This is by the author of Children of Time, which catapulted onto my top 10 list last year. This one’s a novella, so not quite as juicy as that one, but it was still a fun read.
Coppelia is a puppeteer and a small-time thief in a city that hoards magic. When she is approached by actual living homonculi, she is astonished and delighted. They form a team, with her making new bodies for them to bring to life, and the tiny doll-people stealing trinkets and magic items for her to trade and sell. When a group of professional thieves discover a life-size metal golem in a forgotten lab beneath the palace, they recruit Coppelia to help them solve the puzzle of its existence. Things go badly, people are killed and/or captured, and Coppelia ends up in the dungeons, refining body parts for the golem.
The story moves swiftly (and ends a bit patly), but Coppelia and the two main homonculi are given decent enough character and personalities, and you get a good snapshot of the world, even though the novella doesn’t have time to dive in too deep. It kind of reminded me of Binti that way. A decent read, but it did not quite meet my high expectations for Tchaikovsky.