Pages: 576 Copyright: 2009
The Lost Conspiracy is set on an island in a fantasy world in which certain people are born with the ability to send their five senses far away from their body, making them vital members of society as sources of news, warnings, and communication. These people are called the Lost. The story centers on Hathin, a young girl from a race that is distrusted and disliked by all their neighbors due to historical events. Hathin’s older sister Arilou’s status as a Lost is vital support for their struggling tribe. Hathin’s family has a secret, though: they’re not sure if Arilou is really Lost, or if she’s just mentally ill. All Lost are disconnected, childlike, and uncommunicative before they master their powers and learn to bring their senses back to their bodies, but Arilou has passed the age at which most show signs of improvement. Hathin is charged with caring for Arilou and working to keep up the charade. But when all the Lost on the island are suddenly found dead, leaving Arilou ostensibly the last one alive, the island’s hatred for Hathin’s people intensifies, and tragedy ensues, forcing her on a quest to uncover the mysteries behind the events and change the course of history, while meeting a variety of allies, and enemies, along the way.
The Lost Conspiracy is an amazing book. I think I remember it took a little while to get into, because the world is so complex you have to gradually grasp it all. But it was worth the mental output. The writing style was kind of unusual, which I liked. It was very artistic and visual, sort of like an ancient fable. The whole thing has an air of old wisdom about it, and a lot of well-done images of scenery. And the plot was so elaborate, the kind of thing where it starts out with so many threads, you don’t see how they could all possibly end up pulling together, but they do.
Another great thing about The Lost Conspiracy was its messages; the most central one being that hatred and revenge are always cyclical and futile. There were lots of well-rounded characters who all had their own intricacies and parts to play. Frances Hardinge seems like a very smart person. My overall impression of this book is that it’s a truly impressive work of literature— it deserves to be a classic. It’s a very ambitious story that was very successfully executed. I definitely recommend it.