Title: In the Lives of Puppets
Author: T.J. Klune
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: April 25, 2023
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.
Another hit for T. J. Klune!
In The Lives of Puppets, we are taken to a world in the future where robots run free.
At the beginning of the story, we get to know the hero Victor, a young human living in a secluded home with his adopted father Gio, and two robots, Nurse Ratched and Rambo.
Victor was the one who fixed Nurse Ratched and Rambo and he is always on the lookout for another machine he can reactivate. So when he finds an android who for a minute was still "alive" before his battery stops, he knows he will do anything to fix the android who he names HAP (Hysterically Angry Puppet). At first, he hides him from GIO until HAP is fully operational. Without realizing by saving HAP, Victor has put his life in danger. Next thing he knows, androids are surrounding his home and GIO is taken prisoner to the City of Electric Dreams. Gio has left a message not to try to find him but Victor can't stop himself but embark on a trip to save the only father he has ever known.
In regards to the characters, even though I care about Victor and root for his success and love HAP's evolution, my heart was stolen by Nurse Ratched and Rambo. Who doesn't love a nurse who can engage in an empathy protocol but truly has a murderous streak with the sole goal of drilling? And Rambo with his sweet disposition, innocence, ferocious loyalty, and the need to be brave?
Worth mentioning is the narrator Danny Henning who does a marvelous job with these wonderful characters just like he did with Cerulean which is still my favorite of Klune's novels.
Adorable characters that make you feel are the recipe for Klune's success. I can't wait for any of his books to become a movie.
A complimentary copy was provided by Tor Books, via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.