Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge

When you open a Frances Hardinger book there is this sense of anticipation, the pages beckon - something noteworthy is about to happen - and as you sink into the especially designed prose - for each world has it's unique style - the world enfolds you in its own bizarre and haunting way until you feel you could never have lived in a world without having read that adventure, explored that place, known those people.

Now this one took a little while to really get the feel of - but I happily took that in my stride after all the bizarre world Neverfell lives in is inhabited by people who are truly different from surface dwellers.  They have no expressions apart from the ones they are taught - making them expert liars and manipulators.  Neverfell is warned by the curmudgeony cheese maker who took her in and raised her never to take off her mask.  She is also warned not to get involved with the court - but of course she does - and of course she runs into so much trouble, and so many fascinating characters every bit as flawed - if not more so - than she is - slightly mad and skittering from trouble to deeper trouble in a desperate effort to make things better.

The Guardian review, 'Inventive, gripping and well imagined, this is a brilliant and suspenseful tale. It is exceptionally well written and a must read for all fantasy lovers'  

 What else can I say - Frances is a talent the likes of which we haven't seen since Ursula le Guin - if ever - and her followers are every bit as rabid - maybe more so.  And deservedly so, who else could create such a crazy fantastic world and reveal it through exciting character driven plot and all with prose that is not just flawless but perfectly apt.  Maybe I preferred "Verdigris Deep" because that was a modern day fairy tale - and by far the best I have ever read - but this - this is completely crazy, completely amazing and totally fun.

I would recommend it for extremely good readers - so you are probably looking at adults who like children's stories - or children who read adult books for the challenge.



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