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The Dollmaker

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  48 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Gothic Horror

Tags: Golems, alchemy, voyeurism, Frankensteinish, identity loss, monster identity – man or monster, dark art creation

Stephen Monaghan is a brilliant chemist and gifted sculptor. Unable to love a human woman, he uses his genius and arcane science to create a living woman out of wood. Just one can’t fill his bottomless need, so he creates more and more of these
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published August 28th 2012 by
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Average rating 4.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  48 ratings  ·  16 reviews

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Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't sure what to make of this book initially. All I had heard was it was about a guy who made some life-sized dolls he had a disturbing relationship with. Having read it, I can affirm it is definitely a disturbing story about some life-size dolls. In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb and tell you that if you don't have a relatively strong stomach for disturbing concepts and gore, you probably won't make it past the first 10 pages. Although, if that's the case, I'm not sure why you would c ...more
Dec 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally, a horror book that actually horrifies!

The first ten pages tested my wanting to read this book, but once I got past that, it had its fangs in me. Whilst the subject matter is disturbing and the book sometimes gets pretty graphic, you can't help but want to know what happens on the next page. I started the book earlier today and it kept me so engaged that I stayed up into the early AM hours to both finish it and write this review.

This is a book that I HIGHLY recommend to any true horro
J. Ringo
Jan 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'm not going to lie to you - this book's pretty dark. But if you like real horror (mixed with some philosophical questions about reality and humanity), you're going to love this book. It might keep you up at night, but it's certainly not an experience you're going to easily forget. Nor will you want to forget it, as it's not only haunting, but also strangely poignant and affecting. Robinson's created a truly original story. Do yourself a favor and read it now.
Sep 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An homage to Frankenstein crossed with an erotic nightmare, shot through with shades of Philip K. Dick's eternal question: what does it mean to not be human? This is a dark, disturbing story about love, desire, repression, and the line between fantasy and reality. It is a gripping read with surprising depth, and one of the most creative horror stories I have ever encountered.
Janet Rogers
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actual rating is closer to 4.5, but some hiccups with the plot or continuity make me hesitant to give it a perfect score.

I got the sense in early chapters that this book would be along the lines of Frankenstein, braced myself for it to play out as a Frankensteinian tragedy. I was wrong. There are definitely parallels- this book is still technically about a troubled genius creating artificial life, and then having to confront the implications and consequences when his creation(s) feel, learn, an
Tudor Gădălean
Sep 03, 2019 rated it liked it
It's clear from the beginning that Justin Robinson strove to write a really strange book. Sometimes that played to his advantage; other times I feel like it made his writing incoherent.

This is a story about a guy who makes „dolls”. He is a combination of Geppetto and Frankenstein with one big difference: he (always) fucks his dolls in the act of creation. I'm kidding. Not about the intercourse, but about his motives and application. Stephen Monaghan, our wannabe Geppetto, tries to cover his inse

Stephen Monaghan is a shy, strange genius living a disturbing double life. One half is a shy, lonely, introverted young man. The second a perverse mad scientist who, to satisfy a livelong obsession, literally bleeds himself dry to create the perfect woman. He creates his dolls from wood, porcelain, plastic, and eventually glass, every act of creation taking a piece of himself along the way. They take on lives of their own as Stephen's work grows beyond anything he could've imagined. One thing is
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It starts out gorey, gets a bit clunky with exposition, but from there you're taken for a ride. I haven't delved much into horror but I thought this was one of the most unique stories I've experienced. The cast of characters that keeps growing and growing is handled well; the dolls each have distinct personalities and motivations that aren't cookie-cutter, which I seriously would have hated.

The main character, in my opinion, is more fleshed out than the awkward-genius mold I expected him to come
Not for me right now.
Karen M
Nov 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, horror
“She would not live. Then again, none of them would, not without whatever he had found in the corners of reality.” – The Dollmaker

It started with a poster hung on the wall of his sister’s bedroom and slowly over the years became an obsession that he had to fulfill. He had a need to create a replacement, an image to which he was capable of connecting. Stephen was a genius and would use his genius to create a substitute for what he desired but could not bear to have in his life or his bed. As each
John Taff
Aug 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Justin Robinson's The Dollmaker is terrific. Period. Extremely original, discomfitting in its gore and blood, but with a strangely sad and poignant heart. I'm going to do it injustice here trying to describe it, but it's sort of like Frankenstein, the Greek myth of Pygmalion (not the musical) and Disney's The Sorcerer's Apprentice (the classic cartoon, not the horrid Nick Cage movie) came together in Robinson's mind (they probably didn't mind you, I'm just trying to describe it). The story is, b ...more
Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is honestly one of the most disturbing books I've ever read. That said, as soon as I started it, I couldn't put it down. I was fortunate enough to read the book during its draft stage, and I finished it the day I started it.

The story isn't a happy one. The good things that happen are really more like not-totally-horrible things happening. Don't let that scare you away! The story is engrossing and the characters are, for the most part, deeply flawed and realistic. This is not a book for the
Jan 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book was a train wreck. It started out fairly weak, feeling juvenile and first-novelish. The author clearly grew up around Claremont, California, as did I, and he has that annoying, amateur tendency to relay details that are only meaningful to people who also get the reference. I know all about the Claremont Colleges, and I still found the references irritating and irrelevant. Someone unfamiliar with the area would be completely clueless, and since that level of detail wasn't necessary for ...more
Mana Taylor-Hall
Feb 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Dollmaker was, is, unique for me. Book are normally something to be absorbed, for the story to wash over and to be carried along with it. Only after I'm done do I find which images stick with me and define the story. That was not the case with Robinson's Dollmaker. The images, the scenes he created would linger, forcing me to revisit them before I could move on to the rest of the story.

It is a horror that creeps under your own skin and forces you to feel it. Which, with the dark places Dollmaker
Mar 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Not since Micheal Slade's Headhunter and Ghoul have I read something as enjoyably disturbing as Dollmaker. Those who know Robinson only for his humorous slant on conspiracies in his novel Mr. Blank are in for a surprise when they dive into his latest outing. In Dollmaker, Robinson grabs us by the hand and drags us into the darkest corners of urban fantasy, laughing maniacally at our horrified reactions to what he's left there for us to experience.
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Loved it!

I absolutely loved The Dollmaker. It was disturbing, creepy, but most of all, a work of art. There were many parts which were hard to read just because they were SO depraved... and yet I was unable to look away.
The book is slightly choppy at the beginning, but after awhile it is easy to pick up the author's flow.
read this book. :)
Ry Herman
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Dave Richardson
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Lauren Devito
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Much like film noir, Justin Robinson was born and raised in Los Angeles. He splits his time between editing comic books, writing prose and wondering what that disgusting smell is. Degrees in Anthropology and History prepared him for unemployment, but an obsession with horror fiction and a laundry list of phobias provided a more attractive option.

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