Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge Review

Title: A Face Like Glass
Author: Frances Hardinge
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

Frances Hardinge won my heart earlier this year when I read her book, The Lie Tree. So as soon as I was finished with it, I sought out her work. I was visiting one of the other libraries I go to, and I saw A Face Like Glass sitting on a shelf. I immediately took it home; when I finally got to it in my library stack, I was so excited. The cover was breathtaking and mysterious, and I was entranced by the image of a mysteriously grinning mask. But what really was wonderful was the story that lie inside; a fantastical, food-laden mystery rife with political intrigue, self-realization, secrets, dangerous objects that can affect anything from your perception to your memories, and people who cannot form their own facial expressions; I was captivated by the dangerous, mysterious world of Caverna, and the girl at the center of it, Neverfell, who must hide her face behind a mask. Her expressions are entirely true and genuine, and in Caverna, that makes her a most vital and dangerous asset indeed…

This book was wonderful! I was totally entranced by the worldbuilding, and by Neverfell, the girl who was found sleeping in the walls of a cheesemaker’s home. Caverna was a frightening, seductive place where Faces were crafted, wines created to forget memories, and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer, even as he moves to slit your throat. The prose was beautiful, the pacing breakneck, and soon, I was frantically flipping pages, desperate to find out what would happen to Neverfell as she digs into her past, trying to figure out where she came from and why exactly she’s so different. A Face Like Glass was filled with political intrigue, self-realization (I loved Neverfell’s character development!), dangerous secrets and alliances, and frightening, clandestine designs for power. The format was unusual and exciting, and I really enjoyed it! It was a delightful, weird fantasy that explored timeless themes of self-reliance and self-expression, and I really loved Neverfell, a strange, delightfully inquisitive child who just wants to know more about the outside world. Other characters are a standout as well: the intriguing, mysterious Kleptomancer, a thief who delights in boggling the authorities with his seemingly impossible heists; and the various Face-makers who populate Caverna, and the family who takes Neverfell under their wing, for dark reasons of their own. Yet another wonderful, exciting book filled with layers thoughout, Frances Hardinge has penned another home run of a novel! A Face Like Glass is my favorite novel I’ve read from her thus far! The bottom line: A gorgeous, beautiful novel that highlights one na├»ve, sheltered girl’s coming of age, I loved A Face Like Glass—it’s one of the best of Frances Hardinge’s novels! Next on deck: One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake!

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