ARC Review: The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

Title: The Lie Tree
Author: Frances Hardinge
Series: N/A
Pages: 384
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: April 19th 2016

*I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, which does not influence my review*

      “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 only bears fruit 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.”

swirl (2)

Frances Hardinge’s The Lie Tree is the story of one girl’s quest to find her place in the world during a time when female ambition is stifled. Fourteen-year-old Faith Sunderly knows that being too clever or too curious is discouraged for any girl, but she can’t help the myriad of questions in her head that are always begging to be answered. When her father whisks his family away to the small Vane Island under the guise of joining an important excavation, Faith knows there’s more to the story. But her curiosity leads her to secrets about her family that makes her question everything she’s ever known. When she stumbles upon the Lie Tree, it’s strange properties are too much for Faith to resist, and she’s determined to use it to solve her father’s murder.

The Lie Tree starts off rather slow as it set the stage for Faith to begin her journey as her father ends his. Faith is young and is often forced to hold her tongue and suppress her need for more. Her father and mother either do not see her potential or have chosen to ignore what their daughter has to offer. It was difficult to relate to any character beside Faith as most scoff at the idea of a female accomplishing anything greater than an advantages marriage. It became very easy for Faith to investigate her father’s murder and fabricate stories without anyone noticing because everyone is prone to overlook her, but I hoped she would have gained more allies. She does develop a tentative friendship with the young Paul Clay, but both are so wary of the other that this relationship never fully blossoms. The most interesting aspect of the novel was the Mendacity Tree. It’s ability to show the consumer of its fruit the truth comes with a caveat. In order for the tree to grow, Faith must concocted a lie large enough for the entire island to believe, but lies have a life of their own and there are consequences to Faith’s actions. Still, Faith believes that her tie to the tree is an extension of her connection with her father and while everyone is ready to let him go, she is not.

Frances Hardinge’s novel is very well-written, but I would have liked to have learned more about the tree at the center of its story. Its protagonist is more likely to appeal to middle grade fans than young adult, but her story of belonging is universal.

Rating: 3/5

★★★

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4 thoughts on “ARC Review: The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

  1. I’m glad you clarified the premise because from the synopsis, I thought Faith only had to lie to the tree to receive a truth. But, it sounds like she had to invent a lie in real life in order for the Mendacity Tree to bear fruits. Lies are like wildfire is it not? It sounds like an interesting concept that could have been developed further. Did anyone’s nose grow? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Did you read her book Cuckoo Song last year? How does it compare? I thought it was pretty good but not actually a favorite of mine. The writing was solid though. I haven’t purchased this book, deciding to read a public library copy for which I am in line.

    Liked by 1 person

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