Thanks to NetGalley and Picador for providing an eArc in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: October 4th, 2016
Synopsis: In the old city of Quebec, 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 that someone is following her home. Surprised to see 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 duel 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.
I absolutely loved Keith Donahue’s The Stolen Child and The Boy Who Drew Monsters, which kept me completely enthralled, so I’ve been really looking forward to The Motion of Puppets. Much to my dismay though, his latest didn’t captivate me like his previous bestsellers. First off, despite the publisher billing this as horror, it’s not. It’s more of a love story mixed with an intriguing mystery and a small dose of suspense. There’s no doubt that Donahue’s writing is elegant and emotional, but there seemed to be something missing here for me. The story and its characters are based on the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, which is one of my favorite tragic love stories, but I had difficult connecting to both Kay and Theo. Actually, I’ll be honest and say I didn’t like Kay at all. We’re told how much she and Theo are in love, but once she’s trapped as a puppet she shows little inclination to get back to her husband. I thought Theo was likable, but there wasn’t really anything that made him standout. The mystery behind everything is definitely interesting and it’s what kept me reading. Unfortunately when I arrived at the end, there were several loose ends that were never tied up which left me extremely frustrated. In the end, The Motion of Puppets turned out to be a disappointment for me. That said, I would still recommend this, particularly if you’re a fan of the author’s. As for me, I’m looking forward to seeing what Keith Donahue comes out with next.