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A Face Like Glass - Discussion through "The Morning Room"

A Face Like Glass
Discussing through "The Morning Room"


A Face Like Glass

No spoilers beyond "The Morning Room" in this post!
If someone forgets and posts a spoiler, the comment will be screened with a reminder note.
Feel free to repost your comment without the spoilers in there!  :)

=== As a note, the calendar has been updated with the new chapter listings. We will be reading approximately 1/4 of the book per week ===


Reminder of where we are in the story:
Neverfell is found by Master Grandible wandering his cellars. He discovers that she does not have Faces but naturally shows her emotions and instructs her to wear a mask at all times when visitors come. Neverfell grows up here, never realizing that she does not have a need for Faces.

She meets Madame Appeline when she calls on Master Grandible for a favor, and is taken in by her sad Face. She wishes to help Appeline and so Neverfell sends her a sample of a cheese to help her behind Grandible's back. When he finds out she's done this he is at a loss, feeling that she has put the both of them in danger.

Neverfell chases a rabbit to a hidden hole and finds an exit to the caverns she has lived in her whole life. She follows the rabbit and hopes she can find Madame Appeline and ask for the sample back, as she wasn't supposed to give it in the first place. Neverfell runs into a girl named Zouelle who hopes to use Neverfell in one of her schemes. The scheme fails when Neverfell's face is revealed and she is sent away to be questioned.

Someone attempts to kill Neverfell during the questioning, and then she is rescued/bought by Maxim Childersin. She is only with his family for a short time when she reveals bits and pieces of old memories. Neverfell asks Maxim if there is a way to learn if her memories were taken from her by a Wine. He gives her a sample, but all she can remember is being pulled away from someone.

Childersin says that since she wants to find out about her past at any cost that he will bring her to the banquet (the same banquet at which the Stackfalter Sturton cheese is being revealed) to see if she remembers anything about any of the attendees, or if they seem to remember her.



Ideas for discussion:
1) What do you think of the story so far? Any thoughts about the various characters (Neverfell, Grandible, Appeline, Childerson, Zouelle, etc)?

2) Why do you think Childersin is helping Neverfell?

3) Is there anything about the world this book takes place in that you are hoping to learn more of before the book is over?

4) How you you feel about Grandible's choice to keep Neverfell hidden away? How about his choice to pull himself away from the Court?

5) Anything else you want to say?


Next Discussion:
Monday, January 27th
Through "A Drop of Madness"

Comments

1) What do you think of the story so far? Any thoughts about the various characters (Neverfell, Grandible, Appeline, Childerson, Zouelle, etc)?
The story is not bad, although a little slow and rather long (surprised this was supposed to be for middle schoolers). Not sure what to make of all the characters yet. Neverfell is definitely interesting, although I feel she is a bit whiny at times.

2) Why do you think Childersin is helping Neverfell?
Hmm.. I'm not sure, although it seems like there is more to the story that he is telling Neverfell, based on his discussion with Zouelle. I'm wondering if Childersin has encountered Neverfell before.

3) Is there anything about the world this book takes place in that you are hoping to learn more of before the book is over?
I'm hoping for more magical elements. I want to find out what other members in the court do, and more of the crazy things they create.

4) How you you feel about Grandible's choice to keep Neverfell hidden away? How about his choice to pull himself away from the Court?
At first glance it doesn't sound too humane, but I wonder if there was more to it. He seems to strongly dislike the Court, which I'm sure we will find out more about in the coming chapters.

5) Anything else you want to say?
I hope the book picks up a bit. I feel like not too much has happened yet, and we're already 1/4 of the way through.
I agree that not a whole lot has happened yet. I hope it picks up now that Neverfell is with Childersin!
1) I don't really know WHAT to think! Everything and everyone is so topsy-turvy. It is certainly one of the most original stories I've ever read.

2) I'm sure he must have his own agenda, nefarious or otherwise. It's clear that he does not have Neverfell's best interests at heart.

3) So many questions! I really want to know if this is supposed to be dystopian Earth, or some other world or alternate reality. I want to know how and why this civilization wound up underground, and how and why there are still civilizations above ground. Why is no one able to do facial expressions without extensive and expensive training? How and why did Neverfell wind up underground with her memories wiped?

4) Considering what the rest of the underground society is like, hiding Neverfell was probably the lesser of other evils. It wasn't the best of upbringings, but Grandible seems to care for her well-being at least. After seeing the Court in action, pulling away from it seems like the most sane thing to do.
Woops I just realized that there was a change in the chapters we were supposed to read! I'd already read up through the original chapter, Half-Life, last week. XD But I don't think I talked about anything spoilery.
You didn't say anything spoilery :) and yeah adjusted the chapters a bit- the book was much longer than I had realized! Unfortunately we weren't able to get a hard copy and there is no audiobook, and usually we use one of those in order to figure out the discussions!
So how were you eventually able to breakdown the chapters?

Also, I always wondered - does someone read the book ahead of time and write the summaries? Or are they pulled from somewhere?
I ended up just using the kindle version of the book to break chapters down, but normally I don't like to do that since it's hard to translate real pages to ebook pages without getting to see the thickness of each section and how large each page is. (I mean, I know I can technically see the size of each page and can flip to see how many kindle pages = 1% but I dunno, it's much harder for me to judge that way)

We actually just read along with everyone else! Then we'll spend some time on discussion day writing up the post and making up questions (or sometimes researching other book clubs to see what kind of questions they asked - questions are definitely my weak point :P). Every once in a while we might post-date a post so it gets posted on the right day if we won't be around, or might email the summary/questions to another mod to post :)
I dunno if I actually answered the question :P I guessed that 3 discussions would be good (approx 33% on kindle each, just go to table of contents and find what chapter ends close to that :)), but once I started reading it seemed too slow. And eurii still doesn't have the hard copy she ordered, so I just decided to split it into 4 discussions!
I'm really surprised that this book is so hard to get a hold of, it was only published in 2012! Very weird!
Yeah, it looks like it was published by a Australian publisher and maybe it hasn't had a paperback run in the US?
1) Neverfell is sweet if terribly naive. I am sure this will change, or at least I hope it will! I can't believe the story will remain very compelling if Neverfell never gets a clue.

I feel Madame Appeline is more sinister than Neverfell thinks she is, but on the other hand I am guessing everyone except maybe Master Grandible is more sinister than she thinks they are.

2) I wish I had the slightest clue but I'm sure he has some idea about how this is going to make him go further at court.

3) How come none of these people have any contact with the outside world? They know of the existence of those people. I'm guessing someone who is able to go to the outside world had stolen Neverfell, but who knows.

4) Not a great choice and certainly doesn't seem like a long term one with someone who has a curiosity like Neverfell's (and keeping her in the dark so she feels she should have to find out things on her own... sigh) but given his own aversion to the court I think he felt he was just protecting her. From his point of view she must look pretty screwed right about now.
1) What do you think of the story so far? Any thoughts about the various characters (Neverfell, Grandible, Appeline, Childerson, Zouelle, etc)?
I love the writing style. I find the story to be slow, but delightfully odd and original. Neverfell is sweet. I hate Zouelle, and I think she is just completely self-serving.

2) Why do you think Childersin is helping Neverfell?
I really don't know, but I want to!

3) Is there anything about the world this book takes place in that you are hoping to learn more of before the book is over?
Eee, so much I want to know. Why are people underground? Do the abovegorund people know about Caverna? What is Neverfell's role in everything...

4) How you you feel about Grandible's choice to keep Neverfell hidden away? How about his choice to pull himself away from the Court?
The choice to pull away from the all-evil "court" seems to be a common one in a lot of stories, so I am not all that intrigued by it in particular. But I think he knows more about Neverfell than he is letting on.
So very late, but catching up.

1) I'm loving it so far. It feels like a fantastic fairy tale, and I'm really loving the worldbuilding and the characters so far. Especially Neverfell. She's so naive, and yet it doesn't feel 'too stupid to live' like it often does with YA heroines; I think because her naivete is so... naked and honest. Zouelle is the type of character you love to hate. I'm still on the fence about Madame Appeline and Childersin.

2) I suspect Childersin is up to no good at all, but it's hard to tell at this point. He seems so nice and is treating Neverfell kindly, but it's pretty obvious he has some other use in mind for her, beyond just buying her silence to protect Zouelle.

3) Oh, I want to know everything! Why are they underground? Who lives above-ground? What happened to cause the separation between above- and below-ground? Is it supposed to be a post-apocalyptic planet Earth, or a completely fictional fantasy world?

4) Grandible is a great example of the 'grumpy old mentor' archetype. It was pretty obvious he had developed a great affection for Neverfell over the years. I'm so sad they didn't get a proper goodbye. I suspect Neverfell's letter and the rabbit that she sent back from Childersin's will not reach him either.

As far as locking Neverfell away, I think his heart was in the right place, knowing what he knew about the Court and his enemies. He made the only decision he thought would keep her safe. He knew if he let her be discovered, at best she would be like an animal in a zoo, an outsider and an oddity for people to poke and stare at. At worst, she would have been imprisoned and possibly killed. So he did what he thought was best, even though what happened was that it only made her more curious and more rebellious.

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