Monday, 12 May 2014

Review: Cuckoo Song

Cuckoo Song

Publication Date:  May 8th 2014 
~A copy was provided by Macmillan Children's in exchange for an honest review~

The first things to shift were the doll's eyes, the beautiful grey-green glass eyes. Slowly they swivelled, until their gaze was resting on Triss's face. Then the tiny mouth moved, opened to speak.
'What are you doing here?' It was uttered in tones of outrage and surprise, and in a voice as cold and musical as the clinking of cups. 'Who do you think you are? This is my family.'
When Triss wakes up after an accident, she knows that something is very wrong. She is insatiably hungry; her sister seems scared of her and her parents whisper behind closed doors. She looks through her diary to try to remember, but the pages have been ripped out.

Soon Triss discovers that what happened to her is more strange and terrible than she could ever have imagined, and that she is quite literally not herself. In a quest find the truth she must travel into the terrifying Underbelly of the city to meet a twisted architect who has dark designs on her family - before it's too late...


This was one crazy ride my Cuckoo's.
By the synopsis you know it's going to be creepy, along with the creepy cover itself, and of course it's that kind of creepy that drew me in, because creepy is my thing. I'm going to be using creepy a lot.
The synopsis doesn't give much away- which is what made me love it. It's mysterious, it's creepy, it brought me to the book and the mystery kept me reading. I wasn't expecting it to be what it was about, maybe to others it might be pretty obvious, but I haven't read much about that, so on that front it was an interesting rendition to read.

Even though this is YA-MG and is about younger children, I wouldn't exactly say it was for Young Adult or even Middle Grade. I'd say in the way of Harry Potter, Cuckoo Song is for everyone. There's nothing in it that targets a certain audience, which is what I loved about it. There was no romance,  no love triangles, no vampires, no angels, no distractions.
There's a lot of things running through the Cuckoo Song, we have different relationship dynamics and at the heart of it's about a family that was pushed to a point of grief that they agreed to  a bargain without fully knowing what they were leading themselves in for. Cloaked in darkness and shadows, they make a deal with the Architect- whose very appropriately named, and is very important to the story. Even if you don't get to see that for a while, and you'll never guess the endgame. That's the thing too, I didn't guess. I was simply drawn into it, and I was waiting for that oh here we go, that was obvious, and it never happened, because nothing in this is what it seems. It's a constant mystery and guessing game.

The main relationship that you get to see though is between sisters, Triss and Pen. It's a complicated one, and as you get to see their new relationship blossom, you also get to see the past and at times quite a misguided twisted one, some of the things they do to get attention and try to outdo and hurt one another. But, it was nice to see how that changed- and yes, that's also complicated and has more  than what I can say because spoilers. You can tell it's not their fault though, and though it isn't all on the parents either, but they did inadvertently tally one against another in the wake of tragedy and because of that, they did also favour one over the other which started the whole thing.
While I thought the pacing was a little slow and did dwindle in the middle I can honestly say I wasn't bored at all, because the writing was simply beautiful and the atmosphere creepy (there we go again) and held this undertone of something's not right and urgency.

The Cuckoo Song spins an classic old tale that mixes folklore with hoodoo along with secrets and revenge, at the core love, family and friendship, there's something Frances Hardinge has woven into Cuckoo Song, that's lyrical and hypnotic.

Rating: 4/5