Lost Conspiracy, The

Frances Hardinge
On an island of sandy beaches, dense jungles, and slumbering volcanoes, colonists seek to apply archaic laws to a new land, bounty hunters stalk the living for the ashes of their funerary pyres, and a smiling tribe is despised by all as traitorous murderers. It is here, in the midst of ancient tensions and new calamity, that two sisters are caught in adeadly web of deceits.Arilou is proclaimed a beautiful prophetess—one of the island's precious oracles: a Lost. Hathin, her junior, is her nearly invisible attendant. But neither Arilou nor Hathin is exactly what she seems, and they live a lie that is carefully constructed and jealously guarded.When the sisters are unknowingly drawn into a sinister, island-wide conspiracy, quiet, unobtrusive Hathin must journey beyond all she has ever known of her world—and of herself—in a desperate attempt to save them both. As the stakes mount and falsehoods unravel, she discovers that the only thing more dangerous than the secret she hides is the truth she must uncover.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2015-04-09

"My" (or rather my sister's) copy is called Gullstruck Island. As you can see from the rating, I loved this book. You'll find the real review on Booklikes.

Reviewed: 2015-04-07
I'm loving this. Because of the setting and audience, it's natural to think of [b:Nation|2855034|Nation|Terry Pratchett|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1214575271s/2855034.jpg|34491]. I love books where characters are trying to think their way out of their difficulties, and Hathin definitely is.

I agonized a bit about attaching the "autism" label, because there isn't anything explicit in the text. But Arilou's bahavior, as viewed by Hathin, sounds familiar, especially the flapping hands. Likewise, although the story is set generations after the colonials arrive, we're given some of the first-contact back story of the island.

Unless the whole thing falls apart suddenly, I'm expecting it to be one of my best reads of the year. Hardinge isn't as funny as Pratchett (especially not in this one), but like him she's writing about tragedy with a very light and empathetic hand. She allows her characters a chance to feel their grief, but she also gives them moments of hilarity. Unlike some much-lauded books I read as a child, it's not all grim death and misery. Sort of like [b:The Amber Spyglass|18122|The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, #3)|Philip Pullman|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1255886034s/18122.jpg|1774510] without the romance or philosophy.

It continued awesome. Read it now.

[I would have thought that the popularity of British YA titles would make publishers reluctant to change. Why is this Gullstruck Island in the UK and The Lost Conspiracy in the US? I keep thinking there's more Hardinge goodness to read and then becoming sad. Oh, well, perhaps she'll live and write for a very long time. :]
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