An old man and brilliant inventor finds a run down cottage in a forest and decides to live there, far away from the rest of the world. One day he is surprised when a distraught couple who seem to be on the run leave a young boy in his care and ask him to raise the child. Two decades later, the tender-hearted, shy, and brilliant boy finds a broken AI robot and decides to repair it. Shortly after, the world descends upon his family in their forest idyll, forcing the young man to leave on a quest to the world beyond. A place of great danger and risk; but he is accompanied by a small crew of fiercely loyal friends who are determined to help him find what they are looking for. This novel holds all the beautiful, tender sentimentality, found family dynamics, loving humor, and self-discovery that I’ve come to expect from TJ Klune. I absolutely fell in love with every character in this motley crew of creatures. I laughed out loud frequently at the antics of Nurse Ratched and Rambo. I cried when things got tough and painful. I feared for the sweet young man who is trying to find his way. It has all the best parts of a huggable book for me.
In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune, (List Price: 28.99, Tor Books, 9781250217448, April 2023)
Reviewed by Elizabeth DeWandeler, A Novel Escape in Franklin, North Carolina