The Lie Tree, Frances Hardinge Book Review

Hello Humans! Tis I, back with another book review. Today I’m excited to share with you my thoughts on Frances Hardinge’s The Lie Tree which I’ve had on my TBR for a while. I actually picked up my copy at YALC back in July but it took me this long to get round to it. Is anyone else feeling like there are way more new releases at the end of this year than they expected? Just me? Ah well…

Goodreads Summary:

Faith Sunderly leads a double life. To most people, she is reliable, dull, trustworthy – a proper young lady who knows her place as inferior to men. But inside, Faith is full of questions and curiosity, and she cannot resist mysteries: an unattended envelope, an unlocked door. She knows secrets no one suspects her of knowing. She knows that her family moved to the close-knit island of Vane because her famous scientist father was fleeing a reputation-destroying scandal. And she knows, when her father is discovered dead shortly thereafter, that he was murdered.

In pursuit of justice and revenge, Faith hunts through her father’s possessions and discovers a strange tree. The tree bears fruit only when she whispers a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, delivers a hidden truth. The tree might hold the key to her father’s murder – or it may lure the murderer directly to Faith herself.

This book was delightfully macabre. Throughout the text there’s just this sense of gloom and grit that pervades everything. Even thinking about it I’m imagining all kinds of dark colours. It appeals hugely to the gothic lover in me. This was my first ever Frances Hardinge novel and if all of her books are this evocative I have lots of things to look forward to.

So let’s talk about Faith, she was basically everything I wanted from this kind of heroine. She’s aware of her place in society so none of her ballsy actions feel unbelieveable, but at the same time she’s willing to twist the rules and bend the system to her own benefit.  I saw a lot of myself in Faith, while I don’t think I’m anywhere near as brave as she is in the book, I think on the whole she is a well rounded character.

This reads a lot like a murder mystery with a heavy fantasy element, which is no problem for me. I was raised on Miss Marple, Poirot and Jonathan Creek so adding fantasy to that is absolutely perfect. Unlike The Beautiful Ones however, it doesn’t feel as though this was fantasy for fantasy’s sake. It feels well thought out and plot relevant. The idea of The Lie Tree was at the same time perverse and also tempting, you can understand as a reader why these characters are drawn to it.

I know I’m not the first to discover this book so I expect most readers will have already devoured it. On the off chance that you haven’t – this is a deliciously dark adventure written with the utmost skill. Give it a go if you have the time!

My rating: 4/5 stars

All opinions are my own.

What say you? Are you planning on reading The Lie Tree? Let me know in the comments below!


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