The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge made a little bit of history recently. It was the first children’s book to win the overall Costa prize since Philip Pullman did it with The Amber Spyglass in 2001. I knew we had a copy in the house – it was on my older daughter’s bookshelf, waiting to be read. So I crept in and swiped it.
It really is a cracking yarn. Frances Hardinge tells a gripping and quite scary story. She gives us a gothic island setting and, in fourteen year old Faith, a brilliantly conflicted central character to root for, fight with and sometimes excuse. The writer toys with with expectations and plays with stereotypes, skirting melodrama by continually confounding us with new character revelations.
I especially loved the use of language in this book and Hardinge really is the Queen of Simile. Here’s one of my favourites: “She could almost see thoughts squirming behind his placid face, like worms in a bun.”
Delicious! I’ll be going back for more.