Advance copy provided by Reedsy Discovery.
Puppets Win Today by David Wallace Fleming is about a magic puppet, Felty, whose maker suddenly dies after eating a badly made snack and leaves all his puppets at the mercy of people he owes money to, not to mention the madness of the real world.
As Felty and his fellows try to survive on their own, he uncovers a corporate conspiracy and has to decide what to do about it. Save the day or fully embrace cut-throat capitalism?
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Felty is very compelling as an innocent puppet discovering himself while on a crash course through a harsh and complex society. The situation at home is just as fascinating as dozens of strange magic puppets take over and try to govern themselves.
Intricate Themes and Writing Style
The imagery and plot are beyond surreal, mashing philosophical, existential, and adult themes with often over-the-top poetic prose. The narration bursts with personality and humor, using more dialogue than description.
As dynamic as the writing style is, however, it becomes overwhelming and obscures much of what’s going on. It’s very hard to keep track of the core plot while, from start to finish, a million different bizarre things happen at any given time or several characters talk—often nonsensically—without any descriptors.
The plot of Puppets Win Today needed tidying up and strengthening. It couldn’t stand out from all the unnecessary noise, which made the reading experience too confusing to enjoy. Unfortunately, this impacted the ending too, all-in-all preventing the book from packing a punch. It could have been a very unique and powerful one.
That said, there are lots of meaningful moments and very clever representations of real-life issues to pick out. As a satire, Puppets Win Today definitely delivers a funny and intense reflection of some of the human world’s worst qualities.
Despite its flaws in plot and narration, Puppets Win Today is an amusing and moving read. Fans of the Muppets and bizarro fiction will especially enjoy its flamboyantly fantastical whirlwind of felt, flesh, and satirical tropes.
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