Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Book review - A Face Like Glass

Title: A Face Like Glass
Author: Frances Hardinge
Genre: fantasy
Similar books: Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
                      City of Masks by Mary Hoffman
pleasant if a bit long

Summary (provided by publisher): In the underground city of Caverna, the world’s most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare—wines that remove memories, cheeses that make you hallucinate, and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer, even as they slit your throat. On the surface, the people of Caverna seem ordinary, except for one thing: their faces are as blank as untouched snow. Expressions must be learned, and only the famous Facesmiths can teach a person to express (or fake) joy, despair, or fear—at a steep price. Into this dark and distrustful world comes Neverfell, a girl with no memory of her past and a face so terrifying to those around her that she must wear a mask at all times. Neverfell's expressions are as varied and dynamic as those of the most skilled Facesmiths, except hers are entirely genuine. And that makes her very dangerous indeed . . .

My opinion: The world of this novel is a particularly inventive, complex one. Hardinge has done an amazing job with the world-building. We are presented with myriad cultural rules and a complex political situation. Toss in a strange girl completely unprepared to navigate any of it, a pawn in a game she can't begin to understand, and its a recipe for a fascinating read. All of this world-building, though, means that the pacing is on the slow side, a situation compounded by the complexity of the characters. It must move slowly for the reader to follow the plot, but this can feel like it is dragging. It's a book that takes a fair amount of dedication.

More Information: A Face Like Glass releases May 9.
Adanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley.

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