open your mind, you will release everything it holds?" (186). If any puppet deserved to escape, it was her!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Robin Bonne

    This is the second Keith Donohue book that I have read and given five stars, so I guess I must be a fan.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Thank you Netgalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. College professor Theo and his new wife Kay, an acrobatic performer, have temporarily relocated to Quebec so she can perform in the cirque. While there, she becomes enchanted by a quaint little toy shop - especially the ancient puppet on display in the front window. Much to her dismay though, the shop is always closed. On her way home from the cirque one evening, Kay feels like she is being followed. Thank you Netgalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. College professor Theo and his new wife Kay, an acrobatic performer, have temporarily relocated to Quebec so she can perform in the cirque. While there, she becomes enchanted by a quaint little toy shop - especially the ancient puppet on display in the front window. Much to her dismay though, the shop is always closed. On her way home from the cirque one evening, Kay feels like she is being followed. To her relief, the lights are on in the toy shop, so she decides to duck inside to escape her assailant. The next thing she knows, she has been transformed into a puppet and is relegated to the back room of the shop. Theo, in the meantime, is frantically searching for clues to his wife's whereabouts and faces scrutiny from the police and his mother-in-law. This was one of the strangest and most compelling books I've read in a while. The mental images that this book conjured as I read were disturbing, but fascinating, and the ending was shocking. I'm totally creeped out by puppets now though...lol!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    I picked this book up because the premise of it sounded like it would be right up my literary alley...but that was not the case. It could have been great, a modern retelling of the Orpheus/Eurydice myth set in modern day Canada, but I just couldn't get into the story. I kept waiting for something to grab my attention and hold it, but it never did. It maybe just me but I couldn't give this book more than 2 stars. Thanks to MPS for the ARC.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    Loved this book! I don't have time to read many novels, so when I pick one up I need it to grab me immediately. This one did, and I couldn't put it down! A more honest star rating would be 4.5 because of a couple snippets here and there that seemed too coincidental or "on the nose" as another reviewer put it. But I really did enjoy it! I'm disappointed that the novel didn't end the way I was hoping, but I'm not disappointed IN the novel. Not every story can progress how we'd like it to! :)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Williams

    https://lynns-books.com/2016/10/30/th... The Motion of Puppets is a darkly enchanting tale based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. I really enjoyed this. To be frank, I was completely intrigued. The author spins a tale that is compellingly horrifying and I just couldn’t put it down. The story starts off with a newlywed couple. To an extent they come across as an unlikely couple, Kay is a performer, currently holding a position in the Cirque as an acrobat and her husband Theo is an academic, a l https://lynns-books.com/2016/10/30/th... The Motion of Puppets is a darkly enchanting tale based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. I really enjoyed this. To be frank, I was completely intrigued. The author spins a tale that is compellingly horrifying and I just couldn’t put it down. The story starts off with a newlywed couple. To an extent they come across as an unlikely couple, Kay is a performer, currently holding a position in the Cirque as an acrobat and her husband Theo is an academic, a little older than Kay and usually with his head in a book. And yet, the two of them are in love. They’ve found that special something that just works for them and they’re happy. Until one evening, when Kay, after having finished the evening’s performance, accepts an invitation to go for a small soiree with some of the other artistes. Of course one drink leads to three and soon enough Kay is walking home alone, wary of footsteps that seem to be echoing in her trail. She spots a light on in a window. It’s the toy shop that she’s been strangely fascinated with, especially the old puppet in the front window. The shop has never been opened before and dashing in for cover Kay doesn’t even consider the oddness of a toy shop being open in the early hours of the morning when the streets are dark and everyone is asleep in their beds. Of course, Kay is never seen again and Theo becomes the prime suspect in this strange tale. I don’t want to say too much more about the plot. However, I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that Kay has been transformed into a puppet. She now lives in the ‘back room’ of the toy shop with an odd assortment of other puppets that all come to life between midnight and sunrise. Where do I start! The strange world of the toy shop. A dusty place, now home to the strangest collection of puppets ranging from a Queen to a Devil. They all abide by the rules set by the owners – otherwise known as the ‘giants’ in fact they are their own enforcers in that respect. Every now and again one of the puppets is taken to perform and occasionally that puppet might never return. I love the way the author has set the scene for this story. There’s a certain olde world feel to everything in fact it almost feels like its set in the 50s and yet clearly it isn’t! The cast. Kay as a puppet is such a conundrum. Like the rest of the puppets she is slowly losing her sense of self and in one respect she isn’t unhappy although she does remember being in love. She’s a puppet and as such she performs and of course performing makes her content. All of the puppet characters are slightly sad in much the same way – sad and yet resigned. Some of them have little snippets, stories of a former life that now feels more unreal than the life they now live. Providing they behave they have no real fear and some of them have been in the back room for so long that they remember nothing from their previous lives. Then we have Theo who is frantically searching for Kay. The police are on his case as is his mother in law! They suspect foul play Theo’s only friend is Egon, a dwarf who works on the Cirque. He believes Theo and wants to help him. Then we have the giants. Usually their arrival comes with a sense of tension and fear – and yet, they love these puppets – they almost act as though they’re children. So, what hooked me about the story. Firstly the style of writing. This isn’t necessarily a fast paced story but the writing is lovely and as I mentioned it evokes a different feel to the one being portrayed. A modern day fairytale almost. It has a totally mixed feel about it. Horror – but not visceral horror – there is nothing bloodthirsty at work here. It’s the simple horror about what happened to Kay and the others and I admit the whole transforming Kay into a puppet chapter gave me the chills. Frightening indeed. Plus puppets. Puppets are just plain scary. Then there’s the tension, which was cranked high. Theo always seems to be one step behind – it’s just so frustrating! Did I have any criticisms. Not really, especially whilst reading. I think that if you’re expecting answers then you may be a little bit disappointed but if you fancy just falling into a dark and captivating tale then this could just be for you. A creepy, enchanting, horrifying, mystery. With puppets. I received a copy courtesy of the publishers for which my thanks. The above is my own opinion.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

    "Never enter a toy shop after midnight" is a warning that appears early in this lovely horror story. Unfortunately, it comes too late for acrobat Kay, working for the summer in Quebec City and fascinated by the weird little shop filled with puppets. Returning home to her husband late one night after a performance, she fears she is being followed; as she passes the toy shop, she finds it unlocked and enters. By the next morning, she can be measured in inches, not feet, and is one of the eerie col "Never enter a toy shop after midnight" is a warning that appears early in this lovely horror story. Unfortunately, it comes too late for acrobat Kay, working for the summer in Quebec City and fascinated by the weird little shop filled with puppets. Returning home to her husband late one night after a performance, she fears she is being followed; as she passes the toy shop, she finds it unlocked and enters. By the next morning, she can be measured in inches, not feet, and is one of the eerie collection of once-human puppets. Meanwhile, her French professor husband Theo is beside himself, looking for her over and over with no success until months later, he learns of a puppet show and sees a news clip of a puppet who looks remarkably like Kay. And since this is a re-imagining of Orpheus and Eurydice, is there a chance he can save her? Very satisfying horror novel, when so many ultimately disappoint me by laying out all the tricks. Pacing here is relentless but not really fast, as there are lots of clues to investigate and we follow Kay's life in the puppet troop and Theo's endless search in alternating points of view; involving, compelling characters; intricately plotted, inventive story line that's layered with references to classical roots of Orpheus and Eurydice tale and fascinating information about photographer Eadweard Muybridge, the photographer famed for his photographs of animals in motion (proved that a galloping horse does have all 4 feet in air); "hypnotic prose"; suspenseful, nightmare tone. Narrator Bronson Pinchot's performance is a fabulous way to experience this fine story.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard

    Sort of DNF. I got about 2/3 of the way in and started skimming until the last two chapters. It was rough folks. Now, I reserve 1 out of 5 stars for books I hate. This sits right about that. I didn't hate it but I do regret picking this up. My entire emotions can be summed up with one gif: Once again, a book set in Canada is a disappointment for me. I give up. I pondered for this whole thing "who is this book for?" It's got a cover to appeal to middle grade, the price point of an adult title (near Sort of DNF. I got about 2/3 of the way in and started skimming until the last two chapters. It was rough folks. Now, I reserve 1 out of 5 stars for books I hate. This sits right about that. I didn't hate it but I do regret picking this up. My entire emotions can be summed up with one gif: Once again, a book set in Canada is a disappointment for me. I give up. I pondered for this whole thing "who is this book for?" It's got a cover to appeal to middle grade, the price point of an adult title (nearly $40 CAD. Are publishers out of their damn mind?!) and I...think the actual content of YA/adult. It sits in this weird limbo that I wouldn't know who to recommend this to as a librarian. Not a damn clue. There was literally nothing I liked about this book. The characters...well existed but I think that's all the praise I can give. The plot seemed non-existent. The slowest damn pacing ever-- ...wait... ...I figured out it's target audience... ...Give it to parents who need help making their kids fall asleep! So in summation...don't bother? Nothing happens. Dull. Potentially cool idea but just absolutely nothing was done with it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    Fascinating updating of the Orpheus/Eurydice myth to present-day Quebec, New York and Vermont. A young couple, Kay and Theo are spending their summer in Quebec--Kay in a circus and Theo, a professor, translating a book on a pioneer photographer from French to English. Kay disappears; she is transformed into a puppet. The story recounts Theo's frantic efforts to reunite with her. I was up until the wee hours last night to see how the author resolved the story; I already knew the myth. A fantasy w Fascinating updating of the Orpheus/Eurydice myth to present-day Quebec, New York and Vermont. A young couple, Kay and Theo are spending their summer in Quebec--Kay in a circus and Theo, a professor, translating a book on a pioneer photographer from French to English. Kay disappears; she is transformed into a puppet. The story recounts Theo's frantic efforts to reunite with her. I was up until the wee hours last night to see how the author resolved the story; I already knew the myth. A fantasy with maybe a bit of not too scary horror thrown in. A quick read. Recommended.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    On the surface, The Motion of Puppets has everything that would make it a great story – puppets that come alive at night, a mysterious disappearance, two lovers torn apart and their desperate search for each other. Yet, something is missing. It is a story where the only driving force of the narrative is Theo’s ongoing search, and there is nothing surprising about the fact that he will eventually find her. There is no urgency. There is no fear. There is no mystery. Then there is the novel Theo is On the surface, The Motion of Puppets has everything that would make it a great story – puppets that come alive at night, a mysterious disappearance, two lovers torn apart and their desperate search for each other. Yet, something is missing. It is a story where the only driving force of the narrative is Theo’s ongoing search, and there is nothing surprising about the fact that he will eventually find her. There is no urgency. There is no fear. There is no mystery. Then there is the novel Theo is translating. Eadweard Muybridge is the man who gave us the first stop-motion images of a horse galloping and solved the question of whether a horse always kept one hoof on the ground at a time. Much of Theo’s section of the novel is spent thinking about Muybridge, his life in the abstract, and his life-long scientific study of capturing objects in motion through photography. While the irony is not lost on readers, the true purpose of the focus on Muybridge may be. The key to the lessons such parallels provide is to feel a connection to the characters. Theo is not a character with whom most readers will connect, however, rendering any lesson or major point to be gleaned by his research of Muybridge to be moot, or at the very least not worth the effort necessary to discern it. At the same time, the language within The Motion of Puppets is a bit too pragmatic for the subject matter. With puppets who used to be human beings, one expects a certain level of flowery prose to add to the fantasy. There should be adequate mood setting and a hint of mystery within each sentence to set the right tone. Mr. Donohue uses none of that. While his descriptions of nature are indeed picturesque, his descriptions of the people and puppets are less so. There is a matter-of-factness to these scenes which strips away the mysticism and renders the entire thing more depressing than creepy. Have you ever finished reading a book knowing that you are missing some great point the author is trying to make but not interested enough in the story to want to sit and figure it out? Such is my experience with The Motion of Puppets. There is an obvious connection between Theo’s research and Kay’s transformation, but I have no desire to take the time to think about it. At the same time, there is a connection between Kay’s profession and Theo’s research; I know it is there, but it does not interest me in the least. Part of the problem is that what I wanted – a spooky story about puppets that are alive – is not what what I got. The Motion of Puppets may be about puppets who are alive, but it is anything but unsettling and a lot less interesting that one might think. Kay’s experiences are too narrowly confined, and Theo spends almost as much time thinking about Muybridge as he does searching for his wife. The characters are flat with little backstory and no development. The resulting story has a plodding feel to it, as the pacing limps along until such a time as Theo is ready and able to make a move. By the time that happens, it is almost too late for readers to actually care what happens.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rani

    Kay Harper is out late one night when she feels herself being followed, takes refuge in a puppet shop and disappears. Her husband Theo, distraught to find that she’s missing, begins a search to find out what happened to her. I was really excited to read this when I first heard about it because the idea of a fantasy book exploring puppets just seemed so cool. But I didn’t wind up loving it. The book is essentially divided into two POVs. The first is Theo trying to find out what happened to his wi Kay Harper is out late one night when she feels herself being followed, takes refuge in a puppet shop and disappears. Her husband Theo, distraught to find that she’s missing, begins a search to find out what happened to her. I was really excited to read this when I first heard about it because the idea of a fantasy book exploring puppets just seemed so cool. But I didn’t wind up loving it. The book is essentially divided into two POVs. The first is Theo trying to find out what happened to his wife who disappeared. His sections were fine, in some ways they read easier than Kay’s, but they also felt rather generic. It’s just a plot that I’ve seen so many times again and other than being better written and less suspesneful, there wasn’t much that distinguished most of his sections from a random thriller. It’s also frustrating because we know what’s happened to Kay so we spend so much time with Theo trying to find out what the readers already know. The other POV is Kay (who has been turned into a puppet) figuring out this new world she’s in. This section has an Alice-in-Wonderland type feel, in that its very bizarre, seems to operate on a logic of its own, and almost all of the other characters have accepted their situation (being puppets). To give this part credit, the imagery was vivid, and I loved Noe as a character. But ultimately, I found this section to be creative but not compelling. There were a few parts that caught my eye, but for the most part, being a puppet just seemed so boring. (And maybe it’s supposed to be, but I didn’t love reading about it). It also didn’t help that I never got attached to either main character (Kay or Theo). And I never got fully invested in their relationship either. Kay could be proactive sometimes, but for much of the story it felt like she was just there. (And I realize that there might be some limits on the proactivity you can have as a puppet, but still…) And Theo wasn’t very interesting either. The writing was really pretty and the puppet are creative, but I just didn’t love the story.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Despite the premise that, “Love is the madness which allows us to believe in magic,” I really struggled with this book. Considering how much I loved The Stolen Child and thought the magical realism was done well, Puppets fell short. Newlyweds Kay and Theo are spending the summer in Quebec where Kay is performing as an acrobat in a local cirque. One night, she fails to return home. Little does Theo know, she’s been transformed into a puppet in a mysterious toy store they have passed many times, b Despite the premise that, “Love is the madness which allows us to believe in magic,” I really struggled with this book. Considering how much I loved The Stolen Child and thought the magical realism was done well, Puppets fell short. Newlyweds Kay and Theo are spending the summer in Quebec where Kay is performing as an acrobat in a local cirque. One night, she fails to return home. Little does Theo know, she’s been transformed into a puppet in a mysterious toy store they have passed many times, but has never been open. When Kay first disappears, Theo’s helplessness makes for a lot of inaction in the plot. It took more than 100 pages for the story to gain momentum, and even when it did, I didn’t get a good feel for Kay or Theo as characters. I was left wanting more about the puppets Kay was sequestered with, like the backstories about how they ended up there. No definitive explanation for the source of the puppet-transforming magic is ever given. Add to that a disappointing conclusion, and I’m sad to say that novel did not captivate me whatsoever. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Shorty

    This novel by Donohue is brilliantly done. I was immediately spellbound, and loved every single bit of this novel. It was fascinating! Being this is only my second Donohue novel, I am compelled to read all of them now. The audiobook was again narrated by Bronson Pinchot, who was exquisite at his craft. The ending of this novel was powerful, for me. I’m going to need to go and think about this novel for a while, and everything that happened in it. Especially the ending. Meanwhile, please go here a This novel by Donohue is brilliantly done. I was immediately spellbound, and loved every single bit of this novel. It was fascinating! Being this is only my second Donohue novel, I am compelled to read all of them now. The audiobook was again narrated by Bronson Pinchot, who was exquisite at his craft. The ending of this novel was powerful, for me. I’m going to need to go and think about this novel for a while, and everything that happened in it. Especially the ending. Meanwhile, please go here and read this much better review of this novel, instead: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... I give this novel 4.5 stars, and recommend it to everyone. Seriously, go read it. You may love it, too.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    ** I received an advance reader copy of this book for free through a Goodreads giveaway. ** This is an extremely dark and distressing story. Despite this, I quite enjoyed it and felt a need to finish it and even found myself enjoying the end, the dark and unsure and disturbing end. The characters are enthralling, both the read and the unreal ones. I'm still not sure what I think of the story but I am very glad that I read it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Allen Murphey

    Newlyweds Theo and Kay are summering in Quebec. Fascinated by puppets left in an abandoned toy store, Kay slips inside late one night and vanishes. No clues, no trace. Police suspect Theo, Theo suspects everyone, and no one. This story of Theo’s search and of Kay’s survival and quest to escape is classic Donohue – tight, unique, electric, creepy. A wonderful read. >>Support independent bookstores by buying real books from real stores where you can talk with real booksellers.

  26. 5 out of 5

    (Mellifluous Grant)

    This book was kinda like unfolding a paper crane, frustrating at points, continuously changing and unpredictable, and in the end a complete metamorphosis. I really enjoyed this story, it was original, unexpected, and the ending oh my does it surprise!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    This was not what I was expecting it would be. On one hand, the psychology was so interesting, I found it hard to put down. On the other, the truly freaky characterization was mesmerizing. I loved the Old City Quebec/Rural Vermont set up. Even at the end, there were parts that were mysterious...

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dave Peticolas

    A nice and creepy story about puppets, thanks Amy!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dover Free

    Tamara read this book and wrote this review: (Check out this book at the Dover Free Library) That was a nice little read for adults or perhaps older teens. A satisfyingly creepy story about a woman who has been remade (slightly gruesomely) into a puppet (trapped, but retains her memories and consciousness)and must reside with a collection of strange and creepy marionettes and hand puppets owned by a couple of puppeteers who travel from Quebec to Vermont to perform shows. The woman's husband sear Tamara read this book and wrote this review: (Check out this book at the Dover Free Library) That was a nice little read for adults or perhaps older teens. A satisfyingly creepy story about a woman who has been remade (slightly gruesomely) into a puppet (trapped, but retains her memories and consciousness)and must reside with a collection of strange and creepy marionettes and hand puppets owned by a couple of puppeteers who travel from Quebec to Vermont to perform shows. The woman's husband searches desperately for his missing wife. Can he find her? Will he figure out the magical and awful mystery of her disappearance one dark night and bring her back? Living in Vermont makes this story fun to read when I recognized the references to town names, the news station and even the puppet theatre company.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    While this book was different than I expected, I did still find it a great read. It was a bit slower than I anticipated but was full of beautiful writing and some musings on life and consciousness that I enjoyed. It evoked a melancholy fairy tale feel which I loved. I would not have placed it in the horror genre which I have seen it categorized as multiple times.

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