Critique | The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

3.5 Teacups

26118377**I received an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

First thing I’m confused about: this book is out already. You can get the ebook on amazon. I’m assuming that the hardcover and/or paperback is what is being released in May?

I really don’t know where to start with this book. The first third of the book (literally) was incredibly difficult to get through because nothing happened. A major plot point in the novel was the death of Faith’s father whom was very much alive for much of the aforementioned first third of the book. All the beginning did was make me hate just about everyone we met; her father was cold and chauvinistic, her mother was flimsy, and the townspeople were jerks. The book takes place in the mid-to-late 1800s, when women are expected to be seen more than heard. This is extremely frustrating for Faith as she is quite clever and has an adoration for natural science that is unacceptable for a young lady. As a result, she is told an excessive of times over the course of the book that should be doing this or cannot do that because she’s a girl. The feminism in this book felt a tad too heavy handed for my liking (and yes, I understand this is common for that era. I just didn’t need to be reminded of it so often).

The story picks up when her father’s death finally occurs (yes finally, because at that point nothing has happened) and things start to get a little more interesting. I found the idea of the lie tree intriguing; it sustains itself on lies, and the more people believe it, the bigger the fruit the tree bears and the truth it reveals. The thing that was disappointing with this though, was that none of the “truths” Faith uncovered were jaw-dropping, and what kept me reading was how Faith chose to deceive the people of Vane, and see how her lies festered and grew. Whenever she would row out to where the tree was kept, I was like, “Oh yeah. She has to go do this now. Yay…” I also do not understand what the purpose of Paul Clay was exactly; he was supposed to be her one ally on the island and then we barely saw him until the last few chapters. To top it all off, at the end of the novel, it felt like Faith was trying to show interest in him after giving neither him nor us as readers any indication that she didn’t completely hate him.

The reason why this book got 3.5 teacups is because like I said, I enjoyed seeing how clever she could be to uncover the mystery behind her father’s death. It was also interesting to see how aptly named she was. Faith’s unwavering faith in her father and his work was the driving force behind her actions and solving his murder. The actual uncovering of everything was uneventful and the ending was abrupt. It left a lot of questions answered with no hint to any sort of sequel.

Would I recommend this book? Perhaps, if historical fiction with a little mystery/fantasy thrown in is your thing.

3 thoughts on “Critique | The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

  1. thesassygeek says:

    You’re right, we definitely agree with every point we each made in our reviews haha. You nailed when you said you hated all of the characters I did as well because they WERE all jerks. The lie tree was basically the best part as well. I love how you mentioned when Faith had to row her boat out every time to the tree because it got described in detail every single time! That got boring. Awesome review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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