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A Face Like Glass Hardcover – Unabridged, May 1, 2012
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About the Author
Frances Hardinge spent her childhood in a huge old house that inspired her to write strange stories from an early age. She read English at Oxford University, then got a job at a software company. However, by this time a persistent friend had finally managed to bully Frances into sending a few chapters of FLY BY NIGHT, her first children's novel, to a publisher. Macmillan made her an immediate offer. The book went on to publish to huge critical acclaim and win the Branford Boase First Novel Award. This is Frances's fifth novel.
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Top customer reviews
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This popped up as a Goodreads recommendation, I'd never heard of the author but the book sounded interesting so I took a chance. I am so glad I did.
Hardinge is an incredible world-builder, this is like nothing I've ever read before. I read someone else compared it to Alice and Wonderland, and I get where they were coming from - the whole 'down the rabbit hole' experience, but that's just the tip of the iceberg, and doesn't do the book justice. I am quite fond of the concept behind The City of Ember - the cataclysmic event, the city underground, the drive to get out - A Face Like Glass is sort of similar but on an entirely different level of awesome.
The world Hardinge builds for us is wonderfully weird and fully fleshed out. The culture and politics alone is astounding. The characters leap off the page, and there is enough magic and wonder to make people draw comparisons to Harry Potter - though it's nothing like the Potterverse. There you've got wands and here we've got killer cheeses and wines. Yes, seriously.
I've just finished Fly by Night and Fly Trap and Gullstruck Island and Hardinge does not fail to impress. She is the real deal and I can't believe she's not getting more attention. I imagine her books are somewhat hard to categorize - they're children's books but they aren't like anything else out there. The writing isn't dumbed down, but is fullbodied and bursting with vocabulary. Precocious pre-teens to adults will really get a kick out of Hardinge's writing, and A Face Like Glass is my favorite so far (though they are all amazing). I eagerly await her next...
**Original review (if you can call it that):
Incredibly brilliant. I want to go back to the beginning and read it all over again. Highly, highly recommend. 10 stars!!
That being said, I enjoyed this book, but as I was reading I did find myself annoyed by a few things. Although the storyline was a bit different, I was often reminded of "The City of Ember" (disclaimer - I didn't read the book, but saw the movie).
Both take place in underground tunnels, caverns and cities with the young heroine wanting to escape to the outside world above. As I neared the end of the final chapter, it became apparent that the ending was going to be almost exactly the same as in 'Ember' and I started to get upset ay having invested so much so much of myself in this nearly 500 page book. However, the author redeemed herself in the Epilogue with a twist that I did not see coming.
The author is very good at description, but there was always something missing in the character descriptions. Part of the magic of reading is envisioning the characters and places in your head. Each reader sees them differently, as well as how the writer saw them. I can't say what exactly it was that was missing, but I could never fully visualize the characters. I hadn't read anything else by this author, so I have nothing to compare it to. I now wonder if this was intentional so as to make the Epilogue even more of a surprise. Hopefully, I am not alone in not suspecting the revelation.
I did like the characters though, even if some of their names were a little too telling...Neverfell, Erstwhile, etc.. At times, though, they seemed to act and talk as though they were much older than they were. I also would have liked to have had more of Grandible and The Kleptomancer and delved into their backgrounds a bit, but it was lengthy enough as is.
Again, I did enjoy this book, although the first few chapters were a bit of a struggle. At about chapter six, it really took hold and I strapped myself in for the journey. My remarks aren't to fault the author on anything as it was very well written. These are just feelings and observations I had while reading and are probably more to help me than anything else.
It is very hard to review a book without giving away spoilers - so, if you enjoy a unique book where you cannot begin to guess the ending, I would highly recommend this book.
Most recent customer reviews
Wow! This was so unique. Darkly creative, this is one of those books that grabs you and makes your imagination soar.Read more
Author: Frances Hardinge
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars