This is the first Frances Hardinge
novel I've ever read and let me just say that I will absolutely read another one. Cuckoo Song
was so refreshingly different and pleasantly weird. This is not your standard cookie cutter children's novel.
I'm not even sure how to summarize this without giving anything away. Basically, you have the mystery of why Triss isn't herself, her sister Pen hating her, and her parents keeping secrets. Plus, there are all sorts of weirdness going on that I can't even begin to describe. You also have quite a mix of characters such as Triss, her sister Pen, their parents, Violet and several strange characters — Mr. Grace, the Strike, the Architect and the Besiders. And, this story takes place in the early 1920s.Frances Hardgine is both a great storyteller and a great writer.
I love her use of language and her characterization. There were times when I read something and thought Wow, I wish I could write like that.
She sounds like an experienced, polished writer.
Two of her characters, Triss and Pen, had wonderful character arcs.
I wasn't expecting their relationship to change the way that it did. It was so easy to like Triss and to want her to succeed. At the beginning, I hated Pen, but my feelings towards her did a complete 180 by the time I got to the end. Their parents have some real issues. No wonder the kids are so screwed up! When Violet was introduced, I underestimated her importance. She’s actually very important to the plot.
If you love children’s fiction or you’re looking for something different, give this one a try.