Cuckoo Song - Frances Hardinge

Genre: Fantasy/Young Adult/Dark Fiction 
Synopsis: When Triss wakes up after an accident, she knows that something is very wrong. She is insatiably hungry; her sister seems scared of her and her parents whisper behind closed doors. She looks through her diary to try to remember, but the pages have been ripped out. 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...


Review: Having read and loved Fly By Night by the same author, I quickly picked this up in the hopes of a similarly awesome reading experience. It was definitely awesome, but in a completely different way. I almost never would have guessed that both books were by the same author, except that the same knack for gorgeous detail and credibility permeates this story as did in Fly By Night.

This is a YA fantasy novel, a little darker than many young adult novels and a little more realistic than many fantasy novels. And both of these attributes are precisely what I loved about it. Hardinge has an amazing ability to take elements that are not uncommon to stories in the genres she writes, but she spins them into such wonderfully original arrangements and genuinely compelling tales that, along with her stunning prose, they become an absolute pleasure to read. Additionally, this novel features the humanization of a 'monster', the story being largely told from her perspective, which makes it a rare treat in any of the several genres it spans. This is just one of the many layers that give a real sense of depth to the novel.

As with Fly By Night, this is a long book with a lot of detail, so there are moments where it seems to drag a little, but even though there were things I usually do not like in fantasy (fairy-type-folk, primarily), I still adored the way Hardinge wrote pretty much every character in this novel. I loved the story, I loved pretty much everything about it. I did knock off one star, as I did with Fly By Night, for the aforementioned dragging, but honestly if dark YA fairy stories are your thing, this is not to be missed.

Rating: 4/5

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