A Face Like Glass

A Face Like GlassA Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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which speaks the truth
and which one lies?

That is the tagline on the other edition of this book. And I don’t believe one has ever been so appropriate and fitting before.

Thus it also becomes the perfect prelude to one of the most expert account of a girl with a face like glass venturing out into the underground city of Caverna, wherein lies an art and everyone’s an artist. And Everything is really something else in disguise.

Here babies are taught Faces, for unlike you and I, they don’t have expressions. And when you learn a thousand or perhaps two or maybe only a couple faces, yours becomes a world of lies and deceit.
It is the city of Courtiers and drudges, city of lies and faces, city of pleasure and distrust.

There were many who called the Court a jungle, and with good reason. It had a jungle’s lush and glittering beauty. The people who dwelt in it, in their turn, were not unlike jungle creatures. Some were like iridescent birds and long-tailed butterflies dripping with colour, lavish, selfish and beautiful. Others laboured tirelessly, diligent and unnoticed, like great ants bearing hulking burdens across the leafy floor. Then there were bush babies and lemurs, hugging branches, their bulging night-eyes missing nothing. There are many dangers in the jungle, but perhaps the greatest is forgetting that one is not the only hunter, and that one is probably not the largest.

Neverfell, the apprentice of a secluded Master Craftsman, has never been out in this world, beyond the cheese tunnels she’s been haunting for the last seven years, when she was discovered by Master Grandible, the Cheesemaker.

I can’t think straight. But why am I trying to do that anyway? Everybody else thinks straight. That’s why nobody expects me to think zigzag-hop. Which is what I do naturally.

Ergo, it’s only to be expected that she’s quite a bit mad. Then, the outside world of Caverna and her calculating playthings, the Cavernans, come about and help in molding this melody of a story that ever keeps changing its tune. It hops from frightening to heart-warming to shhh-shhh-ing and a motley collection of emotions, as though it’s donning on and discarding one Face after the next.

Reading A Face Like Glass is eating one of those bubblegums of Willy Wonka with a range of meals stuffed into it. Wholesome and long-lasting. The side effects differ a bit I’m afraid. You don’t turn into a human blueberry but you sure as hell become greedy and heart-burned.

It is one of the most original and complex(well, it was to me) stories I’ve come across. The premise was weird and fascinating and well-thought out to boot. The characters were vocal and colorful and lovable and inspiring, the plot was way to intriguing for this book to have only about two hundred ratings on GR. Read it, folks! It’s what all the cool kids are doing.

The plot and the story are actually like being suddenly dropped into a really freaky House of Mirror and all of these looking glasses show you the same thing but not before distorting it to their whims. Everywhere is the same thing, yet quite so different. Such is the atmosphere Frances Hardinge created.

But there is so much more! There is friendship and loyalty and mind-blowingness involved. It is sad and hopeful and like watching a butterfly fluttering against a gale and ultimately winning.

And it is so out of the norm and yet so homely.

It also reminds me this one line from a very awesome song:

Maybe if I fall asleep, I won’t breathe right.

And man, the prose! If it’d not been already obvious by my attempts to sneak in so many quotes in this review, so as to compose a review of teasers, I love, love it with the intensity that a heron loves her beak and historians love bones and gold-diggers love expensive bars and Rihanna should hate Chris Brown with.

Silver caterpillars of excitement writhed round each other in her stomach.

And it doesn’t even disgust me. I am fascinated.

Frances Hardinge writes these beautiful paragraphs employing such distinct and astute poetic devices and wonderful, creative, brilliant, elegant and lucid imagery. I am hysterical to the point of complete lunacy and incoherence and I’ve been driven insane by this book. I’d like dip to it in alcohol and squeeze every last word out of it and would very much do so had it not been for that picturesque cover. I make one fine raving lunatic, don’t I? But how can I not, when faced with this kind of pure, unadulterated awesomeness?

Here is a piece that falls between the chapters, like a coin between paving stones. It is a slice of silence in the middle of the melody. It is a rough and ragged spot, like the frill of stubs where pages have been torn out. There is no point looking for them. They are gone.

Never did I find one thing to quarrel about with this book. And really, the message hidden in the unfortunately creased pages of this book, even if there hadn’t been one[message], is extraordinary and nothing new but yet so…The subversiveness, along with symbolism, isn’t lost on me either. It’s all about corrupt politicians and us faceless drudges who don’t do shit and how our beloved city will one day topple as well. And that would be perfect for everyone.

Even though this book I’d recommend to everyone, my especial focus would be berating the people who sulk about, who have seen far too much grime or are just naturally despondent, these people who have forgotten the joys to be had in staring up at the ever-expanding, never-changing and momentary miracle of a sky. ‘Cause you’re in a prison and you don’t even know it.

Maybe that’s the worst kind of prison – not
knowing you’re in a prison. Because then you don’t fight to get out.



2 thoughts on “A Face Like Glass

  1. I am SO THRILLED that you love this book! I gave it 5 stars as well, and I nearly had a break down writing the review, because I just loved it so much.

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