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Books for Review should be sent to: Don D'Ammassa, 323 Dodge Street, East Providence, RI 02914

 LAST UPDATE 4/13/17

A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge, Amulet, 2017, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-4197-2484-8

This very unusual fantasy novel was first published for young adults in the UK in 2012. The population of this fantasy world is divided into two. One group lives in a vast underground city where the local artisans can create a wide variety of unusual products. The others live on the surface, but they have a peculiar problem. Their faces all lack expression unless they hire a facesmith to teach them how to alter their faces to mimic actual emotions, even ones they do not actually feel. When a young woman appears whose face is so disturbing that she is forced to wear a mask at all times, it upsets the status quo despite the precautions taken to prevent that from happening. The story is very unusual and certainly makes a pleasant break from the usual runs of castles, sorcerers, rampaging barbarians, and dragons both good and bad. I found the young woman's personality grated on me at times, but otherwise this was a very interesting and entertaining outing. 4/13/17

The Gears of Faith by Gabrielle Harbowy, Tor, 2017, $14.99, ISBN 978-0-7653-8440-9

A Pathfinder tie-in novel, though that's pretty irrelevant. Basically this is traditional sword and sorcery set in a fairly standard fantasy world. This particular book has a female knight as its main protagonist. Her partner is a gnome woman - a healer of sorts - who is a somewhat atypical companion for a hero. The two are engaged in trying to figure out who stole a magical artifact so that they can recover it. They aren't the only ones looking for it either, and if there were oddsmakers in this world, they'd be far from favorites. But they have the author on their side. The tone is very light, although the main plot is serious enough. This was a good, competent fantasy adventure that is rather designedly predictable. 4/7/17