BOOK REVIEW: Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge

The Blurb (from Goodreads):

The first things to shift were the doll's eyes, the beautiful grey-green glass eyes. Slowly they swivelled, until their gaze was resting on Triss's face. Then the tiny mouth moved, opened to speak. 'Who do you think you are? This is my family.'

When Triss wakes up after an accident, she knows that something is very wrong. She is insatiably hungry; she keeps waking up with leaves in her hair, and her sister seems terrified of her. When it all gets too much and she starts to cry, her tears are like cobwebs...

Soon Triss discovers that what happened to her is more strange and terrible than she could ever have imagined, and that she is quite literally not herself. In a quest find the truth she must travel into the terrifying Underbelly of the city to meet a twisted architect who has dark designs on her family - before it's too late...

My Thoughts:

Frances Hardinge is my favourite writer for children in the world. Her books are so clever, so imaginative, so powerful and so fresh. I wish I could write like her. She reminds me of all the great fantasy writers of the past – Diana Wynne Jones, Joan Aiken, Susan Cooper, Alan Garner, Lucy Boston. I am wary of writing a plot precis of this wonderful book, because it doesn’t give you any true idea of just how marvellously eerie and magical this book is.

In brief, Triss wakes up one morning feeling strange. She’s been sick, her mother tells her. But that doesn’t explain the strange gaps in her memory, the strange things that happen around her, or why her little sister is frightened of her. Slowly Triss comes to realise there is something very wrong …

The plot is fabulously twisty and full of surprises, the characters are complex and alive, and Frances Hardinge’s writing is just marvellous. Children’s fantasy at its absolute best!


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Kate Forsyth
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