Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge

Do you ever go into a book thinking it is one thing only to find it is something completely different? With this one, I was always on my toes!

On the island nation of Gullstruck, native peoples and the descendents of an invading race have attempted to live in peace for hundreds of years. They are assisted in this by the Lost, special people who can send their senses, separately or together, out of their bodies and communicate across vast distances. This is a world that is both familiar and strange....

When the Lost agents come to Hathin's village, she knows that her whole world is about to change. Her sister Arilou is a Lost, the only Lost among the Lace (the native people), and a Lost who can only communicate through her sister. But the village holds a secret; Arilou might not be a Lost and Hathin can't really communicate with her but gives her own messages from watching the weather and body language. And then the Lost agent dies during the test....

Hardinge has created a beautiful, vibrant, complex world full of the most interesting people. For me, the characters, all of them, are what made this story. They were so real, so heartbreaking, so believable. There were people to love, people to hate, and people who defied explanation.

And the just kept unfolding and changing. Just when I thought I had figured out what had happened to the Lost and where the story was going next, something would happen and change everything.

Hathin was amazing. Really this is her story--a story about how she rose above her station as her sister's keeper, how she discovered who she is and what her world really is, how she changed and how she changed her world.

For the fantasy lovers out there, this is the book. If you loved Dune, if you loved Nation, if you just love a really good complex story, read The Lost Conspiracy.


Patti said...

I am so looking forward to reading this book!

Jenn H. said...

I hope you enjoy it. The Ashwalker gave me nightmares.

Charlotte said...

This really is a brilliant book. It's one of the few "middle grade" fantasies I'd recommend to adult readers--the plot is so complex and the characters so fascinating that I think it would sustain the interest of just about any fantasy reader.

Patti said...


So how did y'all feel about Hathin realizing the volcanoes were just volcanoes right at the end? It kind of jarred me. Was I reading too much into it?

Loved the book, but I feel like it needs a re-read to really get everything that was in there.

Jenn H. said...

Definitely needs a re-read.

Hmmm, I didn't think about the volcano thing. It did seem a little abrupt. I'll pay attention to that next reading.

Glad you liked it. I nominated it for Lone Star.

Kim Aippersbach said...

I just finished this book and I loved it! So complex, so rich, and Hathin--wow, I just loved her.

That moment at the end when Therrot and Prox "sat and watched the Gripping Bird dancing from cliff to cliff" brought tears to my eyes.

@Patti: I didn't read the end that way at all; I thought the volcanoes were proved to be as sentient as the Lace always thought. Interesting how we interpreted it so differently!