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Review: The Lietree - Frances Hardinge

Genre: Middlegrade Published: Pan Macmillan, may 2015 My Rating: 3/5 stars

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.

I was a little disappointed in this one. I really enjoyed Frances Hardinges writing style and the premise of this book intrigued me, not to mention this book has rave reviews galore. However, it was mostly the first half that tempered my enjoyment, as I found this book very slow to start.

Frances Hardinge is clearly a good worldbuilder (in the fantasy sense) and it felt like that was what she was doing in the first half. However; she was building "the real world", that was already so familiar to me that I felt it was unnecessary and slowed down the story waaaay to much. I had to really push myself through the first 180 pages, and considering this book was shelved as a middle grade: 13 yo kids would probably DNF.

I could really appreciate the messages this book send, about feminism in a time where this was not the norm and about this girl discovering her own morality. However; I could not quit agree with the popular opinion that this book was "deeply original". The idea of the Lie Tree felt very biblical and lets face it, this book was written in 2015: feminism was not a new concept in literature anymore.

I did enjoy myself during the second half of the book, and I can appreciate the skill of writing that Frances Hardinge shows in this book. I will definitely pick up more of her work. This one was just not my favorite.

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