Publisher: Orion Books Link: Joanne Owen Since the advent of the boy wizard Harry Potter, the lines between adult and young fiction have joyously blurred, which is how it should be. A good tale should be a free for all that transcends target audiences. Musician and writer Joanne Owen's painstakingly researched and lovingly crafted Gothic novel is one such tale. The book coming in at 214 pages (plus appendices including a pronunciation guide!) could easily be enjoyed by adults. It's a vivid tale of intrigue and mystery set in nineteenth century Prague. The city is described in such exquisite detail you can imagine the brooding churches and graveyards. Fans of the Czech city will love the references to Vysehrad and the Old Town. Owen's story is about a virtually orphaned, but well-loved little girl called Milena, who incurs the curiosity of a mysterious and strange Puppet Master when he arrives in town to put on a show. Milena's mother vanished shortly after the death of her father, yet the girl is plagued by dreams about her. Her aunts are both experienced in the arts of magic and potions as well as being a repository for legends and myths that they share with the fascinated child, and thus also with us. What unfurls is a tale of the pursuit of power, madness, kidnap and a little girl's realisation she is far more special then she realises in the grand scheme of things. If you like the stories to be a milieu of folklore and legend you will love the Puppet Master. It is littered with rich little details such as the Tale of the Conceited Tradeswoman, which delivers a parable on the virtues of generosity. The illustrations are lovely, and the singed pages add an air of creaky Gothicism that makes reading the book a delight. At times it's hard to decipher what is stroke of Owen's imagination, and what is taken from Czech history, but it all adds to the authentic story telling voice. For a child this is a story to really get your teeth into, for an adult there is so much detail you will be challenged not to come away a little spell bound and not just a little bit in love with magic, Prague and fairy tales.