Review: Broken Dolls by Tyrolin Puxty


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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…

Broken dolls is a well written short novel that at first glance, appears to tick many boxes on my ‘was it worth the read’ list. On closer inspection, or rather on reflection, I feel a little cheated. I cannot honestly say that the author managed to adequately squish such an elaborate story into so few pages. With just a few more, the characters could have been greater developed, giving the reader a better chance of connecting with them. Then when faced with the many and varied obstacles, we would be better invested in the outcome. As it stands, I felt next to nothing regarding the outcome of any of the main characters fates.

Do not get me wrong, Broken Dolls was an enjoyable read, but it could have been an amazing one. The story is original and the writing clean and well-crafted which made it easy to flick through the few pages in less than two hours, but being a clean quick read is just not enough.

For me, Ella is a bit dull as a main character, but she does work well as the catalyst to bringing all the other much more interesting characters together. Her vacantness is somewhat explained in the experiment she has undergone, but it didn’t make it any easier to care about her. Lisa however is the exception to the next to nothing I felt, her sneakiness, drive to expose the professor and manipulation of the dolls around her made her the star, that is until she gets her pretty doll face smashed.

Sianne is sufficiently nutty and was at first a welcome addition to the growing doll population in the tiny attic, but the story could have done without her, and if a character could be done without, it is usually better to just cut them completely. I’m guessing her addition here was to establish her connection to both Ella and the professor before her role in the rest of the series; a series we get a sneak peek at after the final page of Broken Dolls is turned.

Shattered Girls, the second book in the series showed more depth of character in its sneak peek than Broken Dolls managed to accomplish in its 175 pages. I think I will treat Broken Dolls as the prologue to what I hope will be an amazing read in Shattered Girls.

Three stars for this, with hopes that the second in the series has more oomph.

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Rebecca is currently editing her completed manuscript whilst writing WIP 2 and 3. With three children and a full time job, the other characters bouncing around in her brain will just have to wait.

Find her on twitter here.

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