Cuckoo Song - YA Review by Rayna Grace C

Reader: Rayna Grace C.
Age: 16
Title: Cuckoo Song
Author: Frances Hardinge
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pub Date: 05/12/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: If this book was 200 pages shorter, I would be able to finish it. Every other aspect of this book is fantastic (with the exception of a few minor blunders) but the useless description throughout the entire book drags it down so much as to make it barely readable.  I have made it through about two-thirds of the novel, but it has taken me a month of serious dedication to do so. I am sorry, but no one needs a 15-candy description of a window in a strange candy store— after about three candies, it is understood that candy is displayed in the window. No one cares how the trees swayed like dancers under the autumn sun when Triss was out for a walk; unless the description allows the reader to understand a character more clearly, is vital to the plot, or provides necessary thematic symbolism, it is not needed. No matter how beautiful the details, if they are irrelevant they must be removed for a book to hold any reader’s attention. Please, I am begging everyone involved in the creation of this book, hack this thing up. The erroneous details and explanation must be removed if anyone-- not just teens-- will truly enjoy this book.
Memorable or Forgettable: If the description was not an issue, I would have remembered this book as a wonderful novel with a refreshing new take on changelings. Although I think that the story would have been more captivating if the main character was not the exception to the rule in the feelings/bloodthirst department, I still really like the book’s overall theme about fate vs. free will and the power of acceptance in friendships. The characters were strange, yet comforting in their blatantly imperfect and gently endearing mannerisms, from Penny’s exhausting curiosity/rebellious nature to The Shrike’s calm and dangerous wild-card persona. The slow incorporation of history into the story was happily peculiar, too, but the overly analytic descriptions made the roaring twenties setting seem dull and pretentious.  For example, the scene in the speakeasy that lasted 10 minutes for the characters but took millennia to explain on paper. Even though the metaphors were almost lyrical, they were too drawn out and crowded  by other details in the book. I’m sorry, I am back on the ‘too many details’ tangent. I just cannot stand to see this book waste so much potential because of too much content. All in all, I will remember this book because some serious chopping needs to happen before it will reach anywhere near its full potential.
Cover: The cover is creepy and surprisingly relatable to the story. I think it fits the book pretty well, but it isn't the most enchanting cover I have ever seen. 9/10
Age Range: 14 through 18 and up
Quality: 3Q Readable
Popularity: 3P Some teen appeal

tags:  fantasy / changelings / ya lit

No comments: