Review: Master of Rods and Strings by Jason Marc Harris

cover of Master of Rods and StringsMaster of Rods and Strings by Jason Marc Harris
Crystal Lake Publishing (January 12, 2024)
104 pages; paperback
Reviewed by Chandra Claypool (Instagram) (TikTok)

Do you like to read things that scare you? And I don’t mean just general horror… I mean specifics. I absolutely cannot be around dolls… and by default, puppets. Puppets may almost even be worse since they actively move – even if it’s in a controlled way by the person with the rods and strings. So of course I had to read this story of Elias, who wants to be as talented as his sister as puppetry. She is recruited by their Uncle Pavan, who is well known for his successes in his puppetry school. But something seems off and Elia won’t stop until he finds his sister. No cost is too big and he finds himself spiraling into the occult. Nothing will stop him.

I loved the uniqueness of this novella. Haunting, creepy at times with a somber feel throughout. I will say that I would have liked more dialogue as I have a hard time paying attention to reads that stay within the mind of a character so much. But that’s just a personal preference that affects my enjoyability of a read. I enjoyed the delve into the bloody world of using the dead and the puppets to perform dark rituals. This isn’t your average horror puppet read by any means.

I can see why readers would absolutely love this read. It is very atmospheric and certainly caters to my fear, which I always enjoy. I do wish it was a bit faster paced as at times it felt very slow and took me out of the story. There was a moment that I considered putting this down completely but being a it’s a short read, decided to continue. I’m happy that I did but I felt the ending was a bit rushed and abrupt. Will there be a sequel of sorts to see what happens with Elias and Virgil? Not sure I would continue if there was one but I do appreciate what the author was doing with his vision.

While this might not have been the read for me, it will be a good fit for those interested in a dark and mysterious tale of revenge, loyalty, and artistic passion that explores the arcane world of occult puppetry.

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