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Broken Dolls #1
Published by Curiosity Quills Press on December 14, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction
Ella doesn't remember what it's like to be human; after all, she's lived as a doll for thirty years. She forgets what it's like to taste, to breathe...to love.
She watches the professor create other dolls, but they don't seem to hang around for long. His most recent creation is Lisa, a sly goth. Ella doesn't like Lisa. How could she, when Lisa keeps trying to destroy her?
Ella likes the professor's granddaughter though, even if she is dying. It's too bad the professor wants to turn Gabby into a doll, depriving her of an education...depriving her of life.
With time running out and mad dolls on the rampage, Ella questions her very existence as she unearths the secrets buried in her past; secrets that will decide whether Gabby will befall the same fate...
The author/publisher provided a free copy of the book for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a review copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore do not affect the opinion or content of the review.
Broken Dolls is like a creepy version of Toy Story (I suppose Toy Story could be creepy…) with live, animated dolls created from humans. They’re supposed to be unemotional and feel nothing – not pain, not happiness, not loneliness…
For three decades, Ella lived her life as a doll, assisting the Professor in his creations. In those years, she’s forgotten about her humanity and seems perfectly happy as a dancing doll until the Professor unveils his latest creation: a goth doll named Lisa.
Here are my thoughts on the Professor: I deem him an ingenious mad scientist. He is absolutely insane, feels guilty about the past, and wants to change the world. I honestly don’t know what to say about the guy aside from the fact I actually feel just a tad bit bad for him in the long run.
But as odd as it might be, I enjoyed the aspect of humans being turned into dolls and living a supposedly ideal life with no emotions or feelings and a life controlled by the Professor. I didn’t expect Ella to have much of a voice or a personality aside from what she knew during her time as a doll (also more robotic sounding), and it is definitely the case in the early parts of Broken Dolls when Puxty sets up Ella’s world in a Toy Story-esque fashion.
Ella’s world revolves around the Professor making her a comfy room (lots of pink) in a chest in the attic of his home (that sentence sounds weird). To pass the time away, Ella spends her days locked up in the attic practicing ballet and recording adventures from her imagination into a recorder. The attic comes out a little bland – nothing remotely interesting and Ella’s day-to-day actions would have sounded repetitively boring if Puxty didn’t bring Lisa and Gabby into the story.
When Ella meets Lisa, however, she doesn’t like Lisa; Lisa makes multiple attempts to destroy Ella because of the theory she has about Ella and all the other dolls. Around the same time, Ella meets the Professor’s granddaughter, Gabby, a girl who has a virus that will eventually lead her to an inevitable fate. Like many kids, Gabby is adventurous, and she adores and protects Ella from the moment they meet. Unfortunately for Gabby, the Professor also has plans to turn Gabby into a doll-like Ella and prevent her from dying.
In the time Ella meets Lisa and Gabby, she starts to develop feelings and emotions and becomes more curious about her time before she turned into a doll. With the help of Lisa and another doll, she also strives to dig out all of the Professor’s secrets to his experiments before Gabby becomes an Ella-sized playmate. But not only does Ella uncovers the Professor’s secrets, she uncovers hers as well and Puxty gives us a glimpse into Ella’s human life before becoming a doll.
I personally think Ella is better off as a doll compared to being a human. With the brief glimpse of Ella’s human life, she starts out extremely happy and becomes really pessimistic later on – I don’t know how I would be able to handle human Ella. Since Broken Dolls has a sequel coming out sometime in 2016, I’m really curious how Ella will cope with her doll life as everyone around her knows who she really is and continues on with their lives.