“A Face Like Glass”: A Metaphor of a Novel

Source: Amazon

Source: Amazon

Amina Irfanullah, Scoop Writer

“A Face Like Glass” is a fantasy-mystery novel by Frances Hardinge. It takes place in an underground city called Caverna and it follows a 12-year old girl named Neverfell.

Caverna is a dystopian-like society in which the people born there have blank expressions. They must train their facial muscles in order to have expressions at all. They call these Faces. Faces have to be taught in school; the more Faces someone has, the richer and more significant they are. 

The story follows Neverfell, a young girl who knows nothing about her past besides the fact that Cheesemaster Grandible has taken her in for the past seven years. Cheesemaster Grandible is an old man who is the best Cheese maker in Caverna (foods in Caverna have magical properties which is why they are capitalized). Neverfell had always believed that Cheesmaster Grandible made her wear the velvet face mask whenever visitors came because she was hideous. 

She had never even looked in a mirror until she found herself arrested for not having a Face. Neverfell’s emotions are mirrored onto her face which is horrific for any Cavernan to look at. The fluidity of her muscles proved that she was an outsider to them.

After running away from home, Neverfell intertwined herself in the intricate network of the Court. Her life story unfolds right in front of her.

From the start of this novel, my interest peaked. The way Frances Hardringe describes this unfamiliar world engrossed me. 

I was also able to connect this book as a metaphor to politics and popularity in general today. Many celebrities enjoy their work but the publicity almost drives them insane. Getting out of that state of popularity also proves to be very difficult, whether they announce it publicly or not. In the novel, the system of the Court is something that is very difficult to get out of once the character is in. Another example would be for politicians. Politicians always have to please most people otherwise they will fall from their place. They always have to understand how to work with people just like the influential people in Caverna.

Overall, “A Face Like Glass” gives a new perspective on this world and it also shows an entirely different realm that is definitely worth exploring.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy, mystery and action.