Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge

Cuckoo Song


Cuckoo Song appears on the album The Platinum Collection

I'm finding it difficult to review Cuckoo Song because it's about so many things, but Hardinge manages to arrange them beautifully and give you a perfect package of twisted family life, magic, grief, and love.

So today I had a long train journey -- four to five hours. I loaded Cuckoo Song onto my reader before I left, and had it finished before I even reached halfway. It's a compulsive read without naked demands for attention; the tension is, for the most part, in uneasiness and anxiety, in a nagging feeling that things aren't right. It's done incredibly well, to my mind. Mild spoilers lie ahead!

The Cuckoo Song - Poetry Foundation

  • Kiera Parrott says:

    I just finished Cuckoo Song–fantastic! But…that cover. It’s not that I don’t like it. For kids who like horror and thrillers (I was that kid), it will pull them in for sure. But for kids who like fantasy (and I’d argue that this book leans more toward fantasy, albeit creepy/slightly scary fantasy, than it does typical horror), they may not pick it up. And that’s a shame. Because the world-building and construction of the Underbelly and various magical aspects are so well done. And it’s definitely middle grade! Certainly tons of teens will want to and should read it, but it’s middle grade in the same way Coraline and The Night Gardener are middle grade. If I’m remembering correctly, the protagonist is 11, right? In that case, the cover model for the UK edition looks a bit too old. Bah! Despite the odd cover choice, it’s one of my recent favorite reads.

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      I thought the same thing about the UK cover. She looks like she’s 17 there, when clearly she’s still a kid. Reading the book I tried to pick up on anything that could be overtly YA. Aside from the writing, which is stellar and beautiful, the only mature thing about it is the brief reference to the baby changeling. And even that’s pretty tame. Would love to have been a fly on a wall when they decided over here to make it teen.

  • The Cuckoo Song Related Poem Content Details

    "The spins an classic old tale that mixes folklore with hoodoo along with secrets and revenge, at the core love, family and friendship, there's something Frances Hardinge has woven into Cuckoo Song, that's lyrical and hypnotic." ~ Kirsty-Marie Jones,

    , author of the award-winning novels Fly-by-Night, Twilight Robbery and A Face Like Glass, puts an imaginative spin on the well-worn tales of changelings in her new YA novel Cuckoo Song.