Author: Frances Hardinge
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Summary: 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...
Review: Frances Hardinge has a talent for creating uniquely imaginative worlds for her characters to live in, and with Cuckoo Song she has done it again.
Set in a Victorian-esque time Triss finds that after an accident her memory isn’t quite right. In fact she isn’t quite right. There’s something wrong with her, and as she tries to find out what it is she is led into a dark and creepy world of unusual faerie creatures, with upside down towns and plenty of danger. These weren’t your typical faeries – there was something unpredictable about them, seeing so normal to start with but then becoming very creepy in seconds.
Hardinge’s beautifully descriptive writing style brought the story to life and made the characters feel so real. As Triss’s time to find out and fix what is wrong runs out I felt her growing anticipation and disappointment, and felt the danger she was in with a racing pulse. The mysterious events and occurrences in the story kept me wondering and guessing
My favourite part of the story was the connection between Triss and her suspicious and extremely adventurous little sister Pen. Pen was the only one who could see that Triss was different and she was determined to call out Triss on it and prove something was up. At first this created a lot of conflict between the two, but as they became more embroiled with the strange fairy creatures they soon realised they might be on the same side. What developed between them was truly heartwarming and the idea of family was a strong theme running through the story.
It didn’t quite match A Face like Glass (which I thought was pretty darn amazing) but Cuckoo Song is still an enchanting read and would be brilliant for a younger, middle grade audience.