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A Face Like Glass

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  7,194 ratings  ·  1,263 reviews
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 a ...more
Hardcover, 489 pages
Published May 9th 2017 by Harry N. Abrams (first published May 1st 2012)
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Karen No, none at all. This book would be totally fine to read with younger kids or in school.

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Average rating 4.19  · 
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 ·  7,194 ratings  ·  1,263 reviews

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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
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
This was so weird and good - I couldn't help but love it

Mel 🖤🐾🐺
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
A.G. Howard
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, I adored this! Miss Hardinge's writing and imagination are SUBLIME. Now, to go find everything on her back list. :) ...more
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful middle-grade fantasy with an innocent protagonist let loose in a jaded stratified society like a ferret in a giant domino lineup.

Neverfell has been brought up secluded from the rest of the underground magical city of Caverna. She thinks the horror her craftmaster expresses when he sees her face is because she's ugly, but it's not. Her face has what no other face in Caverna has: unrehearsed expressions. With a Face like glass everyone can immediately see what she's thinking, when all
Aug 20, 2017 marked it as to-read
Shelves: dnf
DNF @34%

Idk why I haven't officially dnfed this book yet haha I decided I wasn't going to finish a few months ago... this book was just too weird and disturbing for me I have no interest in finishing it.
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher, ABRAMS Kids, via NetGalley for an honest review.


WHEW! Listen up guys, because this is one book that NEEDS to be noted and fawned over.

“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 traplantern gold and velvety black, like a tropical frog.
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Now I really wish I had read this book sooner, because in a word, it’s amazing. Sitting in that much-needed place between Middle Grade and Young Adult, A Face Like Glass is a coming-of-age novel about a younger protagonist, but the challenges she must deal with are no less difficult or complex.

Our protagonist Neverfell was just a child when she was found practically half-drowned in a vat of curds by Master Grandible, Cav
Taylor Knight
Jan 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book was way weirder than I expected.
A Face Like Glass starts off in cheese tunnels (I kid you not) and it only gets more and more odd from there. With sentences like "the cheeses were Grandible's only friends and family, their scents and textures taking the place of conversation" and "The child was thriving on the perilous splendors of the cheese kingdom", I just couldn't take this book seriously. Maybe it's just me but I couldn't get through one page without laughing at something that wa
Sep 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an imagination. This book is about a sentient city and political intrigues and empathy and mysteries and double-crosses and triple-crosses and friendships. This book was so strange and atmospheric and creative. And the ending was just superb! It’s Neil Gaiman on steroids.
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
nemo the emo ☠️ (pagesandprozac)
(You know when I begin proper orthography in my reviews, specifically capitalisation, that I mean business.)

”Murder is like romance. It is only our first that overwhelms us.”

Some people may see that this book is middle grade, and immediately be put off.

Often, the genres of children’s lit, middle grade, and young adult are all grouped together under the umbrella of “children’s”, which can lead to some misconceptions, mainly that middle grade and young adult cannot have literary value equal to

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
Tim Hicks
Feb 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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 Mad
Stuti Rai
Dec 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
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 an
What a sheer delight it is to turn again – even temporarily – into a giddy, little girl adventuring through magical lands. And with a companion as wonderful as Neverfell!

"Zouelle had forgotten how tiring it was listening to Neverfell at full pace, like being bludgeoned with exclamation marks.”

I needed this book. I devoured it. I adored it.

Highly recommended for all adults who are weary of adulting and need a nice, big dose of wide-eyed fascination. And for children, of course :)
Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-reads
2.5 stars

It wasn't the right book for me. I finished it but I was bored for the whole time, mainly because I didn't care about any of the characters.

The idea was great but the result wasn't anything interesting for me. It just wasn't my cup of tea.
Rachel Neumeier
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A FACE LIKE GLASS opens this way:

One dark season, Grandible became certain that there was something living in his domain within the cheese tunnels. To judge by the scuffles, it was larger than a rat, and smaller than a horse. On nights when hard rain beat the mountainside high above and filled Caverna’s vast labyrinth of tunnels with the music of ticks and trickles and drips, the intruding creature sang to itself, perhaps thinking that nobody could hear.

And I was hooked, despite being somewhat t
Frances Hardinge and Catherynne M.Valente have been in my list for a looong time.I thought I will begin reading Hardinge this year with her "A Face Like Glass " .
We have a twelve year old heroine Neverfell ,who is found lost by Cheesemaster Grandible in his tunnels in the underground kingdom of Caverna.Caverna is ruled with an irongrip by the 500 year old grandsteward who is like a spider weaving a web around the courtiers.The fact is that people in Caverna are unable to show natural emotio
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
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
May 02, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
A face like glass⭐️

First few chapters I was like “what the heck am i reading?” The concept intrigued me and the sample audible gave me was good So i was confused on what was happening what i was listening to. but getting started and staying in the book was difficult.

Neverfell has been told since finding the cheese master that she is hideous and useless and needs to be covered. Her face so hideous that it needs to be covered whenever someone visits. She is never to leave the house only work on t
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
4.5 stars.

This is the third book I've read by Hardinge and she has again captivated me with her vividly descriptive writing. The rating also reflects the highly imaginative world that has been created in this book - a city fully constructed from underground caves, live "trap" lanterns which serve as both lighting and breathable air, the multitude of delicacies that one could only dream of tasting and, of course, the social hierarchy and behind-the-scenes betrayals which serve to feed the action
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
Jun 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Misty by: Heidi
Possibly the weirdest of a string of weird books I've read recently, and also possibly the best-executed weirdness I've read in years.
Review as part of my "trio of weird" here.
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
This was weird. Like, French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet weird - and not the subdued quirkiness of Amelie, but the full out, no holds barred weird of City of Lost Children. The setting is a subterranean world in which people are naturally expressionless and have to be taught expressions, one by one (e.g. an earnest Face, No. 23, Gazelle Preparing to Leap Stream, or a comforting Face, No. 334, A Placid Glow in a Homey Hearth). There are complex politics, cheeses used as defensive mechanisms, opin ...more
Aneta Bak
May 06, 2017 marked it as dnf
Shelves: netgalley
DNF at 12%

This one sounded so interesting. Unfortunately as soon as I began reading it I knew it wasn't for me.

I decided to stop reading, I wasn't enjoying myself already, and I don't think the book could have gotten any better to change my mind. I wasn't a huge fan of the main character, or the storyline. The whole thing about learning Faces and living underground, it sounded cool from the synopsis, but as soon as I started reading about it, I found it kind of strange and boring.

While this on
sophie.connects.the.dots (on hiatus)
"You just jump into troubles like they're puddles, don't you?"

Wonderful! And original! Thoroughly, I happily enjoyed this children's story about a young girl named Neverfell who has to find her way out.

(review to come)
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
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
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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.

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“Yes, I know,’ she said in answer to the unasked, for there was no time for explanations. ‘Yes. My face is spoilt.’

Grandible’s jowl wobbled and creased. Then, for the first time that Neverfell could remember, he changed to a Face she had never seen before, a frown more ferocious and alarming than either of the others.

‘Who the shambles told you that?’ he barked. ‘Spoilt? I’ll spoil them.’ He took hold of her chin and examined her. ‘A bit sadder, maybe. A bit wiser. But nothing rotten. You’re just growing yourself a rind at last. Still a good cheese.”
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