The Lie Tree
by Frances Hardinge
YA Fantasy, Historical Fiction
The leaves were cold and slightly clammy. There was no mistaking them. She had seen their likeness painstakingly sketched in her father’s journal. This was his greatest secret, his treasure and his undoing. The Tree of Lies. Now it was hers, and the journey he had never finished stretched out before her.
When Faith’s father is found dead under mysterious circumstances, she is determined to untangle the truth from the lies. Searching through his belongings for clues, she discovers a strange tree. A tree that feeds off whispered lies and bears fruit that reveals hidden secrets.
But as Faith’s untruths spiral out of control, she discovers that where lies seduce, truths shatter…
This book has honestly been on my TBR for the longest time – and I’m so glad the Clear Ur Shit readathon has finally forced myself to get around to this. Earlier this year I read Frances Hardinge for the first time – Deeplight, and I really loved that book. But this one unfortunately disappointed me, despite the immense hype and good things I had only ever heard from it.
The Lie Tree is definitely a fascinating and unique story. I love Hardinge as a writer, she definitely has such a way with words and this is reflected in this novel. It follows the Victorian story of Faith as she vows to discover the secrets and truths of the Lie Tree after her father has been mysteriously murdered – a mythical tree that apparently, if fed lies, will grow fruit that bears you the secrets of others.
This had quite the hooking presence, but unfortunately the story didn’t grab me at all. I thought it would have been one of those novels with a slow start and I would get into the story at a later point, but I was so disheartened throughout. I just didn’t find myself caring for Faith or any of the other characters. I loved the feminist take woven through this story and how Hardinge did a great job of subverting well known gender roles, but unfortunately this was not a hit for me. I found it quite dull and I didn’t really feel any joy reading it.
However, I do have another Hardinge novel in my TBR pile, so I’m definitely going to give her another go. She definitely has beautiful writing, but for me this story just didn’t grab my attention/care in any way at all.