(Cover picture courtesy of Zeinab Alayan’s website.)
The life of a puppet master is never ordinary. Oliver Deere knew this when he ran away from home to take up the trade of puppetry, but he had no idea just how much his life would change.
After his puppets come to life and flee town, Oliver meets up with a masked girl who hides a mysterious past. As they travel together in search for Oliver’s lost puppets, they find that the line between puppet and master is becoming much less clear – and much more deadly.
As Oliver and his companion enter the strange world of The Parade, they begin to realise that their journey will lead them to discover the truth behind a dangerous villain’s path, and in the end, discover more about each other.
[Full disclosure: Zeinab Alayan sent me a free ebook in return for an honest review of her novel.]
When I saw the title Puppet Parade I must admit I was skeptical. Why? For no logical reason, really. I just thought it sounded stupid.
Yes, I judged a book by its title. I’m a terrible person, I know.
However, once I actually started reading Puppet Parade I was pleasantly surprised. Zeinab Alayan has a very nice, easy to read writing style and although she slips from past to present tense once or twice (especially near the end), I didn’t find nearly as many mistakes as I would have expected in a self-published novel. The only error that really threw me off was in the beginning where there was ‘nut’ instead of ‘but’ on page 8.
Sophie and Oliver really are great characters. In normal novels a man and a woman travelling together would pretty much fall in Insta-Love, but that’s really not the case with this odd pair. Zeinab Alayan took time to fully develop their personalities as they journeyed together through the mysterious Parade and discovered that despite its outward appearances, it had a much more sinister purpose. Sophie’s backstory is pretty incredible, but Puppet Parade does seem to be based in a fairytale-like setting so it does make sense in the context of the story. Oliver can be pretty eccentric but really is an interesting character who is very determined to protect Sophie, even before he admits to himself he has feelings for her.
The world of Puppet Parade is a refreshing break from all of the high fantasy I’ve read lately. Yes, it is fantasy, but it really doesn’t stick to any of the traditional fantasy tropes and clichés. It seemed to be pretty cliché at first, but Zeinab Alayan put an incredible twist on the mysterious world of the Parade that made sense, but was surprising at the same time.
I give this book 4.5/5 stars.