Liviu's Reviews > The Girl With Glass Feet

The Girl With Glass Feet by Ali Shaw
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's review
Jul 23, 14

bookshelves: 2010_release_read, read_2010, genre-fantasy, t_notable_books_2010
Read in January, 2010

The premise of this novel is quite arresting: after a short visit on her mother's birthplace, the Northern Archipelago of St. Hauda's Land, where strange people live and even stranger things happen, young Ida Maclaird's feet have transformed into glass and moreover, the "glass infection" in her body is slowly spreading. From a chance conversation with secluded island naturalist Henry Fuwa, she believes her strange illness is peculiar to St. Hauda's Lands so she must go back if she has any hope of finding a cure. Planning to stay at her deceased's mother schoolfriend Carl Mausen who is now an academic but still living there, she meets by chance young Midas Crook, a photographer and flower seller, whose dead father of the same name was Charles' colleague and mentor, while his estranged mother has secrets of her own.

The energetic and brash girl, now reduced to crutches and desperation and the introvert and directionless boy do not seem that great a fit, but when time is short and fate knocks on the door, human companionship takes an added urgency and value.

As in many other novels with fantastic elements that take place in our day, nothing is really explained about those elements, so the "glass infestation" is taken as a given. Also even from the short overview above, it is clear that the relationships between the characters, dead and alive, are quite complicated and several twists are slowly revealed as the novel progresses.

However the most compelling element of "The Girl with Glass Feet" is its superb style: the description of the islands and its people, the interactions between the main characters and ultimately the life-affirming "message" of people coming together in extreme situation and making the most of what's possible for them which reminded me on occasions of the master of such EM Remarque whose novels about unlikely love in times of extreme danger are still the best I've ever read.

If there is one niggle I have about "The Girl with Glass Feet" is that its interesting cast of characters is not fully developed outside of the main heroes and to a large extent Carl and the novel rushes a bit towards its inevitable end. Another fifty or so pages and the novel would have been an A++ for me, but even so it is an A+ and already a contender for a slot in my best of 2010.
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