The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

Challenge 4 ~ “A book by an author you discovered in 2015.”


★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

When I saw Hardinge was back on the Carnegie shortlist this year, I wasn’t really sure what to think. Cuckoo Song (her 2015 nominee) was well-written but unnecessarily long and a little uncomfortable, whilst on the other hand another of her novels is sitting quietly on my TBR. Author aside, I’ve also had pretty mixed feelings with this year’s shortlist, much preferring some of the nominees to those shortlisted. The Lie Tree was thankfully not one of those.

Once again, Hardinge more than delivered with her quality of writing. Every scene is brought to life in the most sensual of ways, creating the most vivid of atmospheres. Furthermore, Hardinge built tension well, leading to some enjoyable and thrilling scenes at the end of the novel. Although it had an unusual and slightly supernatural theme (much like Cuckoo Song), The Lie Tree was less uncomfortable, most likely due to its more familiar of settings and more plausible of plotlines.

Unfortunately, The Lie Tree wasn’t quite a five star read. I found it particularly difficult to get into the novel initially, and then difficult to pick it up once I’d put it down. The story itself was slow to start – the tree made only a brief appearance in the first third, and it took a distinct while for Faith’s father to die (a significant plot point for the rest of the novel).

Nevertheless, the book itself was a thrilling and well-written read that deserved its place on this year’s Carnegie shortlist.

Recommended for fans of:

  • The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
  • The Choking Peril by Hazel Townsend
  • Arsenic for Tea by Robin Stevens

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