A Face Like Glass
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A Face Like Glass

4.33 of 5 stars 4.33  ·  rating details  ·  756 ratings  ·  186 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 - 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 are more or...more
Hardcover, 490 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Pan Macmillan (first published January 1st 2012)
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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...more
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
Apr 05, 2013 Sam rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sam by: All the 5-star reviews
4.5 stars

Not very often do I truly consider a book to be completely and wholly original. I suppose that is the inevitable curse of being an avid reader, yet Frances Hardinge’s A Face Like Glass is every possible shade of inventive and ingenious that could have been hoped for. I am not a writer (I have neither the patience nor the motivation) but books like this – books that stretch and flex every corner of my thoughts, books that remind me of the value of imagination – inspire me to dream and pu...more
Feb 11, 2013 Keertana rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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...more
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...more
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
Recommends it for: the glass faces who can't remember the miracle that the open sky is
Recommended to Stuti by: a Cartographer
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...more
Aug 20, 2012 Tom rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
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-...more
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
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...more
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
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 rea...more
Arielle Walker

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...more
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.
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
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...more
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...more
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.
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...more
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...more
Brilliant and beautiful and bewildering...like blinding sunlight on dark weakened eyes, or the shimmer of the poison-tipped dagger as it plunges for your heart...
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 .

Completely unpredictable and hints of madness in an underground world.
Amy (Turn the Page)
Clearly I need to buy and read all Hardinge's book immediately.
Chelsea Daugherty
This book was nearly impossible to find, since it's lack of publication in the United States, but when I finally found it, I had to get it.

Frances Hardinge crafted an amazingly well-built and thought out plot line and the characters were depicted so well that the reader completely saw what was going on through Neverfell's eyes. The main character of this book, Neverfell is beautifully illustrated. Thinking that she has an ugly face, Cheesemaster Grandible forces her to wear a sack over her head...more
I have actually not read or even heard of Frances Hardinge and just happened to stumble across it on Goodreads. It sounded really interesting so I thought I would try and get my hands on a copy. A huge thank you goes out to Pan Macmillan publishers for giving me the opportunity to review this book which by the end I really enjoyed.

When I first started reading this book I really couldn't get into it as it took awhile to get going and it was also very confusing for most of the book. It was very ha...more
Caverna is a twisting, sprawling network of caves deep below ground. In her reside the masters of wonderous objects. Wines to warp your memory, cheeses which can cause hallucinations, or perfumes which can influence the mind. Trying to understand the ways of Caverna can send you mad, and everyday life in the Court can have you killed. It's a dangerous and magical world, and one into which Neverfell has quite unintentionally fallen. And with a face like glass when no one else can show expression,...more
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BookClubFiction: A Face Like Glass - Through "The Master of Craft" 1 3 Feb 04, 2014 02:17PM  
BookClubFiction: Second discussion up 1 1 Jan 27, 2014 01:21PM  
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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 Fly Trap (Fly By Night, #2) Cuckoo Song

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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.” 10 likes
“Zouelle had forgotten how tiring it was listening to a Neverfell at full pace, like being bludgeoned with exclamation marks.” 7 likes
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