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Kids Fiction 2165
Outstanding mystery set in an engrossing world
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Hathin and her entire village have a secret.  Hathins sister Arilou is considered by outsiders to be a Lost, or someone who can disconnect their senses from their body and send those senses all over the island of Gullstruck.  The Lost are highly valued, since without them news cannot travel over the huge volcanoes that are located on the island.  Without the exchange of news, all commerce and trade would stop and the island would slowly die.  The villagers have built an entire community around keeping those outsiders from discovering that Arilou isnt a Lost, but simply an imbecile.  The safety of their village depends on this trickery, since Hathins people are Lace and Lace are despised in all of the non-Lace towns.  As long as everyone believes Arilou is Lost, outsiders wont harm her or her village.  Hathins only duty in the village is to care for Arilou and make sure she does nothing to give away the secret.

When Raglan Skein, a Lost inspector, and his assistant Minchard Prox come to Hathins village to test Arilous abilities, the entire village plans for how to deceive them.  One of these deceptions goes horribly awry and Mr. Prox goes missing at sea.  When Inspector Skein and every other Lost on the island except Arilou suddenly die, Hathins village is blamed for the deaths.  The Lace village is caught up in a conspiracy that engulfs the entire island, including towns, villages, tribes, and even the volcanoes themselves.  Hathin and Arilou travel the length of the island with their new compatriots, revengers known as the Reckoning, trying to clear their names and find out who really killed the Lost.  The answer is far more than they ever bargained for, and trying to right the wrongs that have been done will take everything Hathin has.

Hardinge, author of Fly by Night and Well Witched, has created an incredible world of magic, superstition, and treachery.  This world is so detailed, and Hardinges descriptions of the island and its people are so intricate that readers will feel as though they are on the island of Gullstruck themselves.  Hathin is a wonderfully complex young girl who struggles with the decisions that she must make and how they will affect her people and the island as a whole.  I highly recommend this book for fans of Hardinges previous works, as well as anyone in search of an engrossing tale of fantasy.

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