My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A long time ago I promised myself I would read more Frances Hardinge. I had come across her work beforehand in the rather lovely short story compilation Under My Hat, and been beguiled by her writing. Hardinge is not in my comfort zone as a reader; I stay away from fantasy sometimes, but sometimes comfort zones need to be challenged and writing that is as good as this needs to be embraced and really rather selfishly and indulgently and brilliantly loved.
For it is good, and Hardinge is good, and this dark and wild and intoxicating book is deliciously good.
Faith and her family have moved to the island of Vane; and there is no spoiler to be told, when I tell you that there is a death. Faith investigates this and comes upon The Lie Tree. It is a tree that feeds off lies and secrets, on darkness and on untruth, and when it has been fed enough, it produces fruit that will tell you a truth.
The addictive quality of truth. Of lies. I am knotted about this book, because it is so very good and yet I don’t quite know how to tell you about it. I almost want to spill the truth to you, to give you the quote that make my spine tingle and the glorious proclamations of selfhood that make my heart sing and my fist ball, but are they spoilers? Yes and no and maybe – here. We shall do this book this way. I shall give you definitive truths about The Lie Tree and we shall see what happens with that.
Hardinge is furiously unique; furiously, indelibly so and that is spectacular to read.
The Lie Tree is addictive, in that way that makes my heart sing at how good books can be.
Language here is a layered dance of weapons and of truth and falsehood and it is good.
Faith is wonderful; lost, brave, foolish, mad, joyful, exasperating, perfect. Hardinge gets how truly complex a female character can and should be, and how delicious and how honest that complexity is.
Life is a scar sometimes that will not heal until it is ready to do so. Hardinge gets that.
The Lie Tree is a dense, layered, mesmeric, beguiling read. It is intoxicating and powerful and it is a spell to be cast.