After the awesomeness that was Cuckoo Song, I was fully expecting to love The Lie Tree. I did not. I hyped myself up, and set myself up for disappointment. Not bitter disappointment. More a general listless deflated feeling. Woe is me.
The story is interesting and the writing is good. Hardinge is definitely still bucking for that Queen of Metaphor title (for good or ill this time), and the characters are all delightfully horrid. There are reflections on Victorian feminism and classism and Darwinism vs Creationism and plenty of other food for thought. And at the core of the plot is a decent murder mystery with a supernatural element, which is usually right up my alley. So why am I deflated?
This . . . book . . . is . . . so . . . sloooooooooooooow.
A third of the book goes by before the death alluded to in the description finally happens. Even then it takes a few chapters for the pace to pick up and the interesting stuff to start. By now we’re at the 150-page mark in a 410-page book, and it still plods in places. Taking all the pros and cons together, it was just okay and it bored me into putting it down several times. My current win/loss record with Frances Hardinge books is 1:1. I’ve got more in the bookcase, so hopefully my record improves.