An inventive and richly visual novel about young lovers on a quest to find a cure for a magical ailment, perfect for readers and listeners of Alice Hoffman.
Strange things are happening on the remote and snowbound archipelago of St. Haudas Land. Unusual winged creatures flit around the icy bogland, albino animals hide themselves in the snow-glazed woods, and Ida Maclaird is slowly turning into glass. Ida is an outsider in these parts, a mainlander who has visited the islands only once before. Yet during that one fateful visit the glass transformation began to take hold, and now she has returned in search of a cure.
Midas Crook is a young loner who has lived on the islands his entire life. When he meets Ida, something about her sad, defiant spirit pierces his emotional defenses. As Midas helps Ida come to terms with her affliction, she gradually unpicks the knots of his heart. Love must be paid in precious hours and, as the glass encroaches, time is slipping away fast. Will they find a way to stave off the spread of the glass?
The Girl with Glass Feet is a dazzlingly imaginative and magical first novel, a love story to treasure.
©2011 Ali Shaw (P)2011 Audible, Inc.
"Fantastically imagined.... The hybrid form of the book—fairy tale, myth, psychological realism and fantasy—impresses. But Shaw’s most delightful offerings are the vivid details he provides to make the magical real.... As Ida turns to glass, Midas must continue his own transformation, from hardened to human. The end of the book, saturated with color and emotion, is risky and brave like the message it imparts. Only a heart of glass would be unmoved." (New York Times Book Review)
"Ali Shaw has created a memorable addition to [the] fabulist pantheon in his gorgeous first novel." (Washington Post)
"Ali Shaw offers the rare delight of a world freshly and richly imagined.... The story is soothingly spellbinding, pulling the reader with steady delicacy into the hearts and minds of its characters amid the enthralling murmur of the fantastical." (The San Francisco Book Review)
What I love about this book:
The imagery, the symbolism, the magical components (I love the idea of a creature that turns everything it sees pure white!) , and the subtle relationships between each of the characters (the connections all feel like glass!). I also really enjoyed the conclusion of this book, it was not a perfectly happy one, but it was perfect for the story. I wraps up wonderfully, and made me feel very satisfied, if very sad.
What I didn't like about this book:
The symbolism felt a little too obvious to me, like it was hitting you over the head. Also, I wasn't quite sure that I understood exactly why Ida falls for Midas, it's the only relationship in this book that isn't wonderfully nuanced. I understand that he needs her for a lot of reasons (From that point, the book is very strong), but it feels a bit weak to say that she feels a draw to him. The book also moves pretty slowly, which left me feeling a bit like saying, "Yes, I understand, but what happens now?" Or wanting to skip over scenes that I felt were unnecessary to get back to the story.
Overall, I thought that this was a nice book, and I'm glad to have listened to it, but I also don't think I'll be listening to it over and over.
Overall, I did not like this book. The book is beautifully written. However, it is horribly sad. The depressing plot wouldn't have put me off completely, but in the book, not much is explained, and it moves at a snail's pace.
There are two main characters: Ida and Midas. This is their love story. Then, there is a character who used to be in love with Midas' mother and a character who used to be in love with Ida's mother. This characterization seemed redundant.
Nothing is fully explained. Ida is turning to glass. There are tiny bulls with moth wings. There is a creature that turns every being it sees pure white. None of these phenomena are explained. I don't expect things to be fully explained in a fairy tale, but some explanation is necessary, particularly when all the characters are scrambling to stop Ida from turning to glass completely.
Beyond the explanation, there needed to be more plot. The book felt like a short story that the author kept trying to expand. There are just not enough exciting incidents. Instead, what we get is talking and apologizing and explaining and sitting around talking some more. This book had so much potential, and the story basis could have gone in a lot of different directions. Instead, it just went nowhere, leaving me depressed and disappointed.
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