There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake

Wildcard #2


★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

Just a couple of months ago you’ll have seen my review for Lake’s latest novel – Whisper to Me – which was pure five-star material. With There Will Be Lies nominated for this year’s Carnegie, I was extremely excited to read it, but as you can see, I was pretty disappointed. Unlike Whisper to Me, There Will Be Lies did not feel well put together, juxtaposing two stories that were not adequately linked until the book neared the end. Two stories, that were just a little too different to fit.

Throughout There Will Be Lies Lake tells the story of Shelby discovering the truth about her family, interspersed with her adventures in The Dreaming (a world outside this world that governs all of time and space, but it on the verge of destruction). It is clear from near the outset that this is a metaphor for Shelby’s life, undergoing dramatic change and requiring inner strength and bravery. However, Lake also makes regular reference to a recurrent nightmare of Shelby’s to make the same allusions, and thus The Dreaming feels over-exaggerated and disjointed with the flow of the novel.

Not only does The Dreaming feel out of place with the rest of the plot, but its character exploration and deeper meanings are also much more sophisticated than the tone and language used for the other sections. A tone which, truth be told, feels immature for a seventeen-year old, highly educated protagonist and condescending for a young adult audience. It is not just the case that Lake uses two metaphors to allude the same message, but he feels it necessary to explain the meaning of the metaphors in the concluding chapters!

All this being said, there is some value to Lake’s work. His imagery using baseball, for example, was of particular merit, and on it’s own the non-Dreaming storyline was engaging, well-paced and well written. It was also refreshing to see a deaf character as the protagonist without her sole character-trait being based around hearing. Whilst I can’t say I recommend a read, or that it’s a strong contender for this year’s medal, it’s certainly not the worst book to ever have made the Carnegie shortlist. And if you’re looking for a Lake book to read, it’s probably safer to try one of his other works.


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