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The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  52 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Pinocchio meets Frankenstein in this dark fairy tale retelling where a young girl is commissioned to build an assassin for a dark-hearted tyrant.

Impressed by the work of the puppetmaster and his apprentice, Tavia’s ruler, The Margrave, has ordered dozens of life-size marionette soldiers to be sent to Wolfspire Hall. When the orders for more soldiers come in with increasing
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 13th 2020 by Page Street Kids (first published 2020)
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Average rating 4.27  · 
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 ·  52 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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ʙᴇʟʟᴀ.: ☾**:.☆*.:。.
So when I read the synopsis and saw the cover I swear I thought this was going to be a retelling of Coppelia (ballet), because I want it so much, but it's a retelling of Pinnochio x Frankenstein...
Well, as long as it has the Blue fairy, I'm in!:D
Joanna Meyer
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
THE PUPPETMASTER’S APPRENTICE is a gender-flipped reimagining of Pinocchio with elements of Frankenstein and it is SO PHENOMENAL. The writing is absolutely gorgeous, the world-building and characterization nuanced and gripping, and the story itself carries you along with the effortless feel of a classic fairytale, while remaining innovative and unique. This book is STUNNING.
Savannah Porter
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is the perfect Halloween read! It has forbidden magic, a medieval-type setting, puppets, and an enchanting blue moon. I've been waiting for a solid YA fantasy the past couple weeks, and this one fulfilled my expectations. Piro is an engaging character, and the plot (though predictable) is entertaining. The writing has a storytelling feel to it, like listening to a fairytale. I'd readily recommend this one.

Writing Aesthetic/Style: 4
Plot/Movement: 4
Character Development: 4
Overall: 4

May 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This book was such a lovely surprise! Pirouette is a girl who was brought to life under the magic of the blue moon by her father, the master puppeteer who created her. She trains under him as his apprentice and becomes a talented craftswoman in her own right. When her father is endangered under the Margrave's command, she has no choice but to complete the ruler's requests to create marionettes for his own secretive but sinister intentions.

The writing was absolutely gorgeous - de
Sep 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What can I say about this Pinocchio retelling, other than that I loved every second of it?!

The first half I found sad in a beautiful way, and the second half is the beauty of empowerment and finding oneself.

I really enjoyed how parts of Pinocchio’s became Lisa DeSelm’s own through small details such as the splinters. Her writing was so easy to read and kept me up late into the night, unable to stop.

Piro’s strength was probably my favourite aspect of her character. How, even when she felt broke
Jenn of The Bookish Society
Oct 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
This all-new book (release date October 13, 2020) reads like an old-world fairy tale. You would never know that it isn't a 100-year-old tale that someone dug out of the back of a falling apart hardback in the grandmother's bookshelf.

While this isn't strictly Halloween themed, it is a Sci-Fi Dystopian creepy ride through a fractured fairy tale. This Pinocchio re-telling was glorious in all its wonder and mystical atmosphere.

Piro who is the puppet master's apprentice is good at her job. She hersel
Jun 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I absolutely love retellings, especially fairytale retellings. They often have a beautiful mysticism about them, and The Puppetmaster's Apprentice certainly hits this mark.

DeSelm has written a thoroughly engaging retelling of Pinocchio. I'll admit that I have never thought of Pinocchio retelling being told before, but I absolutely loved this one! To be more specific, this is a gender-bent retelling of Pinocchio with a heroine that any reader can admire. DeSelm has wonderful imagination when it
Andria Sedig
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
I was uncertain of this book when I saw that it was a Pinnochio retelling as I've never been a fan of that story, but was pleasantly surprised by this story. I loved the agency that these characters (particularly the female characters) had throughout the story and also enjoyed the moral dilemmas that the characters were facing. The pacing was solid. The "magic system" in this world is pretty light and not well developed but the character work and plot made for an enjoyable read. I also thought t ...more
Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard
"A gender-swapped retelling of Pinocchio meets Frankenstein. Pirouette is tasked to build an assassin for the tyrant of Tavia, but when she realizes his schemes dabble in dark magic, she aims to take control of the strings before the next blue moon. Fall 2020"
Toya (the reading chemist)
Oct 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up

I was immediately drawn to this story with the comparison Pinocchio meets Frankenstein. I am a sucker for fairytale retellings, especially when they are on the darker side. That being said, while I still enjoyed The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice, I envisioned a much darker story reminiscent of Kiersten White’s The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein.

Pirouette ‘Piro’ is the daughter of the renowned puppetmaster. Unlike everyone else, Pirouette’s father brought her to life using
Rose (Adventurous Bookworm)
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"I hope and pray that I will do this piece justice, giving the wood the honor it deserves. In the days that follow, I labor over smoothing every angle, refining every curve and ligature so that its stringed movement will be a thing of beauty. Of feline grace. Of terror.
If it were alive, of course"
Oh my word, this story was glorious.
First off, the characters. All were so well developed and the friendships were phenomenal. The makers reminded me of the Inklings, the group that Tolkien and C.S. Lew
Joanna Bennett
Sep 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to the publisher for sending out an arc to review! All opinions are my own.

I’m always excited to see smaller fairy-tales get picked for a retelling. I have never read a retelling for Pinocchio so I was quite curious about this book!

Pirouette is a genderbent Pinnocchio and although you can pick out similarities, the author does a great job of giving new life to a classic.

Pirouette is a girl learning what it means to love, being strong in the face of danger, and appreciating the life she
Lindsay Hameroff
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What an absolutely delightful read! I love a good fractured fairy tale, and this one, which has a Pinocchio-meets-Frankenstein plot, did not disappoint. The whimsical, lyrical writing style was so gorgeous and a perfect fit for the genre. I loved all the allusions to Pinnochio, like the blue moon in place of the blue fairy, and found myself constantly highlighting beautiful and inspiring quotes. Both the characters and plot kept me hooked the entire time, and I devoured this book in two days, st ...more
Kirsti Call
May 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"But I stand with Bran, breathing long and deep, as many breaths as I dare, feeling my fears wash over me, one by one, like wet strokes of paint."

This book is lovely, lyrical and mesmerizing. I always love a good fractured fairytale and this twist on Pinocchio did not disappoint. The story is filled with authentic characters, complex relationships, and a fight between good and evil. Themes of identity, loyalty, honesty, the price of choices, and family.
Dini - dinipandareads
Oct 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read this book as part of the blog tour hosted by Caffeine Book Tours. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review. 4 stars

Wow, I can't believe this is a debut novel because I honestly can't find one bad thing to say about it. The writing was luscious and magical, the characters were filled with life, and it was just as creepy and atmospheric as that gorgeous cover portrays it to be. I was never a huge fan of Pinnochio growing up because that mo
Kajree Gautom
Oct 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice is a dark gender-bent retelling of Pinocchio, mixed with elements of Frankenstein. Pirouette and her father are renowned puppet makers in Tavia. Tavia’s ruler, The Margrave, has been putting out orders for life-sized soldier puppets, clad in full uniforms and weapons. But then the Margrave’s son orders the puppet-master’s apprentice to create a deadly assassin, and give it life.

I must say, the plotline of this book is highly intriguing and the author doesn’t fail in
Oct 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book from Caffeine Book Tours and Page Street Publishing. And here's a US GIVEAWAY you can join! Open until October 18, 2020 (12:00 AM, PH Time).

my thoughts

As the blue moon rises, so does a new life. Pirouette Leiter is a child of the moon, a secret she and her father concealed for many years. Until the time has come for the moon to collect the price, and the truth unspooled like a tailor’s thread. All the while, darkness awakens along with wolves.

Paula M. of Her Book Thoughts!
"I am Pirouette, a girl whose heart is made of stronger stuff than flesh and blood."

I must admit, the cover of The Puppetmaster's Apprentice is what really caught my attention. Look how beautiful it is! And after finishing this novel, that beautiful cover truly matches the beautiful story as well. The Puppetmaster's Apprentice is a fantasy novel and a retelling of the classics Pinocchio and Frankenstein. Our main character, Piro, is a lovely marionette turned into a girl because of f
Oct 15, 2020 rated it liked it
This was new at my library today. The ebook version anyway, since my city is in Phase Two of reopening at the time of this writing. I looked at the cover first and was curious due to that. It said "YA fantasy, possibly romance," and I was right for half of the book. The prologue made sense for the story! I was pleased. For the first few chapters, I couldn't figure out how old Pirouette was. I think she's eighteen, and still consider this to be a YA novel since the tropes are there. This is a gen ...more
gwendalyn _books_
Oct 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice Review by Lisa DeSelm, is a beautiful and immersive fantasy is like no other. Sometimes you come across a book that leaves you in a state of mind.. where you say gosh I have to purchase this little treasure of a book in Hardback. No wait I have to have a-signed copy..
That is my feelings right now concerning t
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Puppetmaster’s Apprentice follows Pirouette Leiter (ISN’T THAT THE MOST ADORABLE NAME YOU’VE EVER HEARD), a girl who was carved and brought to life by a puppetmaster. I do not want to say ANYTHING more and ruin the suspense, but it does have nefarious Dukes, adorable love interests, and one of the cutest found family relationships EVER.

So, let me start off by talking about the writing. I COULD NOT BELIEVE MY EYES WHEN I SAW THAT THIS WAS DESELM’S FIRST BOOK! The writing is absolutely gorgeou
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received an advanced copy of The Puppetmaster's Apprentice from Turn the Page tours so that I can share my review with you!

Pirouette works as her father’s apprentice, spending her days carving hunks of wood into masterful marionettes. This craft comes naturally to Pirouette, as she was born from wood herself many years earlier when her father used magic to bring a marionette to life. Normally, her work as the puppetmaster’s apprentice is filled with creativity and joy, but with new orders from
Becca Mee
Oct 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Puppetmaster's Apprentice was a delightfully haunting kind of fantasy. Piroutte apprentices with her father the puppetmaster, and shares his passion, but she has a secret: she was not born, but made by her father when he brought her to life 7 years ago under the light of a blue moon. That secret is threatened when Piroutte and her father catch the eye of the duke, the heir to the Margrave. When Piroutte creates a wooden assassin for the duke to get her father out of prison, she finds herself ...more
Mis Hashmi
Oct 20, 2020 rated it liked it
*I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley from the publisher as part of a promotional tour.

What I liked about the book:
> Spooky setting
>Vivid and dark descriptions. Definitely felt straight out of a horror movie at times.
>A Pinocchio retelling I never knew I needed but once I read it, I knew this was a fantastic idea and the spin on Pinocchio's curse was excellent.
>The Frankenstein elements
>The MC's connection to marionettes and trees
>The relationship between the father and the daughter
Danielle Zimmerman
Oct 19, 2020 rated it liked it
I love reading debuts because, oftentimes, these stories are the most pure in imagination. They’re something that author has dreamed of writing in one way or another and to some extent. And so debuts are the product of that first pen-to-paper experience. With THE PUPPETMASTER’S APPRENTICE, it’s clearly evident the love and thought the author put into this first story. And that alone is something to celebrate.

However, I will say that while that love is apparent from the writing, the audience isn
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Pirouette is a girl who comes to life. Born from wood and blood, under a blue moon, with the incantation of forbidden magic uttered by her father, Tavia's master puppetmaster. Piro, as she is called, learns the skills of the trade under his tutelage and becomes a force to be reckoned with in her own right. Coming from wood herself, she has that extra special connection with her craft. The wood speaks to her. A skill she would come to need if she is to save her father's life after he is captured ...more
Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I won a copy of this one in a Goodreads Giveaway. This was a fast paced YA that tended more toward the middle grade side of things. Because of that, it was an incredibly quick read. However, in spite of that, it was still beautifully written. It really draws you in, and it's a perfect little escapist fantasy, which is something that's definitely needed this far into the pandemic. This was a pleasant surprise
Oct 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
As a debut, this is a pretty normal read. The character development and character relationships are a bit on the meh side but I adored the plot so so much! Plus the main character's name is Pirouette which I loved so much. The concept for the book, plot, and world building is so so so lovely.
I didn't feel a ton with this story and really wasn't ever hooked to it but overall it was entertaining and I seriously enjoyed it. Congratulations to Lisa DeSelm on your release!
Aug 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
So pleasantly surprised by this book. I have a blog tour stop coming on my blog on October 11th! But spoiler: I loved it.....

Thank you to the publisher for giving me an arc of this book.
Riley Goldstein
Sep 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An amazing twist on the classic Pinocchio! Experience outlawed magic, love (both familial and romantic), twisted royals, and amazing storytelling skills. Definetly a good read for October! I really enjoyed the worldbuilding of this story, and the writing style was perfect for it!
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Thanks to a steady childhood diet of fairytales, Lisa still dreams of running away to the woods to live amongst the fairy folk in her own enchanted bower. Until then, she happily lives with her husband and two daughters in the wilds of suburban South Bend, Indiana. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her working as an art director and designer, most likely daydreaming with a cup of tea in hand.

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