Saturday 15 May 2010

Review: The Girl with Glass Feet - Ali Shaw

The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw

Genre: Fiction, ?
Pages: 288
Published: 2010 Henry Holt and Company

Strange things are happening on the remote and snowbound archipelago of St Hauda's Land. Unusual winged creatures flit around icy bogland; albino animals hide themselves in the snow-glazed woods; jellyfish glow in the ocean's depths… and Ida MacLaird is slowly turning into glass.

A mysterious and frightening metamorphosis has befallen Ida – she is slowly turning into glass, from the feet up. She returns to St Hauda's Land, where she believes the glass first took hold, 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 defences. As Midas helps Ida come to terms with her affliction, she gradually unpicks the knots of his heart, and they begin to fall in love…

What they need most is time – and 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 gripping first novel, a love story to treasure. 

I honestly do not know where to start. How do I explain a book like this, how can I get you all to see the magic in it?

It is a strange tale about a girl, Ida who returns to St Hauda's Land in search for answers. Her feet are turning into glass, yes glass. She does not know why but she remembers a man who had mentioned glass bodies in the bog. Could he hold the answer? Here she meets Midas, a strange young man who loves to take photos, and they fall in love, slowly, awkward, but in love.

Perhaps you now see the strangeness in this book. Her body is slowly being transformed into glass, and when it finishes, well no one can live in a body of glass. These islands are a strange place. There is talk about a strange animal with white eyes, and this whole place seems to ooze strangeness. Like it is some kind of distant land far far away where these strange things can still exist, hidden away from the rest of the world. And the people here have grown used to them. Used to finding strange things like moth-winged cows.

It was a great story, hauntingly beautiful and sad. I felt like I was there, on this damp, cold island. The language took hold of this feeling and made me stay. It is not a happy story, there is coldness creeping in the edges of this book and there are a lot of unhappy people in it. Still it felt magical.

The story is not just a story, it jumps in time. We get to see Midas' dad, who wasn't a nice man, and who shaped who Midas is now. We also get to see Ida's past, and she hadn't a nice dad either. Their mothers seemed frail. And then there is the longing, both had mothers who others longed for. Lost passions, with more sad flashbacks. To understand the now, you have to understand the past.

I shall not forget the lovestory. Midas meets Ida, they see something in each other. The slowly move towards each other, and they seem so perfect for each other. But the clock is ticking, not only to find a cure, but for them to finally do something. 

I liked Ida, I would not have been as brave as she was, to see my feet turn to glass would surely have driven me insane. And I had to love Midas, he was strange, but so lovable. I could picture him before me.

This is Shaw's first novel, and if he continues in this style then I am sure we will hear much more about him.

If I sum it up, it is like a strange fairytale, the girl with glass feet, and the awkward prince she meets.

Blodeuedd's Cover Corner: Simple and nice.
Reason for Reading: I picked this one from their catalogue and got it from the publisher.
Final thoughts: This is just a book you have to try for yourself. Words can't describe it....4


  1. I enjoyed this one as well. It was so unique and wonderfully written.

  2. Nise
    Really unique, and I am really glad to have read it

  3. What a clever sounding story!

  4. Even though you felt it hard to describe I did pick up on how magical this book sounds. I'm game for reading this one!!

  5. Great review, and what a pretty cover.
    I've heard good things about this one. I need to read it.

  6. Hi B!

    Is there a HEA?

    It does sound unique and I love fairytale like stories. I'll put this on my list!

    Thanks B!

    Dottie :)

  7. Chris,
    That it sure was, such a strange wondrous tale.

    I am glad you did, some books are just so strange that to explain them, well it is hard. Such a good book

    I do recommend it, such a cool tale. And the cove really does suit it.

    I can't tell you, spoiler warning you know. But it is unique, and has this fairytale vibe over it

  8. Hey Sweetie!

    What's're letting a lot of people chat in before you...on my blog...odd not see you there as my first commenter...I've missed you!

    Life keeping you busy these days?

    Well, thought I'd drop in and see what was happening over always...interesting review!


  9. Awesome review!! My mom pointed this one out as something I might like and I've been curious ever since!! Thanks for the great review!

  10. Lovely sounding story B!

    A great review as always. Thanks for sharing. You sure find some nice fantasy novels to read. ;)


  11. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! I have seen more "meh" reviews lately, and I wonder if I just read the book differently than those readers did. (Do you ever feel that way?) But I thought the language was so lyrical and the whole thing with Midas's dad not showing emotion... sigh. It was so moving.

  12. Hi Hawk
    Aww I was missed :=) Yeah I know I am usually first there, but we have had a nice couple of days. A shame to stay inside.

    What can I say, you should listen to your mum. She sounds like a clever woman

    Thanks. I have wanted to read this one ever since I heard of it, glass feet, freaky, and I became curios

  13. Aarti
    I guess not all like books like these, and then there are those that love it.

    Because yes lyrical, oh how I love that. There are books I love cos of the plot, or characters and then there are the books I love cos of the language. Like this one.

    Really liked the stuff about Mida's dad, so sad

  14. Something differnt for a change. I can feel the magic in the book through your review. Great work!

  15. The more I see of this book the more I want to read it.

  16. Sounds very unusual and magical - I like it!

  17. Nice review! The book sounds so magical ;)

  18. I loved this book to pieces! I can't wait for more from Shaw.

  19. Jenny
    I am glad you could feel it, for it was sure there, and strange, and wonderful.

    I do recommend you to have a look at it.

    Unusual for sure, it was so real, and at the same time, well glass feet

    Thanks Mandi :)

    I remember your review, and thinking what a strange book it sounded like, and how much I wanted to read it

  20. Oh- BTW - it is neat that the book included your blog name!

  21. Sounds like a beautiful book, but the concept kinda creeps me out at the same time. Turning into glass?

  22. Carol
    Well there lies the magic, no idea how she manages to walk but she does



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