In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune #bookreview #fantasy #LGBTQ #TuesdayBookBlog

In a strange little home built into the branches of a grove of trees, live three robots–fatherly inventor android Giovanni Lawson, a pleasantly sadistic nurse machine, and a small vacuum desperate for love and attention. Victor Lawson, a human, lives there too. They’re a family, hidden and safe.

The day Vic salvages and repairs an unfamiliar android labelled “HAP,” he learns of a shared dark past between Hap and Gio-a past spent hunting humans.

When Hap unwittingly alerts robots from Gio’s former life to their whereabouts, the family is no longer hidden and safe. Gio is captured and taken back to his old laboratory in the City of Electric Dreams. So together, the rest of Vic’s assembled family must journey across an unforgiving and otherworldly country to rescue Gio from decommission, or worse, reprogramming.

Along the way to save Gio, amid conflicted feelings of betrayal and affection for Hap, Vic must decide for himself: Can he accept love with strings attached?

Author TJ Klune invites you deep into the heart of a peculiar forest and on the extraordinary journey of a family assembled from spare parts.

Found family is my favorite trope, and I have yet to come across anyone who does it better than Klune. He put me through the whole gamut of emotions – again – and I don’t know if I should punch him or hug him for it.

Most of these characters are robots and machines, but the primary theme of the book is humanity and having the free will to choose who you want to be. I loved all of them, but Rambo (he’s a Roomba vacuum whose markings were faded and unclear, but they’re pretty sure they got the letters in the right order) and Nurse Ratched, a nursing machine that is a Registered Automaton To Care, Heal, Educate and Drill, will always be with me. Nurse Ratched’s snark and eagerness to drill people who threaten her family immediately won me over. Rambo may be small, but he’s full of unconditional love and bravery. They, Gio, and Victor are composed of more metal than blood, but make no mistake – they’re a family with the strongest of bonds.

They’ve lived hidden and safe in the woods for many years until Vic salvages and repairs HAP (hysterically angry puppet). Hap unknowingly alerts the City of Electric Dreams to their whereabouts, and Gio is captured and taken back to his old laboratory. His family won’t stand for losing one of their own, and what follows is an adventure filled with danger, new experiences, and a world they never knew existed. Before embarking on this journey or entering any dangerous situation, the rules are always recited: Stick together. Run if we have to. No dallying. No drilling (unless Nurse Ratched decides it’s necessary). Above all else, be brave.

This book touched my heart in so many ways, and I can’t recommend it enough. You’ll laugh and maybe even cry a little, but you’ll be so glad you read it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

22 thoughts on “In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune #bookreview #fantasy #LGBTQ #TuesdayBookBlog

    1. I also highly recommend The House in the Cerulean Sea (will always and forever be a favorite) and Under the Whispering Doorway by this author, Robbie. All three are absolutely fabulous and so heartwarming.

      Liked by 1 person

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