A Face Like Glass
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"A Face Like Glass" Characters Analysis

By Frances Hardinge

fantasy | 496 pages | Published in NaN

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. They create 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. 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...

ISBN_13:9780230763500

Estimated read time: 10 min read

List of Characters

Character NameRole
NeverfellProtagonist
GrandibleCaretaker
Madame AppelineRuler of Caverna
ZouelleCourtier
Caverna DwellersSupporting Characters
The KleptomancerAntagonist

Role Identification

The characters in "A Face Like Glass" play various roles in the story, contributing to the development of the plot and the exploration of the book's themes.

  • Neverfell: The protagonist and central character of the story. Neverfell is a young girl with a mysterious past who possesses a face that reflects her emotions involuntarily.
  • Grandible: The caretaker and mentor of Neverfell. He is an elderly cheesemaker who takes in Neverfell and becomes her guiding figure.
  • Madame Appeline: The ruler of Caverna, the underground city where the story takes place. She is a powerful and manipulative figure who holds control over the people of Caverna.
  • Zouelle: A courtier in Madame Appeline's court. Zouelle is a cunning and enigmatic character who becomes a key player in the unfolding events.
  • Caverna Dwellers: Various supporting characters from Caverna who interact with Neverfell and influence her journey.
  • The Kleptomancer: The main antagonist of the story. The Kleptomancer is a mysterious figure who steals people's memories and has a dark agenda.

Character Descriptions

Neverfell

Neverfell is a young girl with a unique and captivating appearance. Her face is like a mirror, reflecting her emotions vividly, making it impossible for her to hide her feelings. She has wild, curly hair and expressive eyes that draw people in. Neverfell's innocence and vulnerability are evident in her wide-eyed wonder and curiosity about the world around her.

Grandible

Grandible is an elderly cheesemaker who is initially portrayed as gruff and secretive. He has a long beard and a hunched posture, giving him a wise and weathered appearance. Grandible's hands are rough from years of cheesemaking, symbolizing his connection to tradition and his role as a guardian of knowledge.

Madame Appeline

Madame Appeline is a regal and imposing figure who exudes power and control. She has a commanding presence, with sharp features and an air of mystery. Her face is carefully constructed, never revealing her true emotions. Madame Appeline's elegant attire and calculated gestures reflect her status as the ruler of Caverna.

Zouelle

Zouelle is a courtier in Madame Appeline's court who becomes entangled in Neverfell's journey. She is described as ethereal and graceful, with long flowing hair and a serene expression. Zouelle's eyes are sharp and intelligent, hinting at her cunning and manipulative nature.

Caverna Dwellers

The inhabitants of Caverna come in various shapes and sizes. Their appearances are often exaggerated or fantastical, reflecting the peculiarities of the underground city. Some have elongated limbs, while others have intricate patterns etched onto their skin. The Caverna Dwellers' appearances are a testament to the imaginative world-building in the book.

The Kleptomancer

The Kleptomancer is a shadowy figure, always lurking in the background. Their appearance is shrouded in mystery, with a cloak that conceals their face and body. The Kleptomancer's presence is unsettling, symbolizing the threat they pose to the characters' memories and identities.

Character Traits

Neverfell

  • Curious: Neverfell is constantly seeking answers and exploring the world around her. Her curiosity drives the plot forward and leads her to uncover the secrets of Caverna.
  • Genuine: Neverfell's face reflects her true emotions, making her an authentic and transparent character. She is incapable of deceit, which sets her apart from the manipulative world of Caverna.
  • Brave: Despite her vulnerability, Neverfell displays courage and resilience in the face of danger. She confronts her fears head-on, determined to protect herself and those she cares about.

Grandible

  • Wise: Grandible possesses a wealth of knowledge and acts as a mentor to Neverfell. His wisdom is evident in his guidance and teachings, imparting valuable life lessons to the young protagonist.
  • Protective: Grandible's role as a caretaker is reflected in his protective nature towards Neverfell. He shelters her from the dangers of Caverna and acts as a guiding figure in her life.

Madame Appeline

  • Manipulative: Madame Appeline's power lies in her ability to manipulate others to maintain control over Caverna. She carefully orchestrates events and uses her influence to further her own agenda.
  • Calculating: Every move Madame Appeline makes is calculated and deliberate. She rarely reveals her true intentions, always maintaining an air of mystery and control.

Zouelle

  • Enigmatic: Zouelle is a complex character, often shrouded in secrecy. Her motives and allegiances remain unclear, adding intrigue to the story and keeping the reader guessing.
  • Cunning: Zouelle is skilled at navigating the political landscape of Caverna. She uses her intelligence and resourcefulness to manipulate situations to her advantage.

Caverna Dwellers

  • Eccentric: The Caverna Dwellers possess unique and unconventional appearances, reflecting their eccentricities. They embrace their individualities, contributing to the fantastical and whimsical nature of the story.

The Kleptomancer

  • Mysterious: The Kleptomancer's true identity and motives are shrouded in mystery. They operate from the shadows, stealing memories and leaving chaos in their wake.

Character Background

Neverfell

Neverfell's background is initially a mystery to both the reader and herself. She wakes up in Grandible's cheese tunnels with no memory of her past or how she arrived there. As the story progresses, Neverfell's true origins are slowly revealed, uncovering a tragic and complex backstory that explains her unique appearance and abilities.

Grandible

Grandible's background is largely unknown to the reader. He is portrayed as a solitary figure, spending his days making cheese and staying hidden from the world. However, his role as a caretaker suggests a past filled with responsibility and duty.

Madame Appeline

Madame Appeline's background is intertwined with the history and politics of Caverna. As the ruler of the city, she has likely worked her way to the top, amassing power and influence along the way. The specifics of her background are not extensively explored in the book.

Zouelle

Zouelle's background remains mysterious throughout the story. Her presence in Madame Appeline's court indicates a certain level of privilege and influence, but her true origins and motives are never fully revealed.

Caverna Dwellers

The backgrounds of the Caverna Dwellers are diverse and varied, reflecting the unique nature of their appearances. Their backgrounds are not individually explored in detail, but their collective presence adds depth and richness to the world of Caverna.

The Kleptomancer

The true background and identity of the Kleptomancer are veiled in secrecy. The character's purpose is to create tension and serve as a formidable antagonist rather than to provide a detailed background.

Character Arcs

Neverfell

Neverfell's character arc is one of self-discovery and growth. She begins the story as an innocent and naive girl, unaware of her own past and the true nature of Caverna. Throughout her journey, Neverfell learns to trust her instincts, confront her fears, and embrace her uniqueness. Her arc culminates in a moment of empowerment and self-acceptance, where she defies the constraints of Caverna and finds her place in the world.

Grandible

Grandible's character arc is more subtle compared to Neverfell's. He starts as a guarded and secretive figure, reluctant to reveal his past or emotions. However, as his relationship with Neverfell deepens, he gradually opens up and allows himself to form a connection. Grandible's arc is one of emotional growth and the rediscovery of his own humanity through his bond with Neverfell.

Madame Appeline

Madame Appeline's character arc revolves around her struggle to maintain control over Caverna and protect her own secrets. She becomes increasingly desperate as events unfold, and her carefully constructed facade begins to crumble. Madame Appeline's arc highlights the vulnerability that lies beneath her powerful exterior and explores the consequences of her actions.

Zouelle

Zouelle's character arc is one of shifting allegiances and self-preservation. Initially presented as an enigmatic character, Zouelle's true motives become clearer as the story progresses. Her arc showcases her ability to adapt and survive in the cutthroat world of Caverna, ultimately leading her to make difficult choices that shape the outcome of the narrative.

Caverna Dwellers

While the Caverna Dwellers do not have individual character arcs, their interactions with Neverfell and their collective experiences contribute to the overall development of the story. They provide insights into the complexities and idiosyncrasies of the underground city, enriching the narrative with their unique perspectives.

The Kleptomancer

The Kleptomancer's character arc revolves around their relentless pursuit of power and control. Their actions escalate throughout the story, leading to a climactic confrontation with Neverfell. The Kleptomancer's arc serves as a catalyst for Neverfell's growth and plays a pivotal role in the resolution of the book.

Relationships

Neverfell and Grandible

The relationship between Neverfell and Grandible is one of mentorship and familial bond. Grandible takes Neverfell under his wing, teaching her valuable skills and providing guidance. Their relationship evolves from one of caution and distance to a deep emotional connection, as they come to rely on each other for support and understanding.

Neverfell and Madame Appeline

The relationship between Neverfell and Madame Appeline is one of power dynamics and manipulation. Madame Appeline sees Neverfell as a pawn in her political games and tries to control her. However, Neverfell's innate authenticity and resilience challenge Madame Appeline's authority, leading to a power struggle between the two.

Neverfell and Zouelle

The relationship between Neverfell and Zouelle is initially one of suspicion and distrust. Zouelle's true motives are unclear, and Neverfell must navigate their complex dynamic. As the story progresses, their relationship evolves, and they form a fragile alliance based on shared goals and mutual understanding.

Neverfell and the Caverna Dwellers

Neverfell's interactions with the Caverna Dwellers are varied and contribute to her growth as a character. Some Caverna Dwellers become her allies and friends, while others serve as obstacles or sources of information. These relationships highlight the diversity and intricacies of the underground society and provide contrasting perspectives for Neverfell to navigate.

Neverfell and the Kleptomancer

The relationship between Neverfell and the Kleptomancer is one of opposition and conflict. The Kleptomancer's relentless pursuit of power puts Neverfell in danger, leading to a climactic confrontation between the two characters. Their relationship serves as the central conflict of the story, driving the plot forward and testing Neverfell's strength and resilience.

In conclusion, "A Face Like Glass" presents a rich cast of characters with distinct roles, traits, and relationships. The diverse backgrounds and character arcs contribute to the exploration of themes such as identity, manipulation, and self-discovery. Frances Hardinge's vivid descriptions and intricate world-building bring these characters to life, making them memorable and engaging for readers.