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A Face Like Glass

4.32 of 5 stars 4.32  ·  rating details  ·  1,180 ratings  ·  250 reviews
In Caverna, lies are an art — and everyone's an artist . . .

In the underground city of Caverna the world's most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare. They create wines that can remove memories, cheeses that can make you hallucinate and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer even as they slit your throat. The people of Caverna a
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Paperback, 496 pages
Published May 10th 2012 by Pan Macmillan Children's (first published January 1st 2012)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Catie
What if Alice grew up down the rabbit hole, and she needed a little white rabbit to lead her…out?

That’s a very basic, watered down one-liner that sort of describes what this book is about. You have to admit that it’s catchy though.

However, to say that this book is derivative of anything, even a classic like Alice in Wonderland, would be selling it extremely short. This is the kind of fantasy that I want to read – completely original and imaginative to the point of near insanity. It’s the kind
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Nataliya
DISCLAIMER: There is an actual risk that one of the patient's charts in my local ER will say by tomorrow, '28yo female presents with symptoms of NyQuil poisoning, incoherently rambling about underground cities and glass faces. Poison control contacted.'

Yes, this review is written in that febrile, NyQuil-fueled fog of hazy clarity where the world becomes muted at its edges and yet everything comes into a strangely sharp focus, and brain-mouth dissociation may reach dangerous levels.
I wrote a fin
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Keertana
Feb 11, 2013 Keertana rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Keertana by: Catie, Heidi, and Tom
Rating: 4.5 Stars

A Face Like Glass tells the tale of Caverna, an underground city, much like Alice's Wonderland. In Caverna, babies are born with the inability to show their emotions on their face and, as such, are taught how to mold their faces into expressions by wearing masks. If that wasn't strange enough, Caverna is a land of magic - although it is never seen as magical - for the wines can erase your memories, cheeses can help you see the future, and perfumes can command your thoughts. Into
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TheBookSmugglers
Original review posted on The Book Smugglers

Ana’s Take:

Wowza, I don’t even know where to start with this review. There is so much that is so excellent about A Face Like Glass, I hope I won’t miss anything of importance as there is so much to unpack.

A Face Like Glass is just like Frances Hardinge’s Fly By Night and Twilight Robbery: sophisticated without being pretentious or boring, thought-provoking and smart without being any less engaging, fast-paced and just plain fun. It features a strong (r
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Stuti (Turmeric isn't your friend. It will fly your ship
Apr 19, 2013 Stuti (Turmeric isn't your friend. It will fly your ship rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the glass faces who can't remember the miracle that the open sky is
Recommended to Stuti by: a Cartographer
CHILD,
THIEF,
MADMAN,
SPY,
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
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Giovanna

"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.”

Well, I can't think straight too. So...sorry, but I'm going to write this review in italian and hopefully it will make sense.

A face like glass è uno di quei libri che meriterebbero di più di 900 voti su goodreads. Ha una buona trama, un'idea di base solida e un'autrice che sa chiaramente scrivere, cosa non esattamente scontata. Ma soprattutto A face li
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Tom
Aug 20, 2012 Tom rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Tom by: Catie
Shelves: favorite
5++ Stars. This fantasy story was written so wonderfully and I was captivated within a couple pages. I was looking for a good fantasy book that wasn’t part of a series and WOW did it exceed my expectations. The heroine is a 13 year old girl and there is no love interest but if you are into fantasy and beautiful writing you should pick this one up, it was awesome!

This is the story of Neverfell and the city of Caverna. Caverna is an underground city comprised of the most skilled craftsmen that cre
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Hirondelle
It took me ages to actually get this read, and this after very eagerly waiting it. I think the reason I set it aside so many times in the beginning is that it was clear that for Neverfell to start her adventure something bad, presumably caused by her naïveté, would have to happen. Loving (of a kind) protective parental figures are plot hindrance in YA fiction.

But once I got going, oh this is so much fun. Fantastic worldbuilding and characters, a very nicely worked plot with twists and tricks. Ma
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Nikki
I'd never heard of Frances Hardinge before, and I have no idea how I came across this on the Kindle store, but I'm so very glad I did. It's an enchantment of a book -- I think I said something similar, recently, about Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, and I can see the similarities there: the long games being played in both plots, the dazzling strangeness of the worldbuilding, the magic of it all. But at the same time, they're very different stories: it's just something about the flavour that ...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
This book was just RIDICULOUSLY good.

It's a stark dystopia, an exploration of how facial expression can determine our interactions, how we perceive each other. It's an exploration of extreme and weird states of mind, from a tyrant who only lets half his brain sleep at any given time to the cartographers of a cavern-city who have to be a little crazy - a lot crazy, actually - to be able to map tunnels that twist, turn, tangle and even spool into contradictory Escher-dimensional twirls and of cou
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Tim Hicks
First off, don't read too many reviews of this book. There are far too many here that tell you far too much about the book. C'mon, folks, we're not in fifth grade, we don't have to prove we've read the book by summarizing it.

Young adult or whatever? You can only tell by the absence of sex and gore. Certainly not from the characters or the complexity of the plot.

I had a little trouble with the basic premise of the plot, re masks and Faces, but I am always willing to give an author One Huge Made-
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Arielle Walker
3.5

Wonderful ideas, beautiful settings, interesting plot, good writing. I think I would have loved this more if I was the actual age group this is aimed at, as I don't think it transcends age quite as well as other books I've read of the like. However it's still a lovely read, and I wouldn't be surprised if a children's film comes out in the future based on even a few of the ideas here. Pretty sure this will especially appeal to any lovers of Alice In Wonderland. My only real problem was that Ne
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Melissa Proffitt
Frances Hardinge is insanely creative and has a unique and beautiful style, and both are fully on display here. In this underground world/city Caverna, craftsman can create wines that make you lose an unwanted memory, perfumes that cloud the senses, cheeses that bite back, and the upper classes are engaged in a deadly game of wits in which houses rise and fall at the whim of the Grand Steward. No one in Caverna is capable of making facial expressions and must learn each one by rote, expressions ...more
Alexandra
There is an exquisite agony in expectation.

A few years ago I read Gwyneth Jones' Bold as Love sequence. I owned all of the books but I read them over almost a year... because it was kind of almost fun to wait, even though I had no need; and because I didn't want the ride to be over.

Last year I did the same with Naomi Novik's Temeraire series (which still isn't finished because I haven't got around to finding the last two), and Sarah Monette's Mirador.

I had Frances Hardinge's A Face Like Glass s
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Shannon
I've always wished I had a better imagination. I was the kid that had to color in between the lines perfectly or else I'd throw away the picture. The colors I used had to correspond to the real life chroma of the object I was coloring. For instance, if I was working on a picture of a rabbit and flowers, the rabbit had to be brown or black with pink or yellow flowers. No neon green rabbit with orange spots and multicolored flowers. IT HAD TO BE LIKE REAL LIFE, DANG IT. With that said, if I could ...more
Chachic
Originally posted here.

I remember being fascinated by The Lost Conspiracy a few years ago and I've been meaning to read more of Frances Hardinge's novels since then. But you know how it goes, you get distracted by other books in the TBR pile and you forget your intentions to read books by a certain author. Fortunately, I was attracted by the pretty cover of A Face Like Glass when I saw it in one of the bookstores here. I've been hearing good things about this book so I was pretty excited to re
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Beth
Frances Hardinge always amazes me. I don't know why I'm still surprised by that. Take the following example:
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 the pages have been torn out. There is no point looking for them. They are gone.

Aside from the wonder that is her writing, that paragraph is an astoundingly elegant narrative solution. "Elegant
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Jeanette
Frances Hardinge's A Face Like Glass is rather like the True Cheeses and True Wines cultivated by the mastercrafters within the seething tunnels of Caverna - exquisite, rare, unique, magical and rather unruly. Hardinge weaves together some intriguing concepts such the consequences of living underground for generations, extended lifespans, being born with a disconnect between emotions and facial expressions, sleep, daylight, memory, the function of right and left brains and how societies work - t ...more
P13alling
When I started reading this book, it felt as if I was right beside Neverfell, walking through the slick, lichen-covered tunnels of Caverna to find my way out from the abyss. In a good way.

A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge, is about Neverfell, a girl inexplicably surfacing in the twisted roads of Caverna, is discovered by Cheesemaster Grandible, a disgruntled cheesemaker that hasn’t crossed the land beyond his door in years, not wishing to be reunited with the drama that comes with doing so.
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Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
Read-a-long take two, with the lovely Lyn!

What a wonderful, weird, crazy, inventive story. Impressive, well-written and imagined, and just plain engrossing.
Monica
I stumbled across A Face Like Glass while browsing the Book Smugglers blog. After reading the short synopsis, I was immediately interested and went to check out some reviews of the book prior to purchasing. To my surprise, there were hardly ANY reviews... not only for this title, but for most of Ms. Hardinge's work. Although I hate to admit it, this did cause a bit of hesitation on my part, but THANK GOD I decided to take the plunge.

I won't repeat the premise behind the book, as that can easily
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Brandy Painter
Originally posted here on Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge was one of the books I had to read for the YAMG Book Challenge. It was the only book potentially destined to come my way in the brackets that I had not previously read. Why? Because it has not been published in the US yet. And this is a TRAGEDY.

This is the story of Neverfell, a wide-eyed, sheltered, compassionate, cheerful, inquisitive girl who longs to explore and see the world outside the front door
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Galla
Absolutely fantastic. If I had only a limited supply of stars to give books over my lifetime, well, too bad, other books, because this novel deserves every one of the five stars I'm giving it. RTC.
Rachel
Absolutely loved it! Very original and different. I was kept guessing until the end when the pace of the book seemed to pick up. There were definite elements of Alice in Wonderland in there - the rabbit, drinking from the bottles, the Grand Stewart (aka the Red Queen). I especially liked the Cartographer's who would send you mad by talking. There was also a real sense of innocence to experience, of loss, an uprising that seemed natural. An element that could've been explored a little more was Ne ...more
Hannah
Okay, I'm writing my first 1 star review just to warn off the readers like me who thought they would like this book and were very, very wrong.

I read this novel a couple of years ago after thoroughly enjoying some of the author's other works. And even now, I'm still bothered by the story at times.

Of course, Frances Hardinge writes in her incredible and vivid voice. And that was partially what makes this so disturbing. I look back now and recognize this book to have the element of horror.

Our her
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Birgit
In A Face Like Glass Frances Hardinge created a enchanting and intricately composed tale about the girl Neverfell who one day finds herself in the strange world of Caverna, not knowing where she came from. Little does she know why she needs to wear a mask until she finds out how her face is dangerously different from those of others.
I usually hesitate comparing books or authors which each other, but I just can't resist not to. This novel reads as though Terry Pratchett took a spin on Alice In Wo
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SJH (A Dream of Books)
'A Face Like Glass' is the fifth book by British author Frances Hardinge. It's one of the most original and spellbinding stories I've ever come across. I can't even begin to try and compare it to anything else because it stands in a league of it's own and is so unusual and surprising that I could never guess what was going to happen from one chapter to the next. This is one of those books that will gradually creep up on you to the point that you won't be able to think about anything else. It's t ...more
Lucy
Caverna is an underground city of magical craftsmen, courtiers, and down-trodden lower-class drudge. Its people for whatever reason do not naturally make facial expressions, so they have to be taught them, painstakingly. Neverfell, an outsider with an expressive face and a naive but generous spirit, gets tangled up in courtly intrigue.

Even though the premise of this book is quite complicated, and the book has a lot going on, it's really the same story as Fly by Night with the same character. (Su
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Kelsey
Frances Hardinge is a genius.

A Face Like Glass is an astonishing, intricately woven, and mysterious fantasy. How did she come up with so many brilliant details and keep them all straight? It’s like trying to untangle a slinky factory after a tornado, when the misting rain creates sparkling rainbows over the silver bands and sparks glint along the interlocking loops like dancing sprites. This truly was a beautifully woven web.

The novel takes place in Caverna, an underground city that specializes
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Hallie
Hadn't dared even hope it would be out so soon. (Unless this is all a cruel trick.) (Who could possibly be so unkind though??)

Review is up on Strange Horizons .

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Frances Hardinge spent her childhood in a huge, isolated old house in a small, strange village, and the two things inspired her to write strange, magical stories from an early age. She studied English at Oxford University and now lives in Oxford, England.
More about Frances Hardinge...
Fly by Night (Fly By Night, #1) The Lost Conspiracy Well Witched Cuckoo Song Fly Trap (Fly By Night, #2)

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“At one o’clock, the ever-logical Right-Eye Grand Steward woke up to discover that during his sleep his left-eyed counterpart had executed three of his advisors for treason, ordered the creation of a new carp pool and banned limericks. Worse still, no progress had been made in tracking down the Kleptomancer, and of the two people believed to be his accomplices, both had been released from prison and one had been appointed food taster. Right-Eye was not amused. He had known for centuries that he could trust nobody but himself. Now he was seriously starting to wonder about himself.” 12 likes
“Do you know why a vandal is worse than a thief?’ asked the man on the right, in a soft growl. ‘A thief steals a treasure from its owner. A vandal steals it from the world.” 11 likes
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