Month: April 2016

Face Like Glass: A Fantasy/SciFi Swirly Cone

Face Like Glass: A Fantasy/SciFi Swirly Cone

cover_face_like_glassI don’t always read Fantasy. But when I do, I read Frances Hardinge. She writes the most interesting books in the world. Face Like Glass is among her best: a twisted concoction of steampunk fantasy and post-apocalyptic science fiction that twists and turns like a chocolate-vanilla swirly cone. You know, like the kind you can buy at the local Dairy Queen, but only if you had the distinct pleasure/curse of living in a podunk small enough to merit a Dairy Queen.

Face Like Glass follows the young life of Neverfell, a child who appears in the underground city of Caverna with a distinct deformity. While all others in Caverna are expressionless by nature and must practice and perfect facial expressions, Neverfell can’t help but let her emotions appear naturally on her features. Those expressions serve as a window to her feelings – giving her a face like glass. After years of hiding with a reclusive cheesemaker, she is suddenly thrust into the midst of Caverna’s odd and highly dangerous Court, where intrigue and murder are all the rage. Neverfell’s deformity should make her the most vulnerable of all … but it might just be her salvation. And Neverfell’s salvation intertwines with the fate of Caverna is ways she can only imagine.

Ms. Hardinge’s writing is reminiscent of that of J.K. Rowling in the quality of weird and quirky wonder that pervades the pages. Aggressive wines that can attack an unsuspecting passerby or make you forget a particular memory. Cheeses that allow you to see the future at the risk of death. Cartographers who drive you insane if you listen to them for more than five minutes. Weird. Quirky. Wondrous. And just enough twists and turns to keep you guessing throughout.

Five star’s for one of Frances Hardinge’s best.