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409 pages, Paperback
First published May 8, 2014
Something bad happened here, something that should never have taken place.
I've changed my mind. I don't want to remember.
“And let me tell you - from one monster to another - that just because somebody tells you you’re a monster, it doesn’t mean you are.”I don’t like the label of “young” literature because of associations that it brings to me — cute, twee, simplistic, inferior to “adult books”. What Frances Hardinge writes is different. Her books are best appreciated by adults - sharp, sophisticated, unresistibly interesting, starkly original - and will appeal to a sophisticated younger reader (as a matter of fact, should be gifted to them as good reading taste should be cultivated early) as well. But this is very much an adult book.
“Suddenly the world was full of secrets, and she could feel them in her stomach like knots.”
“With a deep despair Not-Triss realized that he was a good man, and that good men sometimes did terrible things.”
‘Oh no, of course I couldn’t possibly understand you.’ Violet’s shadowed face seemed to be wearing a grim and serious smile. ‘I know, you woke up one day and found out that you couldn’t be the person you remembered being, the little girl everybody expected you to be. You just weren’t her any more, and there was nothing you could do about it. So your family decided you were a monster and turned on you.’ Violet sighed, staring out into the darkness. ‘Believe me, I do understand that. And let me tell you – from one monster to another – that just because somebody tells you you’re a monster, it doesn’t mean you are.’
“But scissors are really intended for one job alone - snipping things in two. Dividing by force. Everything on one side or the other, and nothing in between.”
“What’s a little maiming and treachery between friends?”
“All was perhaps. Nothing was certain.
And that, that was wonderful.”
”Mummy, help me, please help me, everything’s strange and nothing’s right, and my mind feels as if it’s made up of pieces and some of them are missing…”The story is about a family who, suffering from a terrible grief, make a deal with the devil- the Architect. As they try to nurse their ailing daughter back to health after an accident that left her different, things start to unravel, and no force of will can put things right again. Triss has no memory of what happened to her, but she knows there are pieces of her memory that are no longer there, and as she’s convincing herself that she just needs time, she picks up her favorite childhood doll… and the doll starts screaming. Things go from bad to worse as Triss tries harder and harder to be the same girl she was before her accident, but when she learns the truth about what happened she knows she can never go back.
And she laughed, knowing that with every risk, every corner they took at speed, the necklace could be broken, its beads spilled and lost in the gutter. All was perhaps. Nothing was certain.
And that, that was wonderful.
Triss has always been ill, it seems, suffering from a string of fevers and other symptoms. But one day she wakes up with the conviction that something is far more wrong than usual. Her parents’ and younger sister’s reactions confirm her suspicions. But what could be different? She feels like the same Triss as always -- doesn’t she? As Triss tries to solve the mystery of herself, she also discovers some deep secrets that threaten to destroy her family. Can she fix herself -- and her family -- before everything falls apart?I absolutely loved this book! From the opening line to the close, the action and writing just grabbed me and pulled me along, barely aware that I was reading -- it felt as if I was living this story right along with Triss. My only objections were a few too many “like” and “as if” constructions, which occasionally did kick me out of my immersion in the story. Otherwise, I was one with Triss and her frightening, emotional journey.
It was not like looking at a map. The hills made Ellchester appear crumpled, lights nestling in dark folds like glowworms in the crags of a tree stump. The river was ink, jeweled by the tiny hurricane lamps of occasional boats. A few squares and streets flared with electric light, the whiteness like an ache. The dark outline of the new rail station cut a triangle out of the sky.