- Megan Bingham
I've got no strings
To hold me down
To make me fret
Or make me frown
- "No Strings," from Disney's Pinocchio
Kay Harper is an acrobat, spending her summer with a cirque theater company in the Old City of Québec. Theo, her scholarly and dedicated husband, is in tow, translating a French biography on a pioneering photographer. Almost immediately upon arriving, Kay finds herself fascinated by a mysterious toy shop window—a toy shop that is never open. The Quatre Main's front display is filled with an assortment of strange-looking puppets from different eras, and one in particular, sitting underneath a glass dome, has caught Kay's eye.
One late evening after a cirque performance, Kay thinks she's being followed and quickly seeks shelter in the Quartre Main. An odd time for a toy store to be open, but Kay thinks nothing inside could be a danger. And, this way, she can get a closer view of that puppet under the glass dome . . .
The next morning, Theo awakes to find his wife missing. Hadn't she texted him last night and said she wouldn't be back until late? Quickly falling under police suspicion, Theo looks frantically for his wife around the Old City. Meanwhile, Kay finds herself a prisoner in the strange toy shop—and not just any prisoner at that. Will she be able escape from the fantasy world she has been thrown into?
Over the centuries, puppets have been seen in a negative as well as a positive light. Young children may enjoy the playful banter of a puppet show, but, as they get older, puppets can be viewed as horrifying. The horror movie industry feeds on the fears puppets can generate, as seen in films such as The Puppet Master (1989) and Dead Silence (2007). R.L. Stine, master of children's horror, has even written a series of Goosebumps books centered on Slappy, a possessed ventriloquist's dummy.
The Motion of Puppets is a fascinating, frightening, and above all, magical novel. Author Keith Donohue (The Boy Who Drew Monsters) blends a wild and baffling world of fantastical realism and turns it into a horror show. With every page turned, you'll find yourself questioning the Kay's fate, as well as that of her husband Theo, rooting for their undying romance the whole way through. Donohue leaves us with this final thought: is turning into a puppet worse than getting chased down by a puppet? Put The Motion of Puppets on hold to find out!