My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I received an ARC of this book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
Honestly, I feel awful for giving this book such a low rating because I could really tell that the author was trying so hard to write a good book, but the unfortunate truth is, this book is not a good book and I would not recommend it to anyone.
1. Not Pinocchio related.
The most glaring issue here was that I walked into the book with the misconception that this would be a clever Pinocchio re-telling that Cinder was of Cinderella. Unfortunately, it seems that only actual relationship between the two stories shrinks down to two minimal facts – 1. the book contains marionettes and 2. the MC of the book, Pen, wants to become “real” (which isn’t all that related because other than having superpower abilities, Pen isn’t actually any less “real” than anyone else, she’s just different).
Not only so, the whole book seemed to have completely missed the moral of the story for Pinocchio – to be a responsible kid – which just made them even less related to each other.
This story is NOT a Pinocchio retelling. It’s a book about the future and marionettes.
2. Awful Characters
One of the biggest problems with this book that it’s characters are pretty awful. Most specifically Pen. Even after finishing the book, I still had no clue what kind of person she is and whether she would be the type of person I would like to be friends with or not.
She’s randomly sarcastic at times, randomly mopey at times. Sometimes she acts like a 12 year old, sometimes a 22 year old. There were many times where I had to remind myself that, oh right, this kid is suppose to be my age. And then I wonder if anyone I knew or just anyone in general would act like this. Realistically saying, probably not.
In fact, she feels just like an emotionless robot the way she narrates everything.
The sad fact is that the secondary characters have more of a defining personality than Pen does. At least we know that James is that “normal” teenage kid. Jed is the over obsessed scientist. Eledin is the typical evil guy. While none of these are very well created original characters, they fare better than Pen. At least I know I would like to be friends with James and probably stay away from Eledin.
I don’t even know what to say about Pen.
3. The prose.
Is no good.
Honestly, there’s way too much telling rather than showing. Multiple times we’re told that Pen was trying to be sarcastic. Rather, it would have been many times better if we were just told “I smirked” or “I sneered”, both which portray sarcasm perfectly.
The plotline was not paced out very well either. The story was slow in the beginning and it almost was as if the author got really tired towards the end and just tossed the ending out in one sitting. It’s too much to ask the reader to be able to swallow the whole plot twist in such a short amount of time, especially when the book just ends less than 30 pages after with not enough explanation. Instead of going “oh shit”, I went “what the fuck?” and then rage quitted for a day.
There was no character development and the romance was probably thrown in there because typical YA.
And, it was totally insta-love.
The author really tried with this book, but it just really is not good. This would be a nice example of a book that should have gotten a few more beta readers.