"A wonderful retelling of the Pinocchio story…I simply couldn’t put this book down." Rysa Walker, bestselling author of TIMEBOUND
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Sometimes the strings that tie us down are the same strings that set us free. Sixteen-year-old Pia has always lived in a mysterious facility where mechanical strings control her existence. She plays apprentice to her father, Gio, in performing nanotech designs for the Company, and she soon suspects there are diabolical human forces behind the manufactured reality of her world. Though her childhood memories and the origins of the strings remain strangely elusive, she begins to find solace with the introduction of two unlikely friends: daring, irrational Sofia, and calm, tender Marco. As the truths of the past and present unravel together, Pia must find a way to free herself from her strings and escape the facility before facing the wrath of the unstable head of security, Mr. Davis. But to gain her freedom, she must navigate the dangers posed by Davis and by her suspicious new friends to find the real identity of the puppeteer. If Pia can succeed in revealing the secrets of the Company, she may very well find the independence she so desperately seeks. But in her controlled world nothing is as it seems, and the closer she gets to the truth, the graver the consequences.
I see it.
A few steps away, closer than my father’s station: the door to the outside. The guard has gotten lazy, having left the door ajar, a sliver of outside sunlight burning an orange stripe across the floor.
Without thinking, I race for the opening, feeling my strings tense a moment too late, for once not anticipating my move—probably because of how insane it is. My hands are battering rams, shoving the door open, reaching for the sunlight. My body goes rigid as the guard barks, “Hey!” and I feel a monstrous force grab my hands, my feet, my shoulders, my hips, and my head, thrusting them in reverse. I’m airborne, flying back inside, the room a blur of equipment and bright walls and a dark, swirling ceiling, and my father’s eyes—wide and white with fear.
My body hits the floor with a vicious thud that jars my bones and rattles my teeth, which should be punishment enough.
The strings are livid, no longer black, pulsing with red, like blood rushing through a needle. They snap at my skin, cracking like whips—and when they connect they’re like severed electrical wires, sending shocks through my core, to my extremities, to the deepest, darkest, most hidden parts of my soul.
And through my blurry, tear-filled vision, I can see past my father, who’s struggling fruitlessly with the guard, trying to get to me. My heart sinks.
Because the box on the screen is displaying a single sentence:
Darkness folds its silky wings around me.
About the author
David Estes is the author of more than 20 science fiction and fantasy novels that have received hundreds of thousands of downloads worldwide, including The Moon Dwellers, Fire Country, Slip, Brew, and his new SciFi Pinocchio retelling, Strings. He lives in Hawaii with his inspiring Aussie wife, Adele, rambunctious son, Beau, and naughty cat, Bailey. When he's not writing, you'll likely find him at the beach swimming, snorkeling, or reading under an umbrella.
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