Ever read one of those books, that from the first sentence you know you'll be gripped, entranced, in love with the book, the story, the characters? Well this is one of those books!
A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge and I loved it. It was a relief and a refreshing breath to read a book that has a proper story, has a huge amount of little stories, a great setting, an amazing set of characters, Hardinge gives it all. About half way through this book I was thinking about how to review it and I've decided one of the best ways to tell you how good it is, is to tell you what books it's similar to. If you loved the Inkheart trilogy, this book is for you, Harry Potter, this book is for you, His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass, The Amber Spyglass etc), this book is for you, The Chronicles of Narnia, again this book is for you. A Face Like Glass has that quality of writing that should make it a childrens, young adult, adult classic. It's set in a beautiful dangerous, strange and magical. A magic, multi-layered, elegant rich novel that anyone would enjoy slowly savouring and exploring.
The Bookbag summed it up perfectly 'This is the kind of book which makes you slow down as you reach the final pages because you don't want it to end'.
Hardinge's characters are complex and her setting even more so. Caverna is a underground city full of magic craftsmen, who make wine that makes you forget, cheeses that show you the future, and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer, even while they slit your throat. Caverna's politics with these masterful craftsmen is full of intrigue, assassinations, back stabbing and uneasy alliances, and into this unruly unpredictable mix falls a orphaned girl, Neverfell who wears her emotions on her face. This is a fearful sight for the people of Caverna who are born with blank faces and who have to learn expressions, meaning they can lie smoothly to your face while they wear a understanding truthful Face. In a place where it is impossible to tell who is lying Neverfell provides an innocent naive pawn that can be shuffled back and forth in chess moves of a great complex scale.
It draws you in. You twist your mind into new shapes. You start to understand Caverna…and you fall in love with her. Imagine the most beautiful woman in the world, but with tunnels as her long, tangled, snake-like hair. Her skin is dappled in trap-lantern gold and velvety black, like a tropical frog. Her eyes are cavern lagoons, bottomless and full of hunger. When she smiles, she has diamonds and sapphires for teeth, thousands of them, needle-thin.’
‘But that sounds like a monster!’
‘She is. Caverna is terrifying. This is love, not liking. You fear her, but she is all you can think about.’”
I read a few reviews on A Face Like Glass and one reviewer summed it up amazingly well:
The whole book is a masterpiece, in my opinion, but what really blew my mind was the epilogue (and not just because it felt right and necessary). In a stroke of pure genius, Frances Hardinge suddenly switches the perspective to that of an outsider for the final pages. Reading from his point of view, it suddenly came crashing down on me just how far down this particular rabbit hole I had really gone. I had fallen for Caverna and in doing so, I had gone a bit mad. (http://www.thereadventurer.com/1/post/2012/07/ya-review-a-face-like-glass-by-frances-hardinge.html)
It is a book ridiculously hard to review due it's multi-layered elegant enthralling story which weaves such a beautiful entrancing magical story that I won't forget it in a long time, nor would I want to. For me it would be hard to peel each layer apart individually to dissect it for you as I think it would ruin the amazing flow that I associate with this novel as well as ruining the story for you guys, if you want a more in-depth review read the review I got that sum up, but if you're happy to go on my word, do, and BUY IT!
It's definitely one of those books that I'll keep
a) for a rainy day
b) for my mum and my family and anyone I can persuade to read it
c) for my future children
d) for a rainy rainy day
e) for a normal day
f) I hope you get the picture, it's a book I think I'll read again and again and hopefully again.