Grandible the True Cheesemaker is content staying in his side of the Caverna making cheese that are beyond imagination, a scowl almost permanently on his Face. But when one day he pulls a girl out of cheese curds, this strange cavern city will be turned upside down. Neverfell has a face like glass, and in this place where even infants are taught to lie with their Faces, nothing will be same after they lay eyes on her.
This book was beautiful. It turned the heart and made me yearn for the right words to describe something that settles in the throat like unshed tears. I stayed up all night for this book even after promising myself to fix my sleep schedule.
At first I was skeptical. The beginning starts off like a very young children's story, with the main character Neverfell seeming more like six years old than twelve. And she gets thrown around in events, survives on pure luck and intervening characters, and bubbles over with ridiculous amounts of naivety. I can't stand those types of characters.
But Hardinge does something amazing. She knows how to develop characters without a sudden 180 switch in personality. It's a slow, deep change from within. One that tugs a little at the corner of the lips to a frown. And then the slightest wrinkle between the brows. And then the clearness of the eyes that see beyond fake Faces and lies. Neverfell becomes a character that grows into someone that takes action, that moves people. It's so lovely.
I love Hardinge's diction. The style of writing and her the word choice makes it all so real.
This is a world that I have loved getting to know. I wish it were a little longer and I think that there are certain parts that could still be fleshed out. But overall, what a beautiful world to know.
Four and half stars. If I were ten years younger, this would be five stars. Heck, I almost gave it five stars now. But the ending wasn't strong enough. It wasn't exactly weak enough that I have quibbles with it, but the ending just didn't tie up everything. It came a little too quickly without enough development, which makes sense because it's a secret. But still. I wouldn't consider a powerful ending.
Recommended for anyone who loves fantasy and beautiful imagery.