July 7, 2018 by Joy Thierry Llewellyn
A Face Like Glass, written by Frances Hardinge
Neverfell, a 14–year-old girl abandoned as a child, was found and raised by a master cheesemaker who lives in isolated caves far beneath the underground city of Caverna. The Cheesemaker refuses to let Neverfell leave the caves. He also insists she wear a mask to hide her hideous face from their few visitors. But one day Neverfell escapes, and heads to Caverna to search for the mother who left her to die. She isn’t prepared for the impact she has on all the people she meets, until she sees her face in the mirror for the first time. Only then does she realize why she is a danger to the Caverna upper class.
Neverfell finds herself in a desperate race to track down her mother while also outwitting the assassins someone has hired to ensure she never succeeds in her quest.
I had read glowing reviews of award-winning The Lie Tree, an earlier Frances Hardinge’s novel. A Face Like Glass was her fifth book; two more have followed. I want to rave about this novel. It is one of my favourite books of 2018, and has some of the most beautiful and descriptive visual and sensory writing I have read in a long time. Neverfell is a likeable heroine, and the story contains a mixture of humour and drama, with lots of twists, and numerous likeable and oh-so-bad unlikable characters.
Read it, read it, read it. The story takes place in a unique world which Hardinge has presented in a such a visual way that you can easily imagine the film version. I give it one of my few 5/5 ratings.
Check out Hardinge’s website if you’ve got time: http://www.franceshardinge.com/
Please let me know if you hear of a movie being made. I wanted to dive in and write the script the moment I read the last page. Hmm, I wonder what actress could play Neverfell?
Reviewed by Joy Thierry Llewellyn, firstname.lastname@example.org