Book Review: A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge

Amulet Books
Published May 9th 2017
497 Pages

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 are more ordinary, but for one thing: their faces are as blank as untouched snow. Expressions must be learned. Only the famous Facesmiths can teach a person to show (or fake) joy, despair or fear — at a price.

Into this dark and distrustful world comes Neverfell, a little girl with no memory of her past and a face so terrifying to those around her that she must wear a mask at all times. For Neverfell’s emotions are as obvious on her face as those of the most skilled Facesmiths, though entirely genuine. And that makes her very dangerous indeed…- Goodreads

This book took some time to get through. There is a lot of moving parts and a lot of things going on. Let’s start with Neverfell.

I had to keep remembering how young and inexperienced she was to interactions with people, her emotions and thoughts. She does a lot of outbursts without thinking and after going through a few chapters, you’re like ‘Girl, have some restraint.’ She is pure in the world because she doesn’t know the evil it holds or when a person is using her. Despite some of her annoying tendencies, she really was a breathe of fresh air.

In regards to the plot, this story is different. The idea of people living underground and having this developed civilization may seem familiar but once you get into it, the creativity level sky rockets. You really appreciate the world, the author was able to build because it is really like no other.

Things become complicated when it talks about facial expressions and the purity of emotions and allowing yourself to feel and display your emotion. What is complicated about this is the line is blurred between real and unnatural. There are some parts of the book that you think “hold on wait is this a person who had their expressions created or what” I love the complexity of this novel but at times it required a going back to.

The book is long and its bit winded as there is so much details and things that you need to know in order for you to not be lost in the next chapter. I overall thought the story was alright. But it got knocked up a point because the creativity is astounding and I appreciate and love that.

Neverfell is pure and does show growth towards the end of the book. I wished the author would have provide more of an ending as opposed to a another voice giving a recap to what happened next.


2.5 Pickles