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Cuckoo Song Paperback – Unabridged, May 8, 2014

12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

It's a compulsive read without naked demands for attention; the tension is, for the most part, in uneasiness and anxiety, in a nagging feeling that things aren't right. It's done incredibly well, to my mind. breathesbooks.wordpress.com This story is really clean, but outstandingly creepy, and I'm completely entranced by the world that Hardinge created... The writing- oh my goodness, the writing is superb. There are deeper themes than just that of a girl trying to find herself: the effects of war on a societal level as well as personal; the depths of cruelty people can be capable of in the name of vengeance; autonomy; forgiveness; love. I'm not eloquent enough to say how amazing I think this book is and I can't recommend it highly enough! NetGalley The most original mid-fantasy I have read in a long time... a little book bundle of literary magic. tessburton.wordpress.com Hardinge brings sophistication and literariness to children's fiction whilst never skimping on the entertainment and satisfaction quotient. dancingonglass11.blogspot.co.uk I love this book so much I tried to savour it like I do with sweets! thesweetreview.wordpress.com This melange of the historical and fantastical in Hardinge's gloriously rich metaphor-laden style is unlikely to be to every child's taste-but it's probably too good for them anyway. NetGalley This book is a work of art. Every sentence is an elegant, perfectly constructed gem thewhisperingofthepages.blogspot.co.uk A strange tale of fantastical beings, strange occurrences, buried secrets and ultimately, family relationships of all shapes and sizes under-mountain.blogspot.co.uk Frances Hardinge, author of the award-winning novels Fly-by-Night, Twilight Robbery and A Face Like Glass, puts an imaginative spin on the well-worn tales of changelings in her new YA novel Cuckoo Song. telegraph.co.uk It's magical, menacing stuff theguardian.com This multi-layered fantastical novel is one to curl up with and savour. I can't recommend it highly enough. Guardian The sense of identity that Frances creates in all of her characters, whether minor or major, makes real, tangible, interesting personalities that are a genuine joy to spend time with. -- Frances Hardinge Interview with Holdfast holdfasrmagazine.com 'All was perhaps. Nothing was certain. And that, that was wonderful.' I am opening this review with Cuckoo Song's closing words because there is a wonderfulness about them, an intrinsic quality to those words that at once show the excellence of the book at a sentence level and also perfectly encapsulate the thematic core of the novel: its heart and soul, if you will... a supremely well-written novel thebooksmugglers.com Cuckoo Song is a deeply moving, multi layered book about finding oneself, where magic and the aftermath of World War I walk hand in hand. blurbarians.blogspot.co.uk An irresistible novel, which I absolutely adored. Not many authors can conjure such an utterly brilliant modern fairytale. theguardian.com With its creepy undertones, authentic backdrop and arresting storyline, Cuckoo Song is the ideal book to get teenagers reading ... and thinking. lep.co.uk Cuckoo Song was a wonderful, sad and chilling book that I couldn't put down. booksandenchantment.blogspot.co.uk Strange, creepy and wonderfully written ... a magical read that's about as unique as you can get! throughthegateway.blogspot.com A beautifully-written and captivating novel. -- Katherine Woodfine booktrust.org.uk

About the Author

Frances Hardinge spent a large part of her childhood in a huge old house that inspired her to write strange stories from an early age. She read English at Oxford University, then got a job at a software company. However, a few years later a persistent friend finally managed to bully Frances into sending a few chapters of FLY BY NIGHT, her first children's novel, to a publisher. Macmillan made her an immediate offer. The book went on to publish to huge critical acclaim and win the Branford Boase First Novel Award. Cuckoo Song is Frances's sixth novel.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books; Main Market Ed. edition (May 8, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330519735
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330519731
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,144,039 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By meltingdew on May 20, 2014
Format: Paperback
I'm a fan of Hardinge's books, and ordered his one specially. When it arrived, I wasn't feeling in the mood for much, including reading. However, I sat down and opened it on a whim and . . .

Came up for air hours later.

Wow. Just wow. Now that's good writing.

Pros:

-- One of Hardinge's great strengths is subverting expectations. I don't know what I expected from the book, but it wasn't what I got. And that's wonderful.

-- The writing. Tone, tension, characterization -- it was all there. It felt totally believable but, again, was for the most part not predictable. I did get a little familiarity from some other authors (the relationship with the sister reminded me a little of Diana Wynne Jones's writing . . . which is a massive compliment, btw), but the originality was all Hardinge's. As above, she took old concepts and made them new but not so strange that the reader couldn't understand them. It never slowed or dragged and there was genuine mystery and tension. I honesty did not know if the protagonist would survive.

-- Basically, almost everything.

Cons:

-- The ending. It wasn't terrible, but it could have been a lot better. In fact, I know *exactly* how it could have been perfect, and it seemed like she was leading to that ending, and then she instead make the ending needlessly [spoiler] when there was a very obvious solution. *headdesk.*

-- The cover completely misrepresents the book it almost every possible way. Also, the title feels lazy and crowbarred in.

Overall: the ending wasn't enough for me to knock this down a star because of the strengths of the rest of the book. I would recommend this to anyone who likes smart, easy-to-read, creative fantasy.
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**Originally posted on Goodreads July 30, 2014**

I'll admit, I was kind of afraid to read this. I'm not one for scary stories and it's classified under horror! But I'm so glad I put on my big girl panties and dove in. It's not at all terrifying or horrifying or anything like that. It's AMAZING as all Hardinge's stories are. I never should have doubted.

I'd read somewhere that this was kind of Pinocchio story, and I guess I see where that reviewer was coming from, but I don't really view it like that at all. It's a changeling story, told from the changeling's point of view. And it's wonderful. Ms. Hardinge's imagination never fails to impress, but she might have outdone herself this time. This book is right up there with my all time favorite of hers: A Face Like Glass. She didn't invent a whole new world this time, but fit one in and around 1920s England. The 'Besider' world and characters have all the marvelous wonder and weirdness I've come to expect from my favorite author.

The family, their problems and love, and well-off roaring-twenties setting -- all feel quite real. I think telling this from Trista's point of view was just absolute genius and I'm sorry the book is over.

I'm now at the end of all the Hardinge books I have to read and I will commence with being terribly impatient for whatever she writes next.
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By Filtex77 on December 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I started this book without expectations and I was completely blown away from the beginning. What first impressed me is that this is quite nicely written. The language is appropriate to the story and to the audience. The second thing to impress me is how seamlessly the author led me away from the safe, everyday life of an ill girl who accidentally fell into a pond into a topsy-turvy, psychadelic one, inhabited by other creatures. I never hesitated for a second. No suspension of disbelief was necessary, I was completely in thrall.

Triss is a sickly 11-year old girl. So when she wakes up after having fallen into a pond and cannot quite remember everything, no one is particularly worried. Least of all herself. Her little sister Pen though is worse than worried, she's belligerent. When Triss notices that dolls move and speak and that she has a ravenous, uncontrollable hunger, she herself becomes worried. Something isn't right. In fact, a lot of things are very, very wrong.

I LOVED this book. I rate less than 10% of the books I read 5 stars as I've done this one. If you enjoy fantasy/horror you are likely to like this. Highly recommended! A rare gem indeed.
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By Shannon Phillips on August 29, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Frances Hardinge is my favorite YA author writing today, and Cuckoo Song is up there with her best. (Verdigris Deep would probably still be my very favorite, but Cuckoo Song is close.)

In broad strokes, it's the story of a changeling in a 1920's-era London suburb (I think; I'm American so the geography is a little unclear to me). But the way Hardinge frames and styles the story renders it fresh and unpredictable: the fairies are called Besiders, and they are both vaguely familiar and utterly strange at the same time.

The main character and her entire family are wonderfully, vividly characterized and the slow, quiet, evolving relationships among them are the true heart of the story.
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Triss is a sickly 11-year old girl. She wakes up after having fallen into the Grimmer and cannot remember everything. At first she doesn;t remember her parents or who she is - but then her memory starts to return, but she is doing some strange things. At first, her parents aren't particularly worried. Her little sister Pen though is worse than worried, she's belligerent. Then Triss notices that dolls move and speak and that she has a ravenous, uncontrollable hunger, and she herself becomes worried. Something isn't right. In fact, a lot of things are very, very wrong.
This is a changeling story
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