The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge (Review)



Kindle Price: $9.68

Official Rating: 5/5


In this deliciously creepy novel by the author of the critically acclaimed Cuckoo Song, the fruit of a magical tree uncovers dangerous truths.

It was not enough. All knowledge- any knowledge – called to Faith, and there was a delicious, poisonous pleasure in stealing it unseen.

Faith has a thirst for science and secrets that the rigid confines of her class cannot supress. And so it is that she discovers her disgraced father’s journals, filled with the scribbled notes and theories of a man driven close to madness. Tales of a strange tree which, when told a lie, will uncover a truth: the greater the lie, the greater the truth revealed to the liar. Faith’s search for the tree leads her into great danger – for where lies seduce, truths shatter…

My Review:

I neither condone nor enjoy dabbling in lying. I take honesty very seriously. But is it okay to lie when you are searching for the truth?

Say hello to Faith Sunderly, a young woman, around 15, who must answer that questions. She is stuck in a time where women are believed to not have the mental capacity to be clever. A time when Faith is mistakenly taught that it is wrong, unGodly even, for her to be interested in science and things that were deemed only appropriate for men. And yet, Faith is incredibly interested and I loved her completely and entirely. It didn’t take long for her to cease being a character and become a real person with emotional reactions. I was constantly impressed with how clever Faith was and her amazing intuition, often I was a step behind her as hints and clues were being revealed. After she finds the Lie Tree, she begins to contribute to develop into a character with depth that I have only rarely seen. Faith is a remarkable character and I am thoroughly pleased with her.

The rest of the characters were just as amazing. Every scowl, every scream, every smile is described carefully to construct the kind of person that Hardinge wanted them to be. Not a single one had the purpose of pushing the plot along and all of them became frighteningly real to me.

The plot is full but isn’t overwhelming. It is obvious that Hardinge took great care in what they wanted to include and what they did not. I found no faults in the novel, whatsoever, and, deliciously, there was no romance. “Delicious?” You say. “Why ‘delicious,’ you love reading romance?” Oh I most definitely do, but I loved that Faith had no time for something as currently trivial as romance at that point in time. She did bond with some people, but it was not with the purpose of creating a sticky web of giggling and infatuation.

The pace is slow. You are almost halfway through the entire book before the Lie Tree is even mentioned and farther still before it is completely introduced, but the pace was necessary. The magical mystery of The Lie Tree would have burst into pitiful flames had not Hardinge completely and thoroughly explored Faith, her father, mother, brother, uncle, and the community around her. Hardinge quickly turned what I was expecting to be a mild story about a girl who finds a cute tree that feeds on lies into a novel heavy with suspense, mystery, and sudden plot twists.

Would I Recommend The Lie Tree? Without a doubt, yes. It was all I could do to not gasp too loudly and startle the people around me when new information was introduced. I was enthralled with the writing expertise of Hardinge with which she grew a plot thicker and darker than tar. Excellent novel.
I received this novel for free via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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