Friday, August 18, 2017

THE LIE TREE BY FRANCES HARDINGE - BOOK REVIEW

Well, this book was not what I thought it would be. Instead of being a young adult contemporary with magical realism elements, it was actually a middle-grade historical fiction with a dash of magic that could maybe be explained by science. Maybe it's my fault for not doing enough research on it, but from the synopsis, there was nothing to suggest this.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge.

The story follows 14-year-old Faith, the daughter of a respectable family and reverend-turned-natural-scientist. After her father's disgrace and falsification of fossils found, the family flees to an island off the coast of England, hoping to escape the rumors. Faith struggles with conforming to the life of a proper lady when all she wants to do is help her father with his discoveries. When her father is found dead, Faith is sure it wasn't a suicide, but that he was murdered. She sets out to find his killer and finish the research he was doing on the tree that grows with lies.

I think I almost immediately got off on the wrong foot with this book. I am perfectly fine with a MG historical fiction, but I have to be prepared for it. If I had gone into this book knowing what it was, I would have enjoyed it more. I just felt caught off guard and had such expectations as to what it was supposed to be that I was disappointed that wasn't how it turned out.

Beyond that, the story was a little random to me. I'm still not really too sure what was going on most of the time. There was talk of Faith's father's death in the synopsis, so you would expect him to either a) already be dead or b) die within the first like three chapters. Nope, he hung on for a good long while. And the whole time I felt like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I knew he was going to die, but no one in the book did. It was a weird feeling.

The rest of the story also felt a disjointed to me. I think there was a bit too much going on to really make the story the best it could be. There was the prim and proper English society expectations, the science elements, the magical aspects, and to top it all off, lies and deceit and murder. There was a lot. I think that if things had just been narrowed down a little bit, the story would have been better.

I will say that the writing of the book was probably the best aspect. The story is told in third-person, so there isn't really a connection to Faith, the main character that is followed. But, at the same time, I think Hardinge did a good job of not making it sound like we were reading a MG novel, something I really appreciated. The writing style pretty much got me through the book. If it had been different, I would have DNF'd this book a long time before the ending. I just don't think that the writing was able to save this book.

I seem to be the black sheep of this book, most of the other reviews I've read are all 4-5 stars. I guess it just worked better for others than it did me. I can definitely see potential with this author, but I think personally, this one was a miss for me.

Overall, it held my interest enough for me not to DNF it, but I was close a few too many times.