Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Book Review: The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge

The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication date: September 2009
ISBN: 0060880414

Source: Library

The Lost Conspiracy

Arilou and her sister Hathin have lived in their Lace village on the coast all their lives.  Arilou is hailed as one of the Lost, a person who can send their senses away from their bodies far into the world, without being seen.  But, the two are harboring a secret that they fear will be revealed.  When a Lost Inspector comes to test Arilou, they are drawn into a deadly plot that has them and the entire clan of Lace running for their lives.  Will they be able to uncover who is behind the sinister conspiracy before they all lose their lives?

Things I Liked:
This book is really hard to describe.  It is over 500 pages long and the story is really only a part of the whole.  The setting plays such a huge part in the lives of the characters and you begin to feel like it is a real place.  Filled with jungles and plains and volcanoes with personalities; it is so interesting to see how the different people, Lace and non-Lace, view their surroundings.  This book is much more than just a journey for Arilou and Hathin.  The descriptions of nearly everything are so beautifully crafted that they can almost distract you from everything else.  But, don't be distracted because the relationships and interactions of family, village, and stranger, all seem both remote and familiar.  There is so much to talk about from this that I can't seem to just focus on one thing.  It took me a while to read it (even though I was kind of rushing it for the 48 HBC), but it was really worth the effort to read it all.  A lovely book with something to offer everyone: adventure, beautiful writing, fascinating characters, twisty plot, and glorious setting.  Some lovelies from the book:

The cliff face itself was a labyrinth.  Over the centuries the creamy limestone had been hollowed and worn until it was a maze of tapering spires, peepholes and snub ridges like sleeping lions. p 4
Hathin felt sick and dizzy as the crowd surged forward.  She could talk to people, but this was Mob.  Mob wasn't people.  It took people and folded their faces like paper, leaving hard lines of anger and fear that didn't belong to them. p 319
There was always a clock on Prox's mantelpiece.  It broke up his time and served it to him once an hour in tiny silver pieces.  It was his only companion, and so he felt a sense of betrayal when, just after it had tinged its way through its four-o'clock greeting it juddered sideways and threw itself on the floor. p 520
Things I Didn't Like:
Really, the length is what held me back for a lot of the time.  I think it will be quite daunting to tweens and teens (it's recommended for grades 6-9).  Probably best for those who love a good, thick book.  It doesn't move slowly exactly, but it doesn't move quickly either. 

It felt a bit like The Farwalker's Quest and The Timekeeper's Moon by Joni Sensel

s-factor: none
(that I recall, there may have been a very few)

mrg-factor: none
(I'm pretty sure if there was, it was mild)

v-factor: ->->
there is violence and also a lot of intense situations, nothing gory

Overall rating: *****

What was one of the hardest books for you to write a review of - or to gather your thoughts about?

Posted as part of Tween Tuesday, hosted by GreenBeanTeenQueen.

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. The length has put me off from reading this one, but I keep hearing great things!

  2. Ah, the length. It's so slow to start, and so many kids will not read it, but it's so worth it in the end. Glad you liked it.

  3. It does seem long. Why do you think it's geared towards Tweens instead of Teens?

  4. GreenBean, yes it is very long and that can be a huge deterrent for kids and adults alike. Still, if you ever get the chance, it's worth the time.

    Melissa, so true.

    Alison, I assume it's because of the protagonists - they are younger in age and they experience things according to that age group. Mind you, it is recommended for grades 6-9 which is about 11-15 year olds, so teens are included. Length usually has little to do with what age group books are geared toward :)


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