June 24, 2012

The Reading Files - Living in strange worlds

It's been a while since I read any fantasy novels, after all you have to be in the right mood for a genre, and by the looks of it the stars were in perfect alignment. In other words, one amazing storyteller has found her way onto my list of fav authors.

A Face Like Glass (Frances Hardinge)
Source: from Pan MacMillan
Genre: YA Fantasy

In Caverna, lies are an art - and everyone's an artist ...
In the underground city of Caverna the world's most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare - wines that can remove memories, cheeses that can make you hallucinate and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer, even as they slit your throat. The people of Caverna are more ordinary, but for one thing: their faces are as blank as untouched snow. Expressions must be learned, and only the famous Facesmiths can teach a person to show (or fake) joy, despair or fear - at a price.
Into this dark and distrustful world comes Neverfell, a little girl with no memory of her past and a face so terrifying to those around her that she must wear a mask at all times. For Neverfell's emotions are as obvious on her face as those of the most skilled Facesmiths, though entirely genuine. And that makes her very dangerous indeed ...

Title & Cover: Magical!
Story: Neverfell is different from all the others in Caverna and once she shows her real face not just the Facesmiths are out to get her in this enchanting, intricately composed tale!
Narrative: Imagine Terry Pratchett writing Alice in Wonderland and you get the idea.
Characters: Finely and delicately devised!
Thoughts: Such marvelous world building! The kind of book that you can literally sink into ... deeper and deeper. Best book I've read in a long time!

Twilight Robbery (Frances Hardinge)
#2 Fly by Night
Source: from Pan MacMillan
Genre: YA Fantasy

Mosca Mye and Eponymous Clent are in trouble again. Escaping disaster by the skin of their teeth, they find refuge in Toll, the strange gateway town where visitors may neither enter nor leave without paying a price. By day, the city is well-mannered and orderly; by night, it's the haunt of rogues and villains. Wherever there's a plot, there's sure to be treachery, and wherever there's treachery, there's sure to be trouble - and where there's trouble, Clent, Mosca and the web-footed apocalypse Saracen can't be far behind. But as past deeds catch up with them and old enemies appear, it looks as if this time there's no way out ...

Title & Cover: You really need to soak in the detail on that one. I must say those covers for Hardinge's books are just splendid!
Story: Mosca and Mr. Clent find themselves in a town divided into day and night. Trouble ahead and trouble on their heels. Throw in a goose with an attitude.
Narrative: Think a fresh version of Terry Pratchett!
Characters: Wonderfully quirky!
Thoughts: I absolutely and totally love the Discworld-esque world Hardinge created here. What a marvelous wordsmith she is. Little did I know this is the second book in a series, so I definitely have to get my hands on the first book that started Mosca's adventures.

Radiance (Alyson Noel)
Source: won
Genre: YA Paranormal

Riley has crossed the bridge into the afterlife—a place called Here, where time is always Now. She has picked up life where she left off when she was alive, living with her parents and dog in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. When she’s summoned before The Council, she learns that the afterlife isn’t just an eternity of leisure. She’s been assigned a job, Soul Catcher, and a teacher, Bodhi, a possibly cute, seemingly nerdy boy who’s definitely hiding something. They return to earth together for Riley’s first assignment, a Radiant Boy who’s been haunting a castle in England for centuries. Many Soul Catchers have tried to get him to cross the bridge and failed. But all of that was before he met Riley ...

Title & Cover: Oh so lovely!
Story: The Afterlife isn't quite what Riley expected, most importantly who would have thought it comes along with a job?
Narrative: A light and fun read!
Characters: How could I not love Riley and Bodhi, the nerdy boy? Great duo.
Thoughts: Now there's a ghostly good story if I ever saw one (story, not ghost). While it's actually a book for young readers it was utterly enjoyable and I had to laugh out loud more than just once because of Riley's delightful POV.

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