A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge

Synopsis: 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 . . . 

Review: I had never heard of this novel until now and yet I realize that it is a re-issue of a book that came out a few years ago. When I discovered this book and especially this unique blurb, it is true that I was immediately intrigued by the story.

I must say from the outset that I was amazed by the author’s ideas. It is very difficult to find different and unique stories these days and that is why it is all more striking when we find one that renders in this box. A Face Like Glass was a real surprise for me! As I moved slowly through the chapters, I could only be surprised by the author’s universe. Yes, I think you have understood, the created world really took me away!

Neverfell is not a girl like the others, her face expresses all her thoughts in an instant without her being able to control them. In a world where people have no expressions unless they learn them, only the wealthiest manage to pay the price and learn new ones. But Neverfell is different, so much so that the man who picked her up when she was younger forced her to live as a recluse and hides her face from all without giving her any explanation. Yet the girl dreams of discovering Caverna, of evolving with other characters and of living another life of what she knows. Her dreams will completely change her life. By doing so, Neverfell will have to face the reality of this universe so different from what she knew, where deception, murder, conspiracy and manipulation are wagering. While all her feelings are showing on her face, others will not hesitate to make her believe that they want to help her while they all want something from her.

I will not say more but I had a great time with this story. The ideas are really worth discovering them and it’s really very interesting to have such a book. I did not know Fraces Hardinge but I am now very curious to discover her other novels. It was a beautiful discovery that I recommend to those who want renewal. It is really interesting to discover Neverfell, to see her full of enthusiasm for a whole world she does not really know but to finally see that there can also be a great number of disappointments and that they are sometimes very hard to accept.




27 thoughts on “A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge

  1. C’est un univers qui donne vraiment envie comme tu disais c’est vraiment rare d’avoir une histoire aussi unique.
    Dommage cependant que que je ne lis pas en VO
    Merci de la découverte.
    Bonne journée.

  2. This book popped up on my radar a few days ago, but I hadn’t read any reviews for it. I am glad to see you enjoyed it; it’s hard to find something new and fresh in this saturated market.

    Nice review!

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