Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Book Review: The Lie Tree

Why Did I Pick It Up: I was given this book by Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review. These opinions are all my own. 

Summary: Faith is 14 years old in the early 1900s. She is curious girl who gets herself into trouble because she cannot stand not knowing something. Faith’s father is a preacher and a scientist … he moves their family to a small island to avoid a terrible rumor. However, their family is in for more trouble than they know when there is no money, a murder, and a mysterious tree that might be very dangerous indeed.  
Genre: Victorian Murder Mystery … but it’s also fantasy 
Favorite Character: the tree itself is my favorite
Suggested Age Range: 6th grade +
Diversity Represented: None
Romance: Not really, other people have romances, no main characters though
The Good: In a world of books that are so much like everything else I’ve already read, this book is refreshingly unique. Faith does remind me a lot of Olivia from “The Cure for Dreaming” because she wants more from life than a woman in that time period can dare to ask for.
Faith is fearless and is willing to bear the consequences of her actions if it means she will be able to figure stuff out. She also better knows what she wants to do with her life than I do (and I’m an adult … with a career). To thine own self be true should be Faith’s mantra because she rocks at living it. Not only that, but Faith is smart. She weaves a seriously great plan (which goes off without a hitch) that is detailed and shows that she has a great understanding for human nature. This is part of the reason I had a hard time with Faith’s age, but more on that below.
Who do we trust? I love not knowing who is going to make a mess of things. It was a great mystery throughout the story because I felt with every page turn that someone was going to jump out and say “I’M THE BAD GUY.”
Finally, I loved the whole part with the tree. Mysterious tree that Faith is so brave to explore. Practical Paul tries to make her afraid, but Faith has the scientists eye and needs to run her expleriments. It was really a great via GIPHY

The Bad: I feel like this book contains a lot of “worldliness” that make it for an older audience, but the main character is only fourteen, so that makes me think it was intended for a 6th grade+ audience. If Faith was seventeen the book would feel more natural. Instead, I felt like I had to constantly remind myself that Faith was only 14 because her life seemed at odds with that fact. She is too wise beyond her years, she understands human nature so well, she is so manipulative and maniacal, she knows what she wants out of life – this all makes her seems much older.
At the beginning Faith talks a lot to herself. In fact, I actually thought she might be insane for the beginning third of the book. Voices in her head tell her to do terrible things (like go through her father’s papers). However, suddenly that is gone and is never really explained. It made Faith interesting and I would have liked to have seen it continue throughout the book. She actually says, “I want to be a bad example.” Where did that girl go?
Sometimes the “historical” information felt a little “heavy handed.” For example, when explaining that being left-handed was “evil” I felt like I was hit over the head with it – when I could have just interfered it from the text.
The Bitter Truth: This book was really fun to read. It was different and the whole thing was kind of delightful. The issue with Faith’s age is easily overlooked (or, just not accepted, in my mind Faith is just older) because she is awesome no matter what her age is. This is a great read for someone who is teetering between children’s and YA books. It is mature enough to be YA, but without some of the more mature topics that come with the genre.
How Much Did I Like it? ****
Book Bingo: none

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