Book Review: Puppet by Pauline C. Harris

23015970

Puppet by Pauline C. Harris

A YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi Novel published by Patchwork Press (10/17/14)

 

Summary:

“What I am now was derived from things like that puppet onstage. In many ways, we’re alike; the same. Controlled by others in a world where all you want is to be free.” (Kindle Locations 1121-1122).

Puppet is a twisted retelling of Pinocchio, where Penelope is a real girl with real problems who is recruited (somewhat forced to volunteer) to be an experiment by her new adoptee father Jed. He has created an advanced technology that allows Pen to be stronger, faster, and more like a puppet than ever…. Her abilities make her a liability and so she must be curbed, but Jed doesn’t have that technology yet and what he has to do to make it so she is free takes away all the freedoms she thought she wanted.

 

Keywords:

Orphan, Experiment, Retelling, Pinocchio, Girl with Power, Puppet, Advanced Technology, Scientists, Humanity, Vulnerability, Lies, Past Life, Normal

 

My Review:

This shorter novel contained many similarities to the Mechanical Trilogy by the same author, Pauline C. Harris, as if this shorter version is the inspiration for the trilogy. There were similar themes, events, and characters between Puppet and the Mechanical Trilogy. At one point, someone throws something fast and without warning at Pen’s head and she is able to catch it with her newfound abilities, just like in both stories.

I thought it was really clever some of the integrations of Pinocchio with this modern sci fi retelling of the tale. The smooth inclusion of taking away Pen’s ability to lie was quite interesting. I could clearly see the imagination of the author at work.

The appearance of a carnival in the middle of the woods is random and seems unrelated to the plot.

There was a lack of clarity and definition for the science or technology or the more general description of a world with this type of technology.

The version I read, downloaded for kindle from Amazon contained very little proper ebook formatting. The book was simple, though, and flowed enough where the lack of spacing and justifying didn’t actually detract from the speed and ease of reading, just detracted from the maturity and responsibility of the publisher and the author.

This novel was published by Patchwork Press October 17th, 2014 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 2.75

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Twitter

Pauline C. Harris’s Website and Blog

Advertisements

Book Review: The Secrets of Evelyn Taylor by Pauline C. Harris

18038771

The Secrets of Evelyn Taylor by Pauline C. Harris

A YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi Novelette published by Amazon Digital Services (04/08/13)

Summary:

“Remember. Remember. Don’t forget. The words swirled through my mind. What did they mean? What were all these secrets? Greta, Ms. Ferguson, Sophie and Jill kept secrets from me. Even my mind kept secrets from me. Was there anyone or anything that could be honest with me?” (Kindle Locations 1081-1083).

Evelyn Taylor needs to remember. But what is she forgetting? There is a reason she is holed up in a house and kept in a perpetual eighth grade. There is a reason she is not allowed outside.

Keywords:

Speculative Fiction, Past Life, Erased Memory, Caretakers, Plants, Remembering, 14 Years Old, New Life, Curiosity, Young Writer

 

My Review:

I was greatly disappointed with this book, however, I didn’t realize it was written by a teenager. What does a thirteen year old know about writing? What does a thirteen year old know about the world? Pauline C. Harris knew enough to craft a fun, easy read, but she was missing some of the important elements to bring the book together and make it something great.

Harris keeps both the reader and the main character Evelyn in the dark about what is really going on. To begin, all the reader gets is a confused day to day randomness with hints at something bigger in the background. Harris keeps the meat of the story withheld too long and I think it would have been more interesting to have more of a clue of what was going on or to make this a short story and not try to make it a standalone novel. There is not enough of the story. There were too many characters introduced late in the story and not enough descriptions and personalities ascribed to them.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services April 8th, 2013 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 3.25

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Twitter

Pauline C. Harris’s Website and Blog

Book Review: Mechanical Trilogy by Pauline C. Harris

18325560 18332079 412vR3-jkFL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

Mechanical Trilogy by Pauline C. Harris

Mechanical – A YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi Novelette published by Fire and Ice Young Adult Books (04/28/13)

Perfect – A YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi Novelette published by Fire and Ice Young Adult Books (07/27/13)

Flawed – A YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi Novelette published by Fire and Ice Young Adult Books (11/07/13)

My Review:

 

I am going to review the entire trilogy in one post as each book was not very long and the trilogy could have been one book in the first place. Also, I will not be posting full reviews to Amazon/Goodreads as I admire what the author is doing and thought her last book published was stellar (The Hourglass) and the fact that this trilogy was so poorly done shouldn’t count against her as an author or for her future works.

The Mechanical Trilogy was a disappointment to me as a reader but much more impressive when I took into consideration that the author (at the time) was only a teenager. This fact, however, doesn’t make the book better it just makes me consider the book differently. Perhaps knowing how young the author was would have been helpful to know before I read the books rather than after as I would have let a lot more things that weren’t so great slide.

The message Harris was conveying with her trilogy was a good one: nobody is perfect and it’s ok to be flawed. Her dystopian theme was neat, with robots vs. people as the main component. Where things fell apart was the lack of cohesion overall, the plot randomness without many plot points being supported, the obvious lack of an outline, the unreality of the technology and the decisions the characters made, the immaturity of the characters that were supposed to be “perfect” but had obvious lacks of intelligence and ability to think through situations clearly. The author never went very deep into any action. For instance, multiple times the rebel characters wanted to break into the institution and every time they were able to with the first idea they came up with. It wasn’t suspending disbelief but rather there was no reality to the actions and sequences.

I really wish the mechanized humans acted like the ‘perfect’ machines they were supposed to be, except in reality they were rather pathetic in their reasoning abilities and intelligence and understanding. Even normal humans are many times more clever than the ‘perfect’ mechanical characters Harris created. If the androids are so perfect, why do they keep making the most ridiculously stupid mistakes? Sure it moves the plot along, but it’s at odds with the concept Harris is trying to get across. Most of the time the characters just went along with everything, didn’t question things, didn’t think out the possibilities, and didn’t try to escape. Much of the second book was the group of rebels trying to escape from the institution creators and robots over and over. They were just reacting to the situation and not learning from any of their experiences.

The world they lived in never felt real. The author didn’t bring the far-fetched concept (perfecting humans by making them androids) into reality. She also never defined how her magic-like technology could even exist and there weren’t other examples of futuristic technology. Mechanical was isolated.

The writing itself displayed many amateur mistakes that popped out like using frequently the words, “just then,” “as I was,” and “suddenly.” Still, there was something that compelled me to read all three books (could be the short length of each one individually) and I wanted to stick it out for an author that truly amazed me with Hourglass. I recommend skipping this trilogy entirely and going straight to her truly finessed work.

This trilogy was published by Fire and Ice Young Adult Books and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 2.75

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Twitter

Pauline C. Harris’s Website and Blog

Book Review: Hourglass by Pauline C. Harris

Hourglass

Hourglass by Pauline C. Harris

A YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi Novel published by Fire and Ice Young Adult Books (03/11/15)

 

Summary:

“A planet isn’t big enough for me. I need space and stars and nothing for light-years around.” (Kindle Locations 312-313).
“You know, it’s a shame. Growing up. I bet you regret it now.” (Kindle Location 1632).

Jude “Judy” Sprocket hates planets. She has to get off Earth. When her dad dies and wills her his ship “Hourglass” she decides to take it and get out of there. There is only one problem. She’s only 17 and without an adult present cannot legally take off. Her crew is full of underage and excited kids. Jacob Holden is her chief engineer at 16. Angelica Rivers is the Assistant Engineer and Salvager. Gregory Miller is a Salvager. Jacobson Keith is a salvager. Sylvia Smith is the medic. Judy is the Captain.

Nothing will stand in the way of the stubborn captain, they are pirates after all, and they don’t exactly follow the rules. Not far from Earth, though, they encounter an uncharted planet. There is no way a planet this close to Earth would remain unknown, but the crew disregards any common sense they might have regarding an unmarked planet, and set down to investigate. Then all nightmares break loose.

 

Keywords:

 Space, travel, teens, kids in charge, Captain, exploration, nightmares, unknown past, sinister planet, leadership, friendship, loyalty, pirates, salvagers, dangerous, haunting past, vague memories

 

My Review:

I loved the concept of this book. Harris cleverly disguised the connection of the book to a well-known children’s story, but brought this connection to light in her before chapter quotes. Her usage of elements of the well-known story was intriguing and kept me hooked and searching for more similarities. But, this story was unique and all its own, even with the comparison story and similarities present.

The idea that there are space pirates who steal unwanted floating space junk is cool, especially when it is considered illegal. Harris took the hilarity of regulation and ridiculous government rules into space. Harris basically extrapolated what we know about travel and Earth and regulations and applied it to space.

Harris kept up the tension and intrigue throughout the novel and kept her twists and turns within the realm of possibility. The story was exciting and the descriptions were great. Judy was a good, solid main character with her own set of flaws and fears, but she had backbone when it counted.

The book also had an uncanny ability to translate the sense of creepiness, horror and dread the characters felt at times.

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this story in exchange for my honest review.

This novel was published by Fire and Ice Young Adult Books March 11th, 2015 and is available on Amazon here.

 

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Twitter