Book Review | The Lie Tree by Frances Hardringe

23592175“It was not enough. All knowledge- any knowledge – called to Faith, and there was a delicious, poisonous pleasure in stealing it unseen.”

Faith has a thirst for science and secrets that the rigid confines of her gender cannot suppress. After her father is found dead – and, Faith deduces, murdered – she goes through his journals and discovers a man close to madness. The Lie Tree is what he was working with, and Faith decides to look after it – by feeding it lies. But she’s not the only one, and very, very soon, her life is in danger.  

I really, really enjoyed this book. The Lie Tree was totally not what I expected: it was so much better.

It was scary, it was thrilling, it was brilliant magical realism, with a strong female MC, feminism, archaeology and science, and a great mystery. I was intending to read this book in two halves (as it was, uh, due back at the library that day…) but I ended up just reading this in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down!

The first half of the book was, admittedly, a little slower. I knew that Faith’s father was going to be murdered (it said on the back of the book) so I was just waiting… and waiting… and waiting for it to happen. There was a huge drawback, and that was quite a big drawback of the novel.

Eventually, of course, it did, and from then on it got a lot better. The pace immediately picked up, and the interactions with the other characters started to almost always matter to the course of the plot rather than just being filler as the rest of the plot began to play out. There were a lot of difference characters, and I liked the hinted-at lesbian relationship. I don’t think some readers might’ve picked it up, but it was a really sweet little add-on, and I liked that Hardringe put it in.

The premise is really interesting: The Lie Tree reveals truths to you if you feed it lies that people believe. As I was reading, I was wondering what type of lies I would tell (which is perhaps a good discussion for a reading group or a school!) because it’s a really interesting question of morals but also, I guess, intelligence. I liked seeing Faith carrying out the lies she told to the tree.

Faith was a really interesting main character. Arguably, using the lie tree in itself is questionable: surely if you tell a lie which you have to then spiral into a truth, then your morals may be considered questionable. However, she does it to find out the truth of what happened to her father. So… what type of person does that make Faith? She’s also really clever, so I really admired her. She’s a great character; morally questionable, yet sweet and kind.

The ending was absolutely brilliant, but I won’t say much more. I will say: it was unexpected!

Overall, I did really enjoy this book. It was a brilliant MG/YA read (I’m not sure where I would class it, but I think it would be good for a mature MG reader and any YA reader), and I would highly recommend it if you enjoy a little fear, badass heroines, and magical realism.

TITLE: The Lie Tree
AUTHOR: Frances Hardringe
GENRE: MG/YA Magical realism
PUBLISHER//YEAR OF PUBLICATION: Macmillan’s Children’s Books // 2015
ISBN: 9781447264101
PERSONAL SOURCE: Borrowed from Library

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