Publication Date: December 14, 2015
Ella has been a doll for as long as she can remember, her human days long forgotten. She spends her days dancing and playing by herself.
Lisa is a new doll. No longer human. But something is wrong with Lisa, she doesn't want to be a doll.
Then Ella meets Gabby, the professor's granddaughter, and finds out that he wants to turn her into a doll too. Becoming a doll means that Gabby will never be able to enjoy life like a normal person again, never go to school or learn to fall in love.
And Ella won't let that happen.
Before I start with the review itself, can we take a moment to appreciate how beautiful the cover is? That was the first thing that drew me to the book, and I love how creepy it is. Covers like this end up sticking in my memory because they're so different. In this case, this cover also stands out to me because I'm scared of dolls and this cover.....well, you get the point. I'm fantastic at making decisions, especially ones that involve me scaring myself.
When I started reading this, I was a little confused as to how this is supposed to be YA. The writing style and the main character, Ella, felt more Middle Grade to me. It was like this book is somewhere between the two genres, flipping back and forth depending on the situation. I think it's something the author could definitely work on with the sequel, as it does make the book a little bit confusing to read.
The plot itself intrigued me a lot. The concept of dolls intrigues me, but generally also freaks me out. If you don't think that dolls are terrifying on some level, then you're lying to yourself. And yet I found myself drawn to this book because I was so curious about the whole premise behind it. A human mind in the body of a doll. A doll that doesn't remember what it's like to be human anymore. It made me want to pick this up almost immediately after I was approved by NetGalley and the publishing house.
Coming down to the way the story is told, I found that I wasn't very pleased with it. There were inconsistency problems with the writing style, especially when it had to do with the overall tone and the main character's voice. Since it's in first person present tense, we rely heavily on the main character to tell us what is going on. But with the inconsistencies, it made our main character feel more unreliable than I think the author intended her to be.
That doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy the overall concept of the book. I actually enjoyed the idea behind this a lot, but I felt like there could have been a much better execution. There was something majorly lacking for me, where the story couldn't keep my attention, despite me reading it in less than three hours. I was still easily distracted from reading the story and kept finding that I was more willing to text my friend than I was to read this book. And for me, that's never a good thing. If I'm more interested in texting someone or being online than I am in reading a book, it means that my interest has been lost. For a book of this length, being just around 170 pages, that's not really something it can afford. But that's just my opinion.
Okay, maybe I have more problems with this book than I initially realized.
I didn't like the way things ended and how everything was revealed. While it was a good twist, I felt like it was missing a big WOW factor for me. I had a hard time being impressed with it, finding that I was instead bored by the time I got to the end. I think the ending is supposed to make you feel compassionate, understanding, and even slightly conflicted, but I didn't actually feel any of that. Instead, I was kind of frustrated with how things turned out.
Perhaps what I was bored by was the constant cycle of the professor refusing to explain things to Ella, even though it was clearly the most logical thing to do. But for dramatic effect, it didn't happen until the end.
I don't want to go into each character's story arc in this book, especially with there being quite a large cast of characters. It would also be too much of a spoiler. But, let me just run through the ones I think are most important.
I don't like Ella. Okay, I liked her in the beginning, but after the first couple of chapters, I lost interest in her. It felt like she was more of a child than a twelve year old. Her voice came across as that of a six or seven year old to me. On top of that, I found her to be quite annoying when it came to her ability to thought-process and make logical decisions. She seemed to prefer everything except the best choice.
The professor kind of weirded me out. He's not scary or anything, he's just really weird. And not the good kind of weird.
3.5 stars. I highly doubt I'll be continuing on with the other books in this trilogy. I have too many issues with this to continue, and I have better books to read than this. Would I recommend it? No. I think that while the concept is truly fascinating, the execution is too sloppy for anyone who is a more experienced reader. There's something too immature about the deliverance that bothers me, and I don't think the story redeems the deliverance.
Thank you to NetGalley for hosting this on your site. Thank you also to Curiosity Quills for approving my request to read this in exchange for an honest review.