Cover Image: Marionette


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Member Reviews

Thank you Netgalley for letting me read and review this. "Marionette is an erotic horror novella inspired by traditional folk tales and set in fin de siècle Paris." 

I've never read an erotic horror novella before, but I enjoyed it. Maybe I'll read more of them in the future. The story and characters were interesting.
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I rediscovered this novella resting on my TBR pile the other day and immediately dove in. As I was quite in the mood for something either erotic or horror, I very much enjoyed it, even if it moved a little too quickly for me. Thanks to Brigids Gate Press and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My apologies for the delay in reviewing.

George Dashwood is fresh off the train from England, hoping to fully dedicate himself to his art in Paris. His friend has other ideas, however, and drags him to a theatre where Paris' latest sensation, Cece Dulac, is performing. George is immediately drawn to Cece, while she is focused on surviving and, if possible, thriving. When an exclusive party turns towards the supernatural, however, the stakes are raised and the two have to battle to hold on to their own selves. Marionette moves back and forth between George and Cece's narration, giving us two different perspectives on the story taking place. George is full of idealism and romance, while Cece has already lived quite a bit of life. Add a solid dash of Gothic horror, magic, and explicit eroticism, and you've got quite a tale. Rossignol's name immediately reminded me of the gothic and macabre Grand Guignol theatre, which also staged shocking short plays. The whole atmosphere of the novella is one of heightened emotions and drama. 

Antonia Rachel Ward excels at creating a strong atmosphere in this tale. Whether we're behind the scenes at the theatre, in the catacombs under Paris, or in the grand villas of the rich, it all feels sumptuous. With short tales like these, this is often one of the most important aspects to me and I was glad that it worked so well in Marionette. However, I did find myself wishing that this had been either longer or a full novel. The characterisation moves very quickly, which makes sense, but this meant that I didn't fully connect to the characters. Cece was very interesting, but I wish I could have spent more time in her head before the paranormal aspects took over. I also didn't really like George, with his Romantic disposition and immediate focus on Cece, so his narration didn't really grip me. I did like the themes Ward wove into her story about the plight of women and the restrictions they experience in society, but for me these also could have done with more space. Overall, while I enjoyed Marionette, it didn't really stick with me as a single whole, if that makes sense. Solitary moments and scenes had quite a lot of power and attraction, but the connective tissue kind of let it down for me. I'd be very intrigued to read more by Antonia Rachel Ward, however!

The rating may seem kind of harsh, especially as I did enjoy quite a few aspects of Marionette. I simply wanted a little bit more from it than I got, which is both a plus and a negative. I was intrigued and captivated enough to want more depth, but subsequently I felt let down by the fact it wasn't there.
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This book was…fine. It was shelved as erotic and maybe this is just me, but I did not find this book tantalizing or intriguing. There was too much build, not enough spice. Overall, it was interesting but I did not fall in love with it
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Marionette blends eroticism and horror beautifully. The plot was compelling enough that I read the entire novella in one sitting. The imagery is vivid, the characters are vibrant, and the horrors are terrifying. Well done!

Thank you to Brigids Gate and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I was expecting an erotic novel. I have never heard of erotic horror before. It was a good short read to help reach your GoodReads goal.
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Marionette by Antonia Racheal Ward is an erotic horror novella. Yes, the book is exactly like it sounds.

This was a quick read with a solid writing style making this novella a pleasure to go through. Though I imagined that it'd be more gothic judging from the cover and the synopsis, unfortunately it was not.

Told from the point of view of 3 different characters, I didn't find any of them as compelling as I'd liked to and thought that they were a bit underdeveloped. The ending was quite predictable and honestly, a better ending could improve this book seven folds.

Overall, a fun book meant to be read in one sitting and absolutely for people who love both gory horror and steamy erotica.
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This was quite the fun read. Please make sure you look at content warnings before reading, and if it still looks like it’s straight up your alley, then I recommend it! Well written and interesting characters considering the genre is a little has a bit of a bad rep for questionable writing.
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I just finished reading it and honestly can tell you absolutely nothing about it. Made no impact on me at all and I don't really feel like giving it another try at all.
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I wasn't quite sure what to expect when seeing the cover- will it be a graphic novel, will it be a teen novel? I was surprised once I started reading to discover it's actually what I would call erotic horror! The cover art is beautiful and eye-catching, but I could see how this accidentally might get shelved in a teen or children's area in a bookstore or library. As for the story itself, it really gave me Moulin Rouge and Phantom of the Opera vibes; think damsel in distress being held in some sort of servitude with a humble "hero" that falls in love and tries to save her. I was interested the whole way through and happy with the pacing. I did feel like the sexual scenes went on a bit too long, but then again, I'm not a fan of romance, erotica, supernatural romance, etc. And on the other side of that, given what the plot is, I can see why the author did write the scenes as such. I liked that this book was more of a quick read as novella! All in all, this was enjoyable and I thank NetGalley and the Publisher for the ARC!
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This book had a good and thought out plot but I found the characters lacking in substance.  I did read the entire thing but I’m not sure I would read it again.
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This was a very middle-of-the-road book for me. But I do know people I can recommend this book to that will love and enjoy it.
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This is an interesting take on an erotic short story. I’m not sure what I was expecting but this was definitely not it. 

I’m gonna keep this review pretty minuscule as there are so few pages to it that saying too much becomes a spoiler really quick. With that in mind:

I definitely got the erotic part and the horror part. It’s obvious where both of those lie. While this isn’t scary horror, it’s definitely creepy horror and there’s plenty of it. I really did enjoy this little novella and there was considerably more crammed into it than I thought would be possible. 

Thanks to NetGalley for the ebook!
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Not my cup of tea!

The concept is interesting and definitely have potential, and shout out for the designer of this cover, it's so gorgeous and attractive. But it just did not worked for me.

I was expecting more depth to the story, and some of the topics were just not well addressed. I missed character development, and the instant love was a bit annoying for me. The misogyni on it was killing me slowly, I almost DNF this book so many times.
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Marionette is a horror novella with a touch of erotica. 

“Marionette” was set in the 1800s Paris. The clothes, venues, and overall environment gave me Moulin Rouge vibes. The cover art sets the tone for this period. 

Cece, the main character, is a lifelong erotic dancer. She agrees to take part in a mysterious show by one of the most powerful men, Monsieur Rossignol. What could go wrong?! 😆.

Meanwhile, George is a young man who arrived in Paris to pursue on his art. His dad instructs him to stay away from women and focus on his art. Women are a distraction! So, George falls in love with the first beautiful woman he sees. The rest of the tale follows George on his mission to save his love interest.

Marionette was my first Gothic erotic horror story. It was an experience.  The story was told in multiple points of view. The author transitioned well between the characters. The story flowed smoothly.  

As this was a horror novella, I was expecting more depth to the story. There was not enough depth to it.  It almost felt like the story was skimming the surface.  The book tackled some serious sexual topics like rape and molestation.  Since this was a horror novella, I was expecting that the dark topics would have been addressed better as part of the story. 

Additionally, this story had a few plot holes which really affected continuity.  I don’t want to go into these because they are spoilers. 

The story flowed at a good pace and had a predictable ending.  I did love the story as a whole. I like Antonia’s character. Furthermore, I loved watching George fight for his true love.  “Marionette” was a fun, short read.
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This novella takes place in Paris where our main character Cece, involved in a life of exotic dancing and erotic encounters agrees to take part in a mysterious show by one of the most powerful men in the industry, Monsieur Rossignol. It is there she falls under hypnosis and her body taken over by a malevolent spirit.

This is categorised as 'horror', 'erotica' and 'sci-fi/fantasy' and I have to say this story hits all of these boxes with ease - but should ONLY be considered a combination of these, not any of them independent. This is not a love story romantic or even sometimes particularly sexy kind of erotica, it's not your standard horror as it involves quite a bit of depraved thought (and generally is quite tame at some points compared to what could have happened) and generally would fall within 'paranormal' if I would categorise it within a sub-genre.

It gave a very bourlesque/Moulin Rouge kind of vibe, set in what I believe was 1800's and everything to do with sexuality was normally behind closed doors, only for this environment to allow for a freedom which society at large looked down upon.

This was an enjoyable read if you're a lover of horror and less-than-normal stories, but I certainly wouldn't recommend to those who want to read a normal erotica book! It didn't go as far into the creepy and depraved side as I had expected it to which is not something I expected to have a complaint about, but some of the content could have been more violent/weird given the vibe the book was going. In some ways, I feel this book had the perfect context within which a lot could have been done, which led to some missed opportunities.

IMPORTANT: trigger warnings are dubious consent (on a few occassions), mutilation, death, references to suicide, violence

I actually would like to read this author's other works in future as I think the way she thinks and writes is very interesting, in some ways I hope their confidence to go as far as it feels they wanted to go is achieved.

NOTE: I did not have access to the illustrations on my download so I am only reviewing the storyline as written without a single visual accompanying it - my apologies, not sure why the download didn't include them but it appears to be a common issue.

I received a complimentary copy of this novella courtesy of Brigids Gate Press LLC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, which I leave voluntarily.
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I thought this would be darker, but not really. There were some spooky aspects, but they were quickly resolved in the story's scope. I was expecting to be scared, but really this was just a mystery that was resolved.
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Struggled to connect with this book. Concept was great, cover is gorgeous but something was missing for me.
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Interesting concept (sexy possession by ghost), but subpar execution (none of the characters have any brain cells left). Add to that the surface-level research on the historical setting and society, and you have created an environment hostile to any eroticism I might have perceived.
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I really feel like the content warnings should be placed in the beginning of the book because a lot of the content can be triggering. Other than that I enjoyed the idea of the story, but I feel like it could have been better extended and elaborated, it felt very choppy.
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This book was a little weird for me and I’m usually the biggest trailer for our weird but I did like it. I’m not sure I have a fully formed opinion on the story, but I didn’t like them. Thank you for the opportunity to read this book.
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