The Lost Conspiracy The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a must-read for any fantasy readers who enjoy world-building, the kind where elements of landscape, culture, mythology, race, naming customs, burial rituals, and dress are not only key to understanding the characters but are also of vital importance to the plot. So many of these things start out feeling like atmospheric details, the kind that convince you that the author knows her world inside and out, but they end up turning into “ah-ha” moments where pieces of the puzzle slide into place, leaving the book more coherent and complex than you realized.

That’s all well and good, you say, but it isn’t enough without nuanced characters. And this book has plenty of them – characters you want to befriend, characters who creep you out, characters you pity for their faults and learn to love, characters never settle into stereotypes or roles.

It’s a chunker of a book, but the pace moves steadily but surely. Perhaps not the best for reluctant readers, but it’s chock-full of appeals for more confident readers. The kind who like long books, and spending time with characters. Readers who are drawn to the characters, who enjoy vivid landscapes, who love a well put together sentence, who like all the pieces of the plot to slide into place to make a satisfying whole. While I didn’t fall in love with the book as I read it, the world has remained strong in my mind and I would love to reread it someday.

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