Just finished The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge. It took me a bit to really get into it, but once I did I wasn’t disappointed. It was really quite good. The plot was perfectly paced so that I was never drug through tedious explanations and yet never felt like the story was rushed. I figured out a few of the “mysteries” before the characters did, but that didn’t make me enjoy their fulfillment less. There were times when I felt some characters weren’t quite as fleshed out as I would have liked, but then I started to get the feeling that that was deliberate- it gave the correct amount of haziness and intrigue. all around, a very good young adult novel.
I kept having this feeling that aspects of the story felt familiar to me, but couldn’t put my finger on it. Then I read the acknowledgments at the end and realized that Hardinge did a lot of her research in New Zealand, where I lived for a little while. She even thanks some of the volcanoes I’ve been to see and acknowledges a beloved Maori myth as one of her inspirations. I wouldn’t say that the knowledge of those kinds of things made me enjoy the book more, but they certainly didn’t hurt! I think, more than anything, that feeling of familiarity gave the book a particular voice that I connected with- something rare, yet important, in a work of fantasy.
4.5 out of 5 stars