Winner of the Costa Book of the Year 2015
The Lie Tree is a wonderfully evocative and atmospheric story by Frances Hardinge, award-winning author of Cuckoo Song and Fly by Night.
Faith's father has been found dead under mysterious circumstances, and as she is searching through his belongings for clues she discovers a strange tree. The tree grows healthy and bears fruit only if you whisper a lie to it. The fruit of the tree, when eaten, will deliver a hidden truth to the person who consumes it. The bigger the lie, the more people who believe it, the bigger the truth that is uncovered.
The girl realizes that she is good at lying and that the tree might hold the key to her father's murder, so she begins to spread untruths far and wide across her small island community. But as her tales spiral out of control, she discovers that where lies seduce, truths shatter....
©2016 Frances Hardinge (P)2016 Macmillan Digital Audio
Great from start to finish - compelling opening, substantial middle and satisfying conclusion. Did not enjoy the wise man voice, totally unnecessary to do an impersonation like that. Loved the story. Really enjoyed the level of detail.
"It grows next to the Tedium Bush…"
You know that feeling you get when you click on a link on the internet and then you get the dreaded circle of death going interminably round and round and round …… Well this is the feeling I got when listening to this story. I had a strong sense that there was a good idea amongst all the ponderous detail but getting to it felt like trying to pluck a prawn from a lobster shell. Faith is a young repressed Victorian woman investigating the death of her secretive clergyman/naturalist father. Was it murder or was it suicide? To be honest I didn’t really care. He was such a monumentally horrible man, that if I were Faith I would find it hard to wipe the grin off my face after hearing of his demise.
For the most part Emilia Fox read this ludicrous tale with reasonable enthusiasm, but why on earth did she give little Howard such a horrible ickle cutesy wootsy voice? My teeth still hurt thinking about it and I will fastidiously avoid books containing children in the immediate future.
"Good story, mediocre writing, annoying reader"
Most: The idea of a tree that feeds on lies and reveals truth is quite interesting but I had to listen through something like 10 hours of boring dross before our protagonist has anything to do with the lie tree at all.
Least: Since the name of the wind, I've felt starved for a scintillating story and beautiful writing. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the lie tree is neither of these things. There were some similes I found so irritating that I almost sent it back, E.G. something something 'unfolded like flowers... or knives'..... neither of these things unfold. Also, I feel that 'apocalyptic thoroughness' when applied to a tough conversation with one's dad is ham-fisted to say the least.
I really don't get why it won an award, but then I guess the award was from Costa Coffee. Perhaps this is the lie and there's a tree somewhere growing a nice juicy grape.
The writing just leaves me with questions. Beyond one fond childhood memory of fossil hunting on the beach, why does this girl love her father so much? The two things she's quite certain of are that she's clever and she likes fossils, so why doesn't she hate her father who believes she's just a burdensome uneducated plonker because she's a girl?
Perhaps I'd have felt quite differently about this book had the narrator not sounded like she was performing the novel to a group of frightened children around a campfire in the middle of the night on Halloween.
No. Please no.
"Different but enjoyable"
It had to happen - I am now taking recommendations from my 10 years old! She's also an avid Brandon Sanderson fan, so I trusted her and took a punt and downloaded the Lie Tree.
Not what I was expecting, but comfortably enjoyable. Although somewhat predictable, and it did take a while to get going, it's well written, and an unusual story in many respects. The storyline I found most enjoyable was not the Lie Tree plot, rather it was the references to women, and how they weren't really seen / visible in learned society back then. Naturally our heroine doesn't behave as she's expected to, and that's what makes her likable.
It has some dark moments, (but apparently not as dark as some of Frances Hardinge's other works - according to my daughter), but there's also a good moral victory in the end.
It made a change to my usual fare, so glad I listened to it.
"Stunning thriller full of twists and turns"
I'd recommend this novel to anyone who likes a page-turning thriller with more than a touch of the supernatural! Terrific young heroine whose desire to follow her adored father into fossil hunting and natural science lead her through an incredible adventure. Loads of twists and turns - I'd never have guessed the ending - and all set in a slightly creepy very Victorian background.
"Interesting concept, let down by patchy execution"
The basic concept of a Lie Tree was OK, but the writing was lazy and repetitive (people kept doing things 'reflexively' and, if they were holding on, you can bet it would be 'for grim death') and the sexism of the time was conveyed with all the subtlety of a rhino trying to tap dance. Shame the editor didn't do a better job of pruning back the overkill and sharpening up the writing.
"Slow burn, but magnificent!"
it took 4 or 5 attempted starts for this book to catch my attention. but persevere i did, and what a story! there are triangles within triangles, juxtapositions, unexpected angles, and all painted in grey and deep blue and black. its a bit like a Hitchcock film turned into literature. i withheld 1 star because it was so hard to get started otherwise it would be a 5star book
"What a book !!!"
Excellent from start to finish, a very well written story brilliantly read by Emilia Fox. This was the first Frances Hardinge book I have listened to, but now I'm definitely a fan and have already downloaded a couple of her other books to my kindle. A good read for any age.
"a dissappointment for me"
The set is way too long, it'sabout a hundred pages before anything happens to really drive the story. Unfortunately the characters aren't likable enough to justify this. Faith is a plucky ambitious young girl (as are all Hardinges heroines) but lacks her own identity, try Mosca Mye in Fly by night or Neverfell in A face like glass for two great characters.
I'm afraid I gave up on the audio halfway through and having read the last couple of chapters of the book im glad I did. I'm sorry as I love all of Frances Hardinges other books, they are literary and character driven, I just felt that this one seemed to want to describe everything in every detail,
I seem to be in a minority, and I would like to praise the author for incorporating big ideas into her books, in fact they are all about ideas, this one Evolution, Fly by Night religious (and other) tyranny, A face like glass, Identity, I think.
No i'll read all of Ms Hardinges books, they all have their own life.
Yes and I cannot fault the performance she is an excellent narrator.
A two or three part drama would serve the story better than a movie I think.
I used to only write positive reviews before, but having bought a few duds that I wish I had been warned about I think an honest review is best good or bad. I don't think good books should be criticised while rubbish gets a free pass out of politeness.
Not saying that this book is bad it's just not for me. If others love it that's good.
"Secrets and Lies"
The mysterious death of her father, and the exact reasons for their sudden departure from Kent, lead a young girl to many discoveries, not least the fact that Victorian England is not yet ready to accept that women can be equal to, or even better than men.
Her relationship with her father was a lie, even her discovery of a fossil when she was only a little girl turns out to be a lie. Are there any truths in her life? Can her own skillful lies and the mysterious Lie Tree help her to discover the murderer of her father? Can her family survive the eventual truth? Will she realise that despite her disapproval, her mother will do whatever it takes to secure the future of ALL of her children?
While reading this novel, I realised again that I would never have survived in a time when women were nothing more than home makers. A thrilling YA novel for all ages, which kept me turning pages late into the night.
"Entertaining and Magical"
‘The boat moved with nauseous, relentless rhythm, like someone chewing on a rotten tooth.’
This sentence sets the atmosphere for this book with a family on ship going to Vane a fictitious island. Faith at fourteen does not know why they are going but is determined to find out. Her parents exclude her from adult conversation so she eavesdrops and reads private papers.
She adores her father who is distant and standoffish. He is famous for his discovery of the Nephilim Fossil.
Frances Hardinge won the Costa adult and child prize for this work. It is well written giving a magical feel through the descriptive text. Its Victorian Gothic with Faith wishing to follow her father and become a historian. However in 1868 women were seen and not heard. In fact the local doctor is telling everyone how women have inferior intellect to men as they have smaller heads!
Faith had a hunger for knowledge and learning. She despairs of her mother for what she views her use of her womanly ways to entrap men. As the novel progresses Faith can see more of her mother’s strength and determination to secure best outcomes for her family.
This story is in part a murder whodunnit. Equally it explores how lies leave everyone tangled, women’s role and limitations in society, the development of Faith’s character since her father’s death.
I really enjoyed this one and would recommend.
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