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The Lie Tree - Francis Hardinge Review
“The cave smelt of the sea, but it was not a cheerful seaside smell. It reeked as if the sea were something old and evil. This sea licked the flesh off shipwrecks, leaving the bare wooden bones in the lightless deep”
Sophisticated, descriptive, unlike any other novel out there, but for me – a little disappointing.
Title: The Lie Tree
Author: Frances Hardinge
Genre: Children's/Young Adults Fiction
Published: 7th May 2015
I first decided to read ‘The Lie Tree’ based on its merits – it’s recently been chosen as the ‘Costa Book of the Year’.
Aimed at the teen / young adult market, it follows the magical story of Faith, who finds herself thrown into an adventure like no other.
Her father dies, and Faith is determined to find out why he was so secretive, what kept him tucked away in his study for hours on end.
This is how Faith discovers the Tree of Lies.
It grows and becomes rich with fruit if you feed it whispered lies, and reveals hidden secrets if you eat the fruit.
Faith uses the tree to try and work out how her father died, she believes someone, or even a group of people are responsible for his death.
She sets out on a mission to discover who, and why. Along the way, spreading lies, and rumours throughout the small community.
I entered into the story believing I’d be captured by the characters, unable to put the book down.
It did, after all, win an award. However, I struggled with it, its dark, dreary, grey imagery lacked in any warmth and interest for me. If I’m completely honest, I struggled to finish it, I didn’t care much for Faith, and found the many different characters, all with reason to kill, confusing and tiresome.
That said, it IS aimed at a younger audience, not me, so if I go back to my 13 year old self then maybe I would have found it more enchanting.
Remember it’s the Costa Book of the Year, so don’t take my word for it – give ‘The Lie Tree’ a go for yourself.
Other books by Francis Hardinge include ‘Cuckoo Song’, ‘Fly By Night’, and ‘Twilight Robbery’.
Do you agree with Laura James? Give your rating below and join in the discussion in the comments box.
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