Sophie has never seen her face. Her step-mother keeps her locked in her bedroom, telling her it is for her own protection firstly due to the illness she suffered as a child and secondly to keep her from seeing her ugly deformed face. Oliver is a puppeteer obsessed with his own creations, keeping himself willingly isolated from the world. Until the day his puppets come to life and run away, and he goes out to find them, but before he sees any of them, he comes across a mysterious young girl in a mask.
The two embark on a journey to get Oliver’s puppets back, but when they get on a train, they really have no idea what they are heading towards.
The best way I can think to describe this is a modern-day fairytale. And it works brilliantly for it. The story moves along at a nice pace, and the characters themselves draw you into this world. We see everything through the eyes of Oliver and Sophie, and feel their feelings for each other grow at a nice, steady pace. Nothing happens too fast, and we get some great glimpses into the various towns along the route that Sophie and Oliver visit.
Each town is unique in its own way, with its own personality. Certain types of people are attracted to each one, and each town is named for the type of people who live there. Gypsy, Scholar, Aristocrat, Violence and so on. In each one, Sophie and Oliver meet a variety of distinctive and interesting characters, while learning more and more about where they are travelling, and picking up on clues as to where the puppets might be.
It’s not just a happy quest to find the puppets, however, and the two main characters soon find themselves running from danger at every turn. Plus there’s some quite sad moments thrown in there, too, and these moments just seem to cement the relationship between Sophie and Oliver.
Even in third person, the voices of the characters come out quite strongly. You get a sense of them as people, and can see exactly why they act the way they do and the way their lives until the start of the book have shaped them.
There’s not much more I can say without spoiling it. The book overall is a delight to read, and the characters of the puppets are a nice balance to some of the more serious undertones in the book. Especially Andrew. So yeah, if you’re looking for something fun and entertaining, I would strongly recommend. Oh, and visit Zen’s blog because it’s awesome.
Find out more about the book and where you can buy it here.