On the jungle island of Gullstruck in The Lost Conspiracy, by Frances Hardinge, the people have revered and relied on prophets known as the Lost. Possessing the ability to separate their senses from their body, the Lost can see, hear, feel, and smell things hundreds of miles away. The villages are separated by massive volcanoes, so these prophets fly their senses to distant settlements to relay news. In the village of Lace, a young girl named Arilou is the only remaining Lost, taken care of by her sister Hathin. However, the close knit people guard a secret: Arilou has never communicated with them, always seeming to be far away in her own world.
When inspectors come to test her, Hathin desperately finds ways to convince them of Arilou’s abilities. Suddenly- disaster! All around the island, the Lost are found dead, except Arilou. With their livelihoods in danger, everyone turns on the Lace, destroying their village and sending the survivors fleeing. After all, the only Lost spared was that of the Lace. Now wanted fugitives, Hathin and Arilou must untangle the conspiracy entrapping their people. Traversing the haunting jungles and sacred volcanoes, the sisters and a troop of revenge seekers work to uncover the conspiracy surrounding them all.
As you have probably guessed from the title, The Lost Conspiracy is a mystery novel, which requires a slow, deliberate read to fully understand. A lot of pages are spent contemplating clues and foreshadowing. It has a fair share of action mixed in, to keep the pace moving along. A curious aspect of this book is the dilemma Hathin faces. How can she uphold the village’s pride and treasure when Arilou cannot even communicate?
Throughout the story, Hathin is constantly caring for her sister, yet losing hope as Arilou continues to be unresponsive and distant. However, what most makes The Lost Conspiracy memorable is the unique concept of the Lost. Could we imagine being able to travel anywhere in the world, unburdened by physical needs? Pick up this thrilling mystery, and satisfy your inner detective!
-Phillip X., 8th grade