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Sometimes the strings that tie us down are the same strings that set us free.

Sixteen-year-old Pia has always lived in a mysterious facility where mechanical strings control her existence. She plays apprentice to her father, Gio, in performing nanotech designs for the Company, and she soon suspects there are diabolical human forces behind the manufactured reality of her world.

Though her childhood memories and the origins of the strings remain strangely elusive, she begins to find solace with the introduction of two unlikely friends: daring, irrational Sofia, and calm, tender Marco.

As the truths of the past and present unravel together, Pia must find a way to free herself from her strings and escape the facility before facing the wrath of the unstable head of security, Mr. Davis. But to gain her freedom, she must navigate the dangers posed by Davis and by her suspicious new friends to find the real identity of the puppeteer.

If Pia can succeed in revealing the secrets of the Company, she may very well find the independence she so desperately seeks. But in her controlled world nothing is as it seems, and the closer she gets to the truth, the graver the consequences.

366 pages, Paperback

First published February 3, 2016

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About the author

David Estes

85 books2,392 followers
Get a FREE short story from David Estes' #1 Amazon bestselling epic fantasy series, Fatemarked, when you sign up for his mailing list: https://www.subscribepage.com/b2v6v3

David Estes has written more than 40 science fiction and fantasy books. He loves chatting with his readers, all of whom he considers to be his friends. David lives in Hawaii with his beautiful Aussie wife, Adele, his moody cats, Bailey and Luna, and his rambunctious sons, Beau and Brody.

Join 3,000+ David Estes Fans and YA Book Lovers Unite in David Estes' official fan group at:

Books by David Estes:

-The Fatemarked Epic- For fans of A Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, and The Way of Kings! Four kingdoms. A century-old war. One ancient prophecy that could change everything.

-The Kingfall Histories- a follow up series to the #1 Amazon bestselling series, The Fatemarked Epic

-Strings- “A wonderful retelling of the Pinocchio story…I simply couldn’t put this book down.”—Rysa Walker, bestselling author of TIMEBOUND

-The Dwellers Saga and the Country Saga. Voted books to read if you enjoyed the Hunger Games on Buzzfeed and Listopia.

-Salem's Revenge trilogy- the witch apocalypse begins!

-Slip Trilogy- "Someone must die before another can be born..."

-The Adventures of Nikki Powergloves- Kid superheroes? 'Nuff said.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 70 reviews
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,470 reviews9,636 followers
February 24, 2016
MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List

This was me until I got to the end game! I had to know!



Pia and her father Gio are inside of a compound, prisoners, on strings and they have to work in the workshop all of the time.

No one will tell Pia what is going on and she can't do anything she wants or her strings will attack her! Who is pulling those strings!!!


She has a little Robot friend that I just loved. Pia calls him Fig because he's really tiny and he flies around, her father put a secret mechanism in where they can hear and talk to each other without anyone else knowing. ↓ Okay, he's supposed to be tiny, but still


One day out of the blue, Pia gets to go to a garden room with a girl named Sofia and they become friends. It's really nice in the garden room, the flowers and birds, ducks. But why is Pia all of the sudden able to have a friend.

Before that she becomes a friend with a boy named Marco. He seems to be some kind of person in charge, but not everything is as it seems!

They have guards that keep things under control, not that they need them with the strings, but still. There is a real evil one named Mr. Davies. He hates Pia and her father, but why, what did they do to him?

Through out the book, Pia is slowly remembering things from her past until finally we get to the end game. We find out what is really going on, what really happened and let me tell you, it's a mind blowing moment! I was thinking there are some real freaks up in this place and you will too if you read the book! It's sad in a way though when you find out some of the reasons.

I liked going into this world of a Pinocchio retelling! It was bizarre and I like bizarre :-)
Profile Image for Jenny.
920 reviews181 followers
February 28, 2016
"Be brave, truthful, and unselfish, and always strive to make the right choices, for you and for your loved ones. That’s all it means to be real, child, no matter who you are or what situation you are in. Do those things, and you’ll be as real as anyone."

The same three ideals that resonated so much in the original Pinocchio, and the Disney version, continue here in this modern Sci-Fi retelling of a beloved classic.

After all the retellings I've read in the last few years and seen hit the market, to be honest, a Pinocchio retelling never occurred to me. I wasn't that familiar with the original story (and it had been years since I'd seen the Disney movie), so I did read the bare bones of the story before reading this one. Don't worry, though, this story is not hard to follow, even if you've never read or seen the original Pinocchio. But if you are familiar with the story, you'll get even more out of this book!

Pia is not your typical YA teenage girl. She lives in a strange facility (which she calls the Compound) with her father, Gio. She works as his apprentice as a nanotech designer for The Company, for which their entire lives revolve around. Oh, did I mention that they have strings? They do. Their strings are attached all over their bodies, and are controlled by management. Sound freaky yet?

The entire story is a bit strange, and really nails the Sci-Fi aspect of the story. There is so much going on beneath the surface here, so many things we learn as we go. The depth in this story is incredible, and my favorite thing about it.

Things I loved about Strings:

The Depth, the twists, and the basic plot. Like I said, there is so much going on, a fact that seems deceptive at first as there aren't a lot of characters and at the surface, this seems like a pretty simple story. Defiant teenage girl, trying to break free of the oppressive company that she and her dad work for. BUT THERE IS SO MUCH MORE!

Pia. Pia is a wonderful MC, and so easy to root for. She definitely has her flaws, but those just made her feel more real to me, even though most of the book she was questioning her own existence and if she was real or not.

"It doesn’t matter anyway, because I can’t change anything. This life is all I have, all I know. Sometimes I feel like it’s not real —like I’m not real." --Pia

Fig. Fig is our Jiminy Cricket. He's a little bot that helps Pia with her work and is her only friend in the world. I just loved Fig, he was HILARIOUSLY funny!

"The strength in the mama robin’s eyes comes out all wrong again and I rip the page from the pad with such force that I break the binding. I fling the pad across the room and press my face to the window. 'Whoa,' Fig says. 'Do you need a hug?' "

The characters. The rest of the cast, though small, are some of the best fleshed out characters I've read yet! From Gio, Pia's father, to Marco, a mysterious boy who seems to work for the company, to Sophia, a charmingly sweet girl, to Mr. Davis, the head of security who makes Pia's life miserable. All of them felt so real!

"He looks old, older than yesterday, like the typically imperceptive strokes of Time have decided to turn the full force of their weeks and months and years on him and him alone." --Pia's thoughts on Gio.

"Most of the time, Sofia is like a candle, warm and flickering with light. But every once in a while she flares up like an explosion." --Pia's thoughts on Sophia.

The Lyrical Writing. Some of the most beautiful writing I've read is in the book. The story almost reads like poetry!

"The strings are as black as polished ebony, twirling down from the viscous ceiling, which moves like dark waters lapping on a bleak and empty shore. "

"Roses, geraniums, daisies, and even towering sunflowers rise up through holes in a strange green artificial groundcover. There are stone walls covered in purple bougainvillea, and clear, fish-filled ponds with little white flowers floating on green pads. The melodious tinkling of running water surrounds everything, accompanied by bird sopranos and cricket violinists."

"Sorrow is a painted and decorated shoebox full of faded photographs."

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

Pinocchioisms. The term I use to compare things from the original story to this story. When I was able to pick them out, they actually made the read the most fun for me. And they were written into the story SO WELL, almost seamlessly! Like when Gio "wishes on a star."

"Beyond him the moon is a silver sickle hanging low in the night sky, harvesting a field of star flowers."

Or, this quote, which alludes to the fact that in the original story, Gepetto was a Clockmaker:

"Before he can respond, dozens of alarm clocks sound, with their bells and whistles and clinks and chimes, announcing it’s time for bed. "

And there are SO MANY others, and probably some I didn't even catch! The feeling of nostalgia you get when reading a retelling is, I think, what makes reading them so much fun!

A Killer Ending. And that can be taken literally. This is a very dark story, and THAT ENDING...it was totally thrilling!

Things I did not like about Strings:

Absolutely nothing. This read was perfect for me, and my favorite book I've read so far in 2016.

Strings is a complete standalone novel. I loved every minute of it, and am actually looking forward to reading it again to see what Pinocchioisms I missed! Anyone who is a Sci-Fi fan, loves retellings, or just lyrical writing will love this novel!

And a final favorite quote to leave you with:

"We are more than what the world sees us as. Maybe we realize the great choice we have in this life: to be bitter and angry, seeking to build ourselves up at the expense of others; or to cast our lots in friendship and love and all the things that are right.” – Marco

**I received a copy of this book in exchange for an HONEST review. **

Profile Image for Karen’s Library.
1,064 reviews163 followers
February 15, 2016
I am incredibly impressed with this completely unique and original sci-fi fairy tale retelling of Pinocchio! My mind was blown with Estes's take on this world of Strings and completely enthralled with Pia as a female "Pinnochio", her Papa, and Pia's "Jiminy Cricket", Fig!

Pia, who is attached to "strings" which control her movements whenever "they" want, seeks the truth of the strings and tries to gain her freedom from them. In the process, she has to protect her Papa at all costs and determine whether or not she's real.

I have no idea where Estes's ideas come from, but this concept is amazingly mind blowing. This fairy tale comes complete with a beautiful "moral of the story".

And I am planning to reread this as soon as I can on audio as the magnificent Kate Rudd performs the audiobook! I MUST experience this!!

Whatever Estes has up his sleeves next, count me in. I'm there!!

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jeann (Happy Indulgence) .
1,006 reviews3,628 followers
February 16, 2016
This review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!

Actual Rating: 3.5 stars

You know how fairy tales are usually magical, romantic and fluffy? Throw all that away when going into Strings, for it’s a surprisingly dark, edgy retelling loosely based on Pinocchio.

The premise is about Pia and her father, who are confined by thick, black mechanical strings which constrict their movement at times. Everyday, they work on manufacturing intricate technology for a nameless Company. It’s evident that Pia’s experiencing some post traumatic stress disorder, as she’s plagued by disturbing nightmares about her childhood. There’s an air of mystery surrounding Pia’s strings, why she has them and the small liberties that she’s allowed each day.

I liked Pia’s strength and personality, and how she would constantly battle against her oppressors and the strings. Given the circumstances, she never just sits down and obediently takes what she’s given, but instead, she constantly strives for a better life. With her brave and inquisitive nature, each day she questions her father’s devotion to the Company, her newly found friend Sophia, her strange dreams and the handsome and brooding Marco. This story is about how Pia puts two and two together, and discovers the truth behind the Company and her circumstances. And it’s one I would have never imagined, with heaps of unexpected twists and turns along the way.

Pia will form tentative friendships with Marco, the handsome disabled boy in a wheelchair who we know works for the Company. But you won’t really find out in what capacity, and why he seems to be good based on Pia’s reactions. She’ll also form a welcome female friendship with the friendly and eager Sophia, who quickly welcomes Pia into her beautiful garden. But even some of her behaviour is slightly off. Even Pia’s relationship with her father is tentative, even though you know everything he does is out of love, even he can be questioned for his secrets and lies. All of this causes for a pretty unsettling atmosphere, so I gladly welcomed Pia’s relationship with Fig, her helpful and loyal robot (who is Jiminy Cricket).

The atmosphere in the book is haunting and mysterious. You’re given small hints as to what’s happening, and only later in the book it’s revealed. As Pia would constantly ask questions, struggle against her strings and question everyone, I got a bit frustrated as became repetitive after a certain point. Things would constantly happen, and you wouldn’t really know the significance of them until the end of the story. The pacing felt a bit off, as there were times where I thought the story would have peaked, but realised it wasn’t anywhere near the end.

Although I know the world building was kept constricted to the Company for a reason, I wish we knew more about the world in which it operated. But without giving too much away, I found it to be too convenient, explaining away things with the use of advanced technology. The darker setting in Strings was also unsettling, with its themes of trauma, mental illness and childhood abuse. Strings is definitely not a happy book, and you have to be in a certain frame of mind to pick this one up.

I also found the ending of Strings to be unsatisfying, especially given all the build up towards the end of the book. As much as it was shocking and unsettling, I wanted more of a conclusion, especially given as this is a standalone story.

Strings is an experiential, haunting and dark retelling of a girl constricted by strings. It’s a disturbing, unsettling and unique and creative thriller with a great focus on family and individual strength. While the mystery shrouded around the plot frustrated with me at times, I admired the unique plot and big reveal of the secrets behind the company. Strings is for the patient reader, who can withstand these small frustrations and know that you’ll be rewarded for your patience in the end.

I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Donna Weiss.
930 reviews7 followers
July 12, 2016
“Maybe the most imperfect of us have a greater realization of the need for goodness and mercy in the world...We are more than what the world sees us as. Maybe we realize the great choice we have in this life: to be bitter and angry, seeking to build ourselves up at the expense of others; or to cast our lots in friendship and love and all the things that are right.”

I don't even know where to begin. I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK. SO. MUCH!!!
This has to be one of the best books I've read this year, and one of my all time favorites! The Sci-Fi, Fairytale retelling of Pinocchio was fabulous! From Pia, the female version of Pinocchio, to Fig, the sci-fi version of Jiminy Cricket, to her loving, kind, father and her Strings. Pia was such an amazing character and she grew and learned so much along the way. The message this story gave was sooo wonderful and spoke volumes!!! There's so much I want to say, but won't ruin this story for others. Read it for yourself, and I promise you won't regret it!!!

David Estes is a phenomenal writer. I am always so impressed by how much love he has for his characters, he must for them to come across on the page as well as they do. I loved Pia and I cried with her, laughed with her, felt angry with her, and felt her love for others. Only an author who truly feels for his characters can portray them in such a way as to touch us so strongly.

I bought the audible of Strings and look forward to listening to it as I've heard what a great job narrator Kate Rudd does.

I look forward to any future work that David has in store for us!!
Profile Image for Leigh.
263 reviews18 followers
June 6, 2016
Wow! What a brilliantly crafted story David Estes has created in Strings! Who doesn't like retellings of beloved childhood stories? This is a fascinating futuristic twist on the cherished story of Pinocchio.

Pia is sixteen and lives with her father, Gio, in a mysterious compound. Together they work on nanotech projects for the Company. This is not the normal life of a teenager, but Pia is not like any other teenager. She and her father are tethered by strings attached to the ceiling of the compound. Their lives and everything they do are controlled by the Company. Pia has very little memory of her childhood...life before the strings. She lives a very structured, meager life with only her father and Fig, her tiny robot, as her only companions until one day everything changes. Sofia and Marco are new additions to Pia's life. She is able to spend time with them along with her regular duties. This brings a little joy to her otherwise dull existence. Can Pia really trust them? Can Pia trust the Company who has kept her and her father slaves?

Pia is one headstrong young lady who has had a rough childhood. She is a loving daughter who wants a better life for her father and herself. Pia will do everything in her power to make that happen. Is it better to have no hope or to have hope snatched away? This is a well written, vividly descriptive, action-packed story that you will not want to put down.

Revised review for the audiobook. I received a copy of the audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

I thoroughly enjoying reading this book the first time around so I expected no less from listening to the audio version. I was not disappointed! The narrator brought the words to life. She did an excellent job with the voices of each character. Strings is a interesting, futuristic retelling of Pinocchio. It is guaranteed to capture your imagination and keep you guessing until the end. David Estes knows how to create a compelling story that you do not want to put down.
Profile Image for Kelly (Diva Booknerd).
1,106 reviews299 followers
February 16, 2016

4.5 Stars. Engaging, enthralling and utterly enchanting. Love, love, love, love luuuuurved it.

Pia lives and extraordinary life, restricted by tethers within her concrete fortress. Along with her father, they live a life of solitude and slavery, little more than puppets on a string connected to a series of anchors where each of their bodies are controlled. Working as her father's apprentice, Pia spends her days in the workshop, tinkering and completing mechanical devices that command precision and perfection. Each night while she retires to the small imprisoned room she shares with her father, Pia stares out at a world she longs to join while at night, she dreams of a life before the wires, while her late mother was still alive.

When the founder dies and new management is overseeing production, Pia suddenly finds herself with more freedom she's ever known, deadline extensions, the freedom to walk among the flowers and a new friend in Sofia, the young and demure girl as trapped within the walls as Pia is. But for all her freedom, Pia will never feel the wind on her face or living without being controlled by her strings. Something Marco knows all too well.

Marco may not be tethered, but wheelchair bound and understands more than Pia realises. But Marco isn't defenseless, he commands respect while even armed guards part in his wake. Why does the boy with the easy smile wield so much power? Armed with her only true companion in Fig, a mechanical and wisecracking gadget, Pia sets out to find out who Sofia truly is, why her strings sustain her life and why she seems to be falling for a boy she barely knows.

In Pia's world, hope is just as dangerous as wanting freedom, but she's determined to have both or risk losing it all.

Strings is without a doubt, David Estes best release to date. Phenomenal, it's a stunning mix of a science fiction twist to a classic fairy tale. Engaging, enthralling and utterly enchanting. Pia is an incredible young woman, strong, determined and refuses to be a mere puppet to be controlled. She's tethered through a series of strings, snake like coils that can not only hinder her movements but allow her to be physically controlled and trapped within the concrete fortress. It's where dreams no longer exist and hope is a dangerous complication, something her father installs in his young apprentice. Their relationship was beautiful. Although they often disagreed, Pia cared little for her own safety but only that of her father. Since losing her late mother, the father and daughter are all one another has.

Even beyond the Strings that bind her, Pia's life has never been her own. When she steps out of line, it's her father who is punished which is enough to keep her compliant. Until new management takes over. Suddenly Pia is allowed a friend, to explore what has been her prison as far as she can remember and then there's Marco. Marco seems to have power within the organisation, using it to keep her safe. I must admit, I was highly suspicious of Marco, not knowing whether he was being used as bait in order to lure the young woman into a false sense of security. As the storyline progresses, Mia is left not knowing who to trust and it's those variables that kept me turning digital pages long into the night.

I loved it. Pia's character was lovely. Her intellect and quiet determination not to be owned by the often cruel management had shown that strength doesn't always need to be shown with force, as most young adult protagonists fall victim to. Her sidekick Fig was so incredibly charming, the small nanobot was more than just a vice for Pia to complete her work, but a companion that is as lifelike as he is sassy. My only complaint is that I would have loved to have seen Strings as a new David Estes series. His world building is incredible and that's the only aspect I found lacking within the standalone which was still incredible by anyone's standards. But that's nothing a novella wouldn't fix. David, I'm looking at you David.
Profile Image for David Estes.
Author 85 books2,392 followers
February 15, 2016
"Strings is a wonderful retelling of the Pinocchio story and a heartfelt coming-of-age tale. I was pulled in by young Pia's determination to free herself and her father, and I simply couldn't put this book down." –Rysa Walker, bestselling author of TIMEBOUND

After over a year without publishing a book, I'm so pleased to release STRINGS, my new dark YA SciFi Pinocchio retelling! I was exceptionally honored and fortunate to have the amazing bestseller, Rysa Walker, read and blurb STRINGS; and she loved it so much that she decided to partner with me and our incredible narrator, Kate Rudd, to produce the audiobook.

Thank you all so much for your support and kindness, you've literally changed my family's life for the better! Links to buy:

Ebook- http://www.amazon.com/Strings-David-E...
Paperback- http://www.amazon.com/Strings-David-E...
Audiobook- http://www.amazon.com/Strings/dp/B01B...
Profile Image for Lauren Stoolfire.
3,573 reviews260 followers
February 14, 2016
I received a free eARC of Strings by David Estes in exchange for an honest review.

Pia lives in a facility where mechanical wires, her strings, control her life. She is apprenticed to her father, Gio - who is also controlled by strings - and they design cutting edge nanotech devices for the Company. She quickly realizes that diabolical human forces control their strings - control them. The memories of her past has always eluded her, but she begins to take comfort in two new "friends" that have suddenly been introduced into her life, Sofia and Marco. The more time she spends with them, the more her memories begin to come back to her. Pia knows she needs to escape both her strings and the Company in order to reach freedom, but first she'll have to deal with her "friends" and Mr. Davis, the unstable head of security to uncover the identity of her puppeteer.

Strings by David Estes is a futuristic retelling of the classic Pinocchio fairy tale. Before this I can't say I've ever read a retelling of that particular tale, so I didn't quite know what to expect when I began. I always enjoy a good fairy tale retelling, and this is no exception. I loved getting to know Pia and familiarize myself with her world at the Company's facility. Estes does a fantastic job of integrating classic elements of Pinocchio into his sci-fi reworking. For example, I really liked Fig - the answer to Jiminy Cricket - and the hives - instead of the growing nose. I only wish we could have learned a bit more about Mr. Davis and his background, as well as the outside world.

There is so much to like about this story from great character development, plenty of twists and turns, and excellent pacing. If you enjoy YA fairy tale retellings with a hearty dash of sci-fi, you will love Strings by David Estes. I am looking forward to this author's future projects!
Profile Image for Karen’s Library.
1,064 reviews163 followers
February 28, 2016
Sigh... I just finished the audio of Strings performed by Kate Rudd and wow, absolutely incredible!! This was a reread for me and listening to the book was a completely different experience and I loved every minute! That ending!! I highly recommend the audio of Strings!!

Original review:
I'm incredibly impressed with this completely unique and original sci-fi fairy tale retelling of Pinocchio! My mind was blown with Estes's take on this world of Strings and completely enthralled with Pia as a female "Pinocchio", her Papa, and Pia's "Jiminy Cricket", Fig!

Pia, who is attached to "strings" which control her movements whenever "they" want, seeks the truth of the strings and tries to gain her freedom from them. In the process, she has to protect her Papa at all costs and determine whether or not she's real.

I have no idea where Estes's ideas come from, but this concept is amazingly mind blowing. This fairy tale comes complete with a beautiful "moral of the story".

Whatever Estes has up his sleeves next, count me in. I'm there!!
Profile Image for Casey.
391 reviews97 followers
October 19, 2016
Ah it was amazing :D I mean its a Gender swapped Pinocchio retelling?A tiny robot full of smartassary?A MC that I instantly like?YES YES YES

All Pia can remember since she was little is that she's lived in the compound with her father, building complicated robotics and projects. Oh and her life has been controlled by the strings attached to her body.

Pia has 15 strings attached to her, from her feet to her head they can control her movementst. Restricting or encouraging, playful or full of punishments. The strings can be kind helping her stand after a long day or cruel, dragging her back when she wants to walk forward, making her ruin every drawing she ever does, controlling her hands and making her inflict pain on the people she loves.

Pia is nearly 16 when the compound comes under new management. The people that have controlled their lives for so long are finally allowing her to have a girl friend, meet a boy, have extended deadlines on projects, give her father some much needed rest. But the strings are getting more unpredictable everyday and Pia wants out. She wants control over her life, a say in what she does and to make her father smile once again.

Along with her nano robot Fig she has to work out who to trust and as she gains her memories back figure out what really happened to her mum and why her and Pa have these strings in the first place.

Strings is a Pinocchio retelling, it's set in the future where technology is more advanced and Pia's father is one of the best engineers in the world teaching Pia everything she needs to know. The whole book is set inside the compound so there isn't much outside world building but the descriptions of the compound are beautiful and really this is a book about Pia and her growth and strength.

"Victory can be a single moment of brilliance, even if what comes after feels like defeat. Today I was victorious, if only for one brilliant moment"

Pia's character is strong, smart, kind, caring, frustrated, and kickass. She wasn't cockie or unbelieveable, she was earnest with her actions and showed us exactly what type of person she was: An average girl that wants to take charge and save the people she loves.

This re telling is done SO well, it is pretty close to Pinocchio but also its entirely its own, the little throw backs to Pinocchio original story added a little extra and I loved it, when I heard them say the wish upon a star poem I squealed XD

There is a loved interest in this but it's not prominent and doesn't take away from the story, there are also some really harrowing scenes that had my heart aching but they were mixed in so well with things that made me laugh I was reasonably ok.

Now who we really need to talk about is Fig! Fig plays the part of Jimmity Cricket and he's a tiny little nano robot who can speak to pia through a mic in her ear. He's sassy, hilarious, and down right sappy. He is the best little side kick I've read in a while and I want one sooo much.

I really think I have a thing for robots, I mean every book I've read that has had a robot or AI I've absolutely loved.

I highly enjoy it and recommend it to anyone that's looking for a well done re-telling :D
Profile Image for Lauren.
198 reviews31 followers
January 23, 2016
So this took me a lot longer to read than planned but it had nothing to do with the story. I am having the worst reading slump and it is taking me ages to read anything, my fellow readers you will know all about this. Anyway back to the novel, Strings is a modern retelling of Pinnochio and I must say this has to be my favourite retelling that I have read and it certainly surprised me. I dont know how David Estes came up with this retelling but it is complete genius. I have fallen in love with this story and I'm desperate to read more. I was wondering all through the story what was going to happen next, there was a few twist and turns through out the book. I loved the main character Pia who is the modern day female version of Pinnochio and I loved her development. I really enjoyed reading her story and finding out not only about her past but also about her present story connected with other characters. Another character I loved was Marco, he was sweet and sensitive but also had a troubled background which you learn about in the story. I'm trying to write this without giving you any spoilers because I don't want to ruin the magic of the story. I have always thought that a story that is able to pull you in and make you think you are walking next to them and feeling how they feel, it is a great story. I must say that this story was exceptional and did exactly that, I was pulled in to walk beside Pia and feel all the emotion she felt. I found David's writing style amazing and the way he can develop characters and the world they live in is top class. I can't give enough praise for this book and I hope by reading this, it will encourage you to go out and read this story and get lost in the magic of Pia's world just like I did.

Disclaimer - I recieved a free Earc from David Estes in exchange for an honest review.

You can find this review at my blog http://literarywisdom.wordpress.com
Author 1 book59 followers
February 23, 2016
I'm not a big fan of Pinocchio. The easiest way to get me to shudder is to mention the Disney movie. Creeps. Me. Out. So when I saw David Estes promoting the release of Strings, I passed right by. And then some of my friends on goodreads started posting glowing reviews. So I looked closer.

The Good:
A Dystopian-esque setting hooked me from the get go. If you know me, my fave books or my writing, you know I'm a sucker for a good dystopian story. The main character is a girl, so that was an interesting change to the story. I loved this book. As the chapters pass, there is a mystery that unfolds, and I couldn't stop reading until it had been solved.
Another huge plus in my book: the main character has a healthy relationship with her father. They have issues (who doesn't?) but it wasn't your typical teenage-angsty "I hate my dad solely cuz he's my dad" kindof book. I respect that.

The Bad:
In true Estes form, he sent a few twists and turns my way....the difference with him, is that he throws them near the very end of the book, so it's not that it comes out of left field, it's just that my brain has to catch up to it all when I've been programmed that we are in the "downtime" of the book. Sometimes my brain kindof feels befuddled. Is it a problem? No. Do I find it interesting? Yes.

The Puppetry:
The title is Strings, and it fits well.

I haven't read many Estes's books....just the Slip trilogy (which I really liked), but it was neat to see the growth that he's had since then.....the plot was tight, the dialogue was fantastic. Definitely a great read!
Profile Image for Kirstie Ellen.
761 reviews100 followers
November 17, 2016
4.5/5 stars

Initial Thoughts Upon Finishing
I really did not know what to expect of a Pinocchio retelling by oh my god this was amazing. I was so impressed with all the parallels drawn but also with how different the story is from the original. This is an absolutely page-turner of a novel that I highly recommend to sci-fi/dystopian lovers (and come on, a Pinocchio retelling? How can you resist that). Loved this so much and I really want to check out some of Estes other books now!

I have to say, I was completely blown away with this story. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a Pinocchio retelling, but this was amazing. If you’re looking for a really unique fairytale retelling then look no further.
"Sometimes, my dear girl, life is easier if you slice it up into smaller pieces, like bite-size bread crumbs. Think about a single year or a single month or a single week. Get through that first, then think about the future. Or if even that is too much, focus on just one day. Survive for tomorrow. Fight for a better day. Hope for a better life. And then go get it."

Strings follows the story of Pia, a young girl who is in a compound of sorts where everyday she helps make nanotechnology. Her dad is a genius and so is she. But they both have “strings” connected to them. They’re like tubes that come down from a specially made ceiling and they are controlled by the company.

This means that they are under constant supervision (including when they shower and all that fun jazz) and the strings can be manipulated. So if they so much as breathe out of turn then YOINK. Somebody pulls their strings. In the most literal sense.

They don’t know why they’re being forced to make what they are, and Pia doesn’t know anything of the outside world. As the story progresses we reveal more and more secrets and we can’t work who to trust and who is being manipulative. There is a wide cast of characters and it really is impossible to tell what their motives are.

Pinocchio Retelling
I thoroughly enjoyed this as a Pinocchio retelling and I cannot express how surprised I was with how well the retelling was pulled off. The idea of having strings and desiring freedom was particularly well articulated. The fact that the plot centres around people who are exploiting this and using it for their benefit also rings true with the original tale.
"As humans we want things to be easy but we make them as hard as possible. Sometimes it's because subconsciously we want the challenge, the thrill of fighting, of conquering, of winning against all odds. And other times, it's because we have no other choice."

The adventurous and daring side of Pinocchio is also transferred across into Pia’s character but BEST of all is that Jiminy Cricket’s characters also appears in the form of Fig. Fig is a little robot that can fly who helps Pia out. He was created by Pia’s father and is the sassiest character ever whom I utterly love. He has to be one of my favourite sidekicks of all time.

So yes, overall this is an amazing retelling of Pinocchio, a fairytale that I would have said is one that is impossible to recreated in a unique way. Well, Estes has just proved me wrong.

The thing that really drove the this story home for me, however, was the characters. I really liked Pia. I felt that I could empathise with her character and there were many aspects of her character, also, which resonated with me. I loved how passionate she was, I loved how caring she was, and I love how determined she was.

Pia constantly surprised me throughout the story in making honourable decisions and I was really pleased with her character growth. She was a strong character in conjunction with her father, too.
Marco was another favourite of mine within the story. I won’t talk too much about him and his role but I loved that he repped a bit of diversity by being a character in a wheelchair. I think that overall the disability theme throughout was really strong as there were so many character restricted by mental or physical obstacles that overcame them in surprising ways. Thumbs up to that.
"I do not fear death," I say. "I fear not living."
~ Pia

I highly recommend this book. It’s something unique on the fairytale retelling market that I think a lot, a lot of people would enjoy. The characters are rich and strong and the story is wholly entertaining. It will certainly keep you guessing as to what’s going on the whole way through and it completely addictive to read. Enjoy the plot twists and terribly brain-washed characters.

Happy reading!
Profile Image for Think.
242 reviews115 followers
February 18, 2016
Yet another book by David Estes that I couldn't put down. This whole concept of his take on Pinocchio was so awesome to read! I just get more addicted to David Estes with every book of his I read. So, if you haven't figured out yet, I highly recommend this book as well as ALL OTHER David Estes books!

*UPDATE 2.18.16: I actually posted on my blog for the first time in over a year!!! And all for David and this awesome book! Below is the review I posted as well as link to my blog.


Well hello people! I have come out of hiding finally! And it definitely has a ton to do with this new book by David Estes (one of my fave authors/people ever!) Every time this man writes a new novel, my excitement for reading is reignited and that makes me so grateful to him! This new novel, Strings, is as amazing, if not more, than anything he has written before. He exhibits his brilliant imagination yet again in this emotional retelling of Pinocchio.
The main character (and re-imagining of Pinocchio) is Pia. She has only known a life with her strings controlling her every move. They lead her from her room that she shares with her father, to their workroom and back. Any deviation from what the strings have planned for Pia end with Pia usually in pain, or worse, her father is punished for her disobedience to her strings. The big question is, who controls the strings? And why are they keeping Pia and her father captive?
Strings is a fast paced novel with characters that I immediately empathized with and kept me super curious to see what would happen next. One of my favorite characters was little Fig, Pia's tiny insect-like mechanical friend that her father built her. I LOVE Fig! David has a knack for creating these almost side-kick characters that are always a perfect fit to the main character. Just like Hex, the kick-ass magical dog in his Salem's Revenge series. To me, these "side-kick" characters add a special layer to the plot by always having the main character's back and helping them to not feel alone in whatever they are facing.
Final judgement is that I highly recommend Strings! It was a really fun read that I enjoyed greatly
962 reviews
August 22, 2016
This is my favorite David Estes book yet. I really appreciated that it was a stand alone book because in the world of YA books that it becoming few and far between. Sometimes I find it more difficult to start new series books because I know I will have to commit to the entire series so standalone books are really refreshing sometimes.

I am a huge fan of strong female lead characters and Pia fit that bill well here. She was a wonderfully drawn out 3-dimentional character who I could sympathize with fairly quickly. As a lover of mystery books I really appreciated the element of surprise about who was who and what was what in this interesting fantasy world Mr. Estes created. I really liked the relationship between Pia and her father. I always appreciate when parents play more than a bit role in YA books like Pia's father did here. All in all this was a very interesting and engaging read and I highly recommend it.

p.s. I listened to this one on audiobook and the narration was also really well done.
Author 13 books52 followers
January 30, 2016
Let me first say that David Estes is probably my favorite YA author, and one of my favorite dystopian authors. So when he offered me a chance to read his latest book for free, I of coarse jumped on the band wagon. "String" isn't like his other books, not dystopian, or paranormal, but WOW! It is probably my favorite of his so far and I have read them all but one series. Mr. Estes has a way with writing his characters that makes you feel like you have always known them. They are flawed, loveable, or hate-able, they are complex and diverse. He also has an insight into the mind of teenagers. I give it five stars. No swearing or sexual content, there is violence, though not graphic. YA lovers and fantasy readers will enjoy it. "A retelling of Pinocchio" in a way that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I literal read it straight through.
(I was given a copy of "Strings" by the author, in exchange for an honest review)
Profile Image for Sheree Bonita.
210 reviews22 followers
November 24, 2015
I beta read this book and it was fabulous. Extremely clean, clear and very good writing. This book provides many moments of learning about human nature, which I truly appreciate. I will review more once I read the finalized version.
Profile Image for Janie.
1,026 reviews117 followers
May 24, 2016
I have all of David's books on my TBR and *ducks in hiding* hadn't read one of them yet until the opportunity to read Strings came along. I have so many books on my to-be read list and I'm struggling to read much of anything lately. But I really wanted to show my support for David and signed up to read Strings before its release date.

The very first thing that intrigued me about Strings was that it's a gender-bent retelling of the Pinocchio story. Pinocchio was never really high on my list of favorite stories. I can remember dreading watching the Disney movie at daycare when I was in elementary school - it seemed like we watched it allllll the time. However, I could not see how a retelling would be bad for Pinocchio. There are so many elements to be twisted and I knew that it was going to be good. I was absolutely right. From the get-go, Strings is dark and sinister. Pia and her father, Gio, are imprisoned by the Company and forced to work on nanotech on an extreme and tight schedule. They are constrained by mysterious black strings that are controlled by someone watching their every move. If Pia gets out of line, her strings become red and violent - and if they don't violently correct her, the powers that be take their anger out on her father.

The Company has tampered with Pia's memory and she begins to recall bits and pieces of things slowly but surely through the story. Amnesia is another favorite element of mine and I love how things unravel as characters remember things that others do not want them to remember. Pia is a very strong-willed female lead. She cares deeply for her father and her best friend, who is a little nanotech creature her father created called Fig. He's mouthy, but cute - and is 100% devoted to Pia. Fig was my favorite character, I think.

From the very beginning of the story, I was hooked. David's execution of this retelling was flawless. The characters were rich and, especially with Pia, there was a lot of character growth from beginning to end. I very rarely highlight anything while I read on my Kindle, but there were many beautiful passages and I just had to share some of them:

"I'm a marionette maneuvered by a skillful and indifferent puppeteer, jerking me around without regard for the pain it causes."

"The harshest lies are the ones we tell ourselves.

The truth is, I am a doll. When I'm not being used they stick me on a shelf to gather dust. They take me down to play with me, pulling my arms and legs in ways they're not meant to go. Ways I don't want them go. My actions are not my own. My life belongs to those who control my strings. I am a doll with a stitched mouth, melancholy but exhausted beyond true sadness. Sometimes I feel like even less; like I'm not a real girl. Like I'm more like Fig than I thought, someone's creation. Used, tired of, and eventually thrown out. What is real? Am I real if my body is not my own? Am I real if I have no right to choose my own destiny?

The answer is no."

I have a few more that I saved, but they are spoilers, so unfortunately, you'll just have to read the book yourself to catch more of David's beautiful writing. ;) Even though this is a retelling of Pinocchio, it was different. There were twists and turns I didn't see coming and characters who I didn't know if I should trust or not. It was not a predictable story and I enjoyed that very much. Thank you to David for allowing me to join in on the blog tour fun and for providing an eARC for me to review!!
Profile Image for ᒪᗴᗩᕼ .
1,496 reviews147 followers
June 24, 2016
Book Title: Strings
Author: David Estes
Narration: Kate Rudd
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Fantasy, Fairytale Retelling, YA
Source: **I Received an audible version in exchange for an honest review*

“Our strings tie us down, restrict us, force us to live a life we never wanted, a life we think we have to live, one we never chose for ourselves. But all strings, whether invisible or as clear as the tumbling spill of a waterfall, can be cut.”

Ratings Breakdown

Plot: 3/5
Characters: 2/5
The Feels: 3/5
Theme: 3/5
Flow: 3/5
Backdrop (World Building): 3/5
Originality: 5/5
Book Cover: 5/5
Narration: 3/5
Ending: 3/5 Cliffhanger: No

Will I read more from this Author? Despite not really liking this, I will read more by him, because all the other books that I've read by him; I have liked. (It's entirely possible my rating of a 3 is because of this, otherwise it would be more like a 2.5).


My Thoughts

Loosely based on Pinocchio, this is a dark, futuristic (I think, actually it's hard to pinpoint) take on the classic tale. My last fairytale retelling was a hit and so I really thought I would like this but it really fell flat for me.

While, ultimately, it has a profound message to impart, I was unable to connect with the characters and their darkly told and sad story. I'm not sure if it was the narration, but I believe it's at least partially to blame. I've loved some of David Estes' other works, namely the Dwellers and Country Saga's. Maybe…it's the humor that is so prevalant in them, and is decidedly missing from Strings that has made it so I couldn’t really connect with this story.

Sex Factor: None, very clean actually.

Profile Image for Melissa (thereaderandthechef).
532 reviews168 followers
February 18, 2016
This is not the first time that I wish to get inside David Estes’ mind and explore all his crazy and absolutely awesome ideas for storytelling. I know there are MANY fairytale retellings out there, from Beauty and the Beast to Cinderella, and though there is no doubt each one is fantastic (at least the ones I’ve read), I have to say this retelling of PINOCCHIO (I know!!!) is one of the most imaginative retellings I’ve had the pleasure of reading.

First of all, the STRINGS. The idea of strings controlling the main character, Pia, is absolutely terrifying and later on, genius. How they make her do things unwillingly, how they are attached to 15 places in her body making her the human Pinocchio. She can move around thanks to the special ceiling made from a substance that allows the strings to pass freely, but one wrong step and the strings can turn deadly. But Pia is not the only one controlled by these strings, her father is also kept prisoner in the compound that forces them to work endlessly on technology never getting a day off in their lives, until the Company gets new management. THEN SO MANY THINGS HAPPEN.

I deeply enjoyed reading Strings and although it has very few characters, all of them were so darn interesting, starting with tiny Fig (who is Pinocchio’s cricket but as a nanobot!). Seriously, David Estes KNOWS how to make the best awesome friends. I loved Fig like no other character in this story because he was funny, sarcastic and loyal to Pia. Team Fig all the way!

And Marcos? He made me swoon hard. He’s not your usual male character and that’s why I loved him all the more. YAY for diversity! That’s all I can say about him for now. But you SHOULD meet him soon.

All in all, Strings turned out to be a wonderful read and strengthened my resolve to read the rest of David Estes’ books. Strings is actually a standalone (I think) so if you want to start reading books by this author, then I definitely recommend to start with this one.

*Thanks to the author for the review copy in exchange of my honest opinion. This review can also be found at The Reader and the Chef.*
Profile Image for Alyson Stone.
Author 4 books60 followers
February 1, 2016
Book: Strings
Author: David Estes
Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

I would like to thank David Estes for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

I will admit that I did not realize that this was a retelling of Pinocchio until I read the summary, which was when I was about halfway through the book. I have never read a retelling of Pinocchio and I must say that I was very pleased. David did an amazing job with mixing the original tale in with the science fiction elements. This mixture made for an amazing story. I just don't know how in the world he came up with this world. It's so original and fun! I will probably have to call this my favourite David Estes book!

The characters were all so well done. Pia was a great female lead and was a very believable character. She has spent much of her life living in isolation and has never really known anyone outside of Fig and Papa. Whenever she meets someone her own age, she quickly befriends the person. This trusting nature may be a turn off to some people, but I just found it to be very fitting to Pia's character. Now, Fig was great. I must say that I got a bunch of laughs out of him. Marco, the love interest, was also very likable. I did like how David drug his character out in order to add to the plot. The villains were also well done.

The writing was just simply beautiful. The words just seemed to come together. To me, the writing was a lot smoother and better than Slip and Brew-which were not bad read, by the way. I do like how David seems to grow with each book that he writes. There were several times that I thought I was reading more of a movie than a book.

The pacing is well done. I found myself in front of my computer completely engaged in this and wishing that I could take my computer to work. There was just something about the speed of the book that made me want to come back for more and more. I still want more and am hoping for a book two.

This book is a must read for science fiction and retelling fans! It is original and fun! We this comes out, you should got get your copy. It is worth it.
255 reviews27 followers
November 20, 2015
A fresh, modern take on Pinocchio, this story follows Pia as she must complete work for an unseen employer while being imprisoned and manipulated by wires attached to her body.

I didn't read the synopsis before starting this book so I had no idea what it was to be about. At first I found the premise to be a little hokey but the story pulled me in and I was intrigued to find out more about the mystery of Pia's predicament. Her character was very intriguing and strong, and really pushed the story forward. I always wanted to know what she was going to do next and how she was going to turn the tables on her puppet masters. This book just flows well and I found myself finishing it in just a day.

There were some parts I wished had a bit more exploration as they had so much potential... the character arc of the main villian as well as her security chief, the fledging romance Kia finds herself a part of, the relationship between Kia and her father, as well as the flash backs of Kia's mother.

But overall this was a very fun read and a nice little story about a girl overcoming her lot in life and meeting her potential.

NOTE: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Victoria Zigler.
Author 62 books214 followers
February 2, 2016
Once again, David Estes has managed to spin a tale that will grab your attention from page one, and hold it until the very end, so that putting this book down before I was done felt like torture, and I couldn't stop thinking about it between reading sessions.

All of the characters are believable, the main character is easy to relate to, and the plot moves at just the right pace. On top of that, the story has a wonderful moral to it.

Five stars just don't seem enough to say how fantastic this book is; I swear I'd give it more if I could!

***Note: I was given a free advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This fact has in no way influenced my opinion of the book, nor the contents of this review.
Profile Image for Jan farnworth.
1,313 reviews83 followers
February 9, 2016
This is my first David Estes book and i really enjoyed his take on the retelling of Pinocchio. The whole concept of strings being a way to save someone and that the characters of this famous story are really part of this whole company and are being controlled by 3 owners and how each of the different characters worked together to create this elaborate story that your just drawn in to and are lost in for a few hours. The author really knows how to draw you in and see things from a different angle then you always known. Very well done.
Profile Image for Sigourney.
356 reviews64 followers
February 17, 2016
A copy of Strings was kindly sent to me by David Estes in exchange for an honest review.

Sometimes the strings that tie us down are the same strings that set us free. Sixteen year old Pia has always lived in a mysterious facility where mechanical strings control her existence. She plays apprentice to her father, Gio, in performing nanotech designs for the Company, and she soon suspects there are diabolical human forces behind the manufactured reality of her world.

Though her childhood memories and the origins of the strings remain strangely elusive, she begins to find solace with the introduction of two unlikely friends: daring, irrational Sofia, and calm, tender Marco. As the truths of the past and present unravel together, Pia must find a way to free herself from her strings and escape the facility before facing the wrath of the unstable head of security, Mr. Davis. But to gain her freedom, she must navigate the dangers posed by Davis and by her suspicious new friends to find the real identity of the puppeteer.

If Pia can succeed in revealing the secrets of the Company, she may very well find the independence she so desperately seeks. But in her controlled world nothing is as it seems, and the closer she gets to the truth, the graver the consequences.

‘I’m a marionette maneuvered by a skilful and indifferent puppeteer, jerking me around without regard for the pain it causes.’

As the blurb above says, Strings is a sci-fi reimagining of Pinocchio, where instead of wooden puppet in a small village we have Pia, attached to mechanical strings that seem to have a life of their own, in a strange facility called The Compound. It’s established early on that not all is as it seems and that Pia’s world will be changing from the routine she knows and accepts.

It’s always interesting to read a reimagining and see what the author does with the original story and I really liked the way Estes used the story of Pinocchio, especially the more subtle references (I’m not sure if there is a cat called Figaro in the book, as there is in the film, but I loved that Pia’s bot is essentially that character). Small shout out to Fig, hands down the best character in the book, and maybe my favourite Estes character ever.

The characters are fantastic and you really get a feel of them as there are only a few main characters. Pia was a brilliant protagonist and it was fascinating gradually learning about her life in The Compound and her strings. Her bot, and best friend, Fig was definitely my favourite character – he’s just so adorable! I don’t know how Estes manged to put so much personality into a tiny nanobot but I love it. Marco and Sofia add to the mystery of the story as you can never be sure exactly who they are and where their allegiances lie – are they who they say they are, or pawns for The Compound?

Although Strings is predominantly a sci-fi story I really enjoyed the level of mystery within it – there are mysteries upon mysteries throughout that are slowly revealed, and I loved how Estes created such a sense of mystery surrounding The Compound and the nature of Pia’s strings, which seem wild and unpredictable at the best of times. You only know as much as Pia, which was delightfully frustrating, especially as you just know people are keeping secrets.

Strings is an excellent mix of sci-fi and mystery, and once again David Estes has created a really interesting and believable dystopian world, with characters you genuinely love and care for. Another fantastic offering from a lovely man, highly recommended for fans of dystopia.

“A wonderful retelling of the Pinocchio story...I simply couldn’t put this book down.”
- Rysa Walker, bestselling author of TIMEBOUND

Look below for extra information, including a bit about the lovely David Estes, and where you can purchase the book:

David Estes is the author of more than 20 science fiction and fantasy novels that have received hundreds of thousands of downloads worldwide, including The Moon Dwellers, Fire Country, Slip, Brew, and his new SciFi Pinocchio retelling, Strings. He lives in Hawaii with his inspiring Aussie wife, Adele, rambunctious son, Beau, and naughty cat, Bailey. When he's not writing, you'll likely find him at the beach swimming, snorkeling, or reading under an umbrella.


Purchase links:
eBook: http://www.amazon.com/Strings¬David¬E...
Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Strings¬David-E...
Audiobook: http://www.amazon.com/Strings/dp/B01B...
Profile Image for Holly Bryan.
597 reviews137 followers
February 17, 2016
Okay, confession time! I’m not sure even David knows this, but....despite being in the Goodreads fan group for over a year, at least; despite pimping out David’s books at any and every opportunity; despite owning in print or ebook every single book he’s written; despite generally being a huge fan and advocate of David’s for several years now, I must confess: STRINGS IS THE FIRST BOOK OF DAVID’S THAT I’VE ACTUALLY READ. Gasp! I know, I know!! It’s embarrassing! I’m not embarrassed that I support him without actually having read his books, but rather I’m embarrassed that it’s taken me SO LONG to do so! Why, oh why have I waited?? Well, now that I’ve read Strings and have had a taste of David’s brilliance, I will be rectifying this neglect ASAP, believe me!

I was really happy when I saw that not only did David have a new book out, there was going to be a blog tour for those who’d like to participate and review the book. I jumped at the chance, because sometimes being on a tour is the only way I “find” the time to review a book, and I knew I wanted to finally read and review one of David’s. I am so very glad I decided to participate and that David allowed me to do so! I absolutely, positively loved Strings and give it 5 stars with no hesitation. It is unlike anything I’ve ever read - so inventive and creative. I have never read a re-telling of Pinocchio, but if there are others that are this amazing, I’d love to read more!

I think perhaps the greatest strength of this book was the characterization, which is truly key in this book because the world is necessarily so limited. Although it was awesome to learn about the Compound, the workroom, and the strings themselves, the real star of the story is its characters. Luckily, David is masterful in his characterization, because I can definitely imagine a book with such a limited physical scope could be anywhere from meh to terrible if the characters aren’t able to carry the story. Happily, that is not the case here! I absolutely adored Pia, even when she was making rash, unwise decisions with the potential to bring about some truly nasty consequences. Sure, we’ve all read about heroes or heroines who make dumb decisions and we’ve screamed at them and written in our reviews that we hated them because they made such dumb decisions. But here, I defy anyone to hate Pia for any decision she makes! Of course she is going to do anything she can think of to get answers to why in God’s name she’s hooked up to some crazy strings in the ceiling - especially when she starts remembering snippets of her early life with her mom and dad, a life where the strings didn’t exist, if she’s remembering right. Of course she’s going to wonder who is telling the truth and who isn’t, especially when she “randomly” and all of a sudden has two new “friends” in Sofia and Marco. I think she behaved exactly as a young teenager would, particularly one who’s living in such crazy circumstances. And I just adored her. My heart hurt and broke for her, and I wanted so much for her to be free. It kills me just thinking back on it!

The secondary characters were no less vibrant and capable of pulling at the reader’s emotions. I loved Pia’s dad and I felt so badly for him having to raise Pia without his wife, not being able to really tell her the whole truth, working from dawn to dusk and even through the night sometimes, desperately trying to keep the Company happy and yet also trying to help Pia be free. Marco and Sofia, what can I say, they held their cards close and it was hard to know who to trust and who not. Who actually wants to help Pia, and who is working against her? I will say I had it right, but I wasn’t confident of my rightness until the truth was revealed! Mr. Davis, the evil head of security, was definitely unlikable, but David didn’t take the easy route and make him just a black-or-white, pure-evil-or-angel character. He had depth and dimension and you almost, almost, could feel sorry for him and understand how he became the person he is to Pia. And Fig, oh, what can I say? The only thing I can say is, THANKS, DAVID, because now I desperately want a tiny, flying robot who loves me without reservation despite being a machine but I know I can’t have one!! So, yeah, thanks for that ;-)

All in all, if you enjoy re-tellings of any kind, dystopians, and uniquely inventive worlds, you will love Strings by David Estes. I strongly encourage you to give this one a read and I firmly believe you’ll love it! This is an absolute 5-star read for me! I was captivated from the first page, and I know you will be too. Thank you so much to David and the tour organizers for allowing me to be part of this release-week blog tour for Strings! Happy reading!
Profile Image for Jenia.
Author 2 books25 followers
February 17, 2016
Sometimes the strings that tie us down are the same strings that set us free.

Sixteen-year-old Pia has always lived in a mysterious facility where mechanical strings control her existence. She plays apprentice to her father, Gio, in performing nanotech designs for the Company, and she soon suspects there are diabolical human forces behind the manufactured reality of her world.

Though her childhood memories and the origins of the strings remain strangely elusive, she begins to find solace with the introduction of two unlikely friends: daring, irrational Sofia, and calm, tender Marco.

As the truths of the past and present unravel together, Pia must find a way to free herself from her strings and escape the facility before facing the wrath of the unstable head of security, Mr. Davis. But to gain her freedom, she must navigate the dangers posed by Davis and by her suspicious new friends to find the real identity of the puppeteer.

If Pia can succeed in revealing the secrets of the Company, she may very well find the independence she so desperately seeks. But in her controlled world nothing is as it seems, and the closer she gets to the truth, the graver the consequences.

Have you ever come across an author whose books you couldn’t get enough of? Where every book that you read blow you away? DAVID ESTES is that author for me; there haven’t been a single book of his that I didn’t love. STRINGS wasn’t any different; I was in love with the novel, the characters within only few pages in. Pinocchio had always fascinated me and has been one of my favorite stories in childhood. Estes retold the story in most unique and fascinating way, that you couldn’t help but fall in love with the story, it’s Pinocchio but with a different twist. STRINGS was unlike the other novels that Estes had written but once again, he found a way to capture a reader’s attention and heart. I couldn’t get enough of the story, and it made me glad that I received ARC for review purposes because I was hooked from moment that I picked the novel and before I knew it, I was part of Pia’s adventures and I needed to know what would happen next, how all of this would end for her.

Pia: You can’t help but love her, how can you not? I loved her as female version of Pinocchio, a completely different twist to the modern fairy tale. Honestly I don’t know how she held on for as long as she had, but I feel that one of the reasons that she had was because of her father, she did it for him. I loved the relationship, the bond that the two of them had, you could see how much the two of them cared for one another. There weren’t anything that the two of them wouldn’t do for each other, it almost killed them. They showed that they would do anything if it meant protecting their family. It takes a lot of courage to do what she did and what her father done. I believe that if I were in her situation I would done the same thing. To me, Pia was a fighter and strong. She had been through a lot in her life and a lot of pain but in end she kept on going. She kept fighting.

Sofia & Marco: Like Pia I loved Sofia, at least in the beginning I did. I loved how she was with Pia and the friendship that two of them had. So of course once I found the reason that Sofia got close to Pia, her plan, I was heartbroken like Pia was once she found out the truth. Sofia was one of those characters where you feel like you lost a friend once you find out truth about her. It was unexpected especially since I didn’t see Sofia as someone capable of something like that, not in beginning. Marco was one of those characters who you weren’t sure about at start but then end up falling in love with at the end. I didn’t think that Pia would end up the one falling for him, mostly of because how she acted with him when the two just met. It was more of hate/love sort of relationship. As book progressed I could see the significant change in both of them and how both of them grew to care for one another. The way that both of them wanted to protect each other, now that’s love right there. I loved reading the scenes between two of them.

STRINGS was a heartbreaking, astonishing retelling of Pinocchio. A story that you will be thinking afterwards. You will find yourself becoming part of Pia’s story. Another breathtaking novel by DAVID ESTES I can’t wait to see what adventures he will come up with next. Be ready for a thrilling ride.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Michelle Mcroberts.
464 reviews34 followers
June 30, 2016
*I received a free audio download of this title from the author, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.*

I wanted so badly to like this book more. I have had varying opinions of Mr. Estes's work, but I really LOVED his dwellers series in a staying up too late, buying each one immediately after the next, could not put it down kind-of way, so I was really hoping to dive right into this one. I mean, a modern sci-fi re-telling of Pinocchio? Neat and new and unique...yum.

But this just felt not-as-good. Not that it wasn't good, it just didn't hold up to the quality of others I've read. The dialogue felt trite or maybe even cliche in places and stilted in others. I actually wondered, once I had finished it, whether or not it could have been the performance I reacted to when rating it, instead of the writing in the book itself. This is intended to be a review of the audio-version, though, so I'd say the rating is accurate.

Overall, I did enjoy the story. I liked the concept of advanced medicine leading to corruption. I enjoyed the exploration of corruption and the brutality that can come with it and how it can change good concepts into bad ones. I also enjoyed the multiple mysteries behind the "game" of which Pia has become the main pawn. When you're a pawn without even the knowledge of who all the players are or a glimpse of the strategy guiding those players, can you ever actually become a queen?

This question is satisfyingly and brutally answered by the time the reader is finished, and I walked away having enjoyed the time I spent in the story...I just wanted to like it more.

For conservative readers: This story gets a bit violent - Pia's strings hurt her very badly many times and there are players in the game that hurt her and others, intentionally, more than once. I can't remember any cursing in it, which would make me think that it isn't super prevalent if it is there, and there isn't any sexual content present either.
Profile Image for Rachel.
Author 13 books363 followers
February 27, 2017
Confession time: I've never loved the story of Pinocchio. For one, his name is about impossible to spell (gah!) and as a kid, the Disney movie adaptation literally gave me nightmares of having strings attached to ME. Which might be part of the reason why I found David's adaptation so brilliant.

After all, a sci-fi retelling of the story that incorporates the complete creepy feeling you get from strings that can control someone is perfectly fitting. And bringing the story to life in this new, unique way was phenomenal. I can now say I LOVE at least one version of the Pinocchio story: Pia's story and her heart-pounding quest for freedom. The characters were realistic, believable, and lovable! Not to mention, the twists and turns this story took kept me guessing what would happen next, the suspense kept me on the edge, and the humor interwoven throughout kept me laughing.

I first read this story as a beta reader and received a copy in exchange for an honest review/feedback. I now own my very own paperback copy and I'm so excited to give this great story a re-read! If my rating is already at 5 stars, can I somehow add another star after I read it again?? Because I'm sure I'll love it even more! :)
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