Customer Reviews


117 Reviews
5 star:
 (51)
4 star:
 (23)
3 star:
 (13)
2 star:
 (17)
1 star:
 (13)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strange, moving and brilliant
I thought this was an unusual story that was beautifully written and stayed with me long after I'd finished it. I do agree in part with some of the reviews but the book is described as a fairy story for adults and it is just that. I found Ida's condition and the random elements of magic and mystery connected to the Islands perfectly in keeping with the whole story. I...
Published on 16 Aug. 2010 by Kat

versus
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Frosty Fairy Tale
"The Girl with the Glass Feet" is a grown up, European fairy tale set on a fictional northern archipelago where nature asserts itself in strange ways. Although a magical tale, the story is modern, containing real life experiences. I believe it's Ali Shaw's debut novel after his English Lit. degree.

I don't think I was sufficiently in touch with my imagination...
Published on 27 July 2010 by Isola


‹ Previous | 1 212 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strange, moving and brilliant, 16 Aug. 2010
This review is from: The Girl with Glass Feet (Paperback)
I thought this was an unusual story that was beautifully written and stayed with me long after I'd finished it. I do agree in part with some of the reviews but the book is described as a fairy story for adults and it is just that. I found Ida's condition and the random elements of magic and mystery connected to the Islands perfectly in keeping with the whole story. I didn't feel any need to question them or expect an explanation. As a first novel I thought it was exceptional and I enjoyed it far more than many stories I've read by more established and experienced authors who, in my opinion, excel in writing ability but don't necessarily have the same imagination to create such a strange and beautiful story. Read it and make your own mind up, but definitely an author to watch out for.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Frosty Fairy Tale, 27 July 2010
By 
Isola (Wiltshire UK) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Girl with Glass Feet (Paperback)
"The Girl with the Glass Feet" is a grown up, European fairy tale set on a fictional northern archipelago where nature asserts itself in strange ways. Although a magical tale, the story is modern, containing real life experiences. I believe it's Ali Shaw's debut novel after his English Lit. degree.

I don't think I was sufficiently in touch with my imagination the first time I read this book - and after a second read I still can't connect with miniature flying cattle!! However, this is a hypnotic novel with an atmosphere all of its own and Shaw writes finely honed prose. His writing is very English and the story is told at a gentle pace. I think it's a young person's read, but that could be because the author himself is only in his twenties.

Exuberant Ida MacLaird, from the mainland, meets an introverted photographer, Midas Crook who was born and bred on St. Hauda's. She tries to rescue Midas from the past and he tries to rescue Ida from the future. If you changed her condition to an earthly incurable desease, I feel the story would stand alone - without the flying cattle!

But this is an imaginitive first novel full of love, but also the power, limitations and consequences of love. Although only around 300 pages it isn't an easy, or even a comfortable read at times, but it is hauntingly beautiful when Shaw paints his fictional setting in those cold Nordic hues.

I found most of the characters interesting as they were flawed; not all likable, although they were engaging - but oh how the author makes the women suffer! I also think there must be 'something' in the names of the progtagonists, 'Midas' & 'Ida' besides touch - as her name is within his, but I didn't work it out.

For me, Shaw's debut novel lacks experience, but is rich in invention; set to improve.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Give in to the magic, 14 Mar. 2011
By 
WordWoman (Edinburgh, UK) - See all my reviews
As someone who generally avoids books labelled 'fantasy' or 'fairytale', I had some misgivings about a novel whose blurb describes a girl turning to glass. However, thanks to Ali Shaw's vivid depiction of the mythical St Hauda's Land (which I pictured as one of the more remote Scottish islands) and the engaging characters at the chilly heart of the story, I was easily able to suspend my disbelief and get swept up in the magic.

Following a mysteriously troubled childhood, Midas Crook exists as if he were the one made of glass - shielding himself from human interaction in his isolated cottage, and only engaging with the world from the safety of behind his camera lens. Until, that is, he meets island visitor Ida MacLaird, who shakes him out of his solitude. Ida is warm, passionate and full of life, but her strange condition - steadily turning to glass from the toes up - threatens to stop her in her tracks.

Together, this strange pair embark on a quest to find a cure for the spreading glass. This leads them to the eccentric Henry Fuwa, a man who breeds mythical creatures and holds the key to the secrets of the island - including some uncomfortable truths about Midas' own family.

I found this a capitvating read that took me to another world: although elements of it are pure fantasy, the feelings of love and loss it evokes are firmly rooted in reality. It only loses one star for a few loose ends (Henry's moth-winged cattle initially seemed to have huge significance, but that plot line ultimately fizzled out) and for the slightly jarring character of Denver, an overly precocious child.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Magical and mystical story for adults, 26 Sept. 2011
By 
Alison "Kindle Allie" (Derbyshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This is such an unusual book and although it is one that I enjoyed overall, it may be somewhat of an acquired taste. Sometimes I felt confused and irritated by the strangeness and other times I was charmed and fascinated. It feels strangely disconnected from time and place but then is rudely brought back to modern day by the mention of mobile phones etc. I often thought there were hidden meanings that I was just missing and that if you saw through the words there was some other imagery or meaning. I couldn't get it though, maybe it wasn't there?!

The text is very poetic and there are often very beautiful descriptions, it does interrupt the flow of the story though and sometimes I felt a little frustrated wanting to skip read some of it. I don't tend to read books more than once, but this is probably one that would benefit from a more careful second read.

I would recommend this book as a piece of unusual contemporary fiction to readers that like to try something different.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An accomplished and poetic debut novel, 22 May 2009
By 
DB Roberts (Abingdon, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
'The Girl with Glass Feet' is an accomplished and beautifully written first novel. The snowbound archipelago of St Hauda's Land is poetically rendered and elements of fantasy or magical realism are effectvely counterpointed by a keen photographer's eye for naturalistic detail and a well judged sense of psychological realism.
The fantastical nature of Ida MacLaird's predicament is brought to life by the quality of the writing and an admirable attention to anatomical detail, making suspension of disbelief surprisingly easy. This is some achievement and a major strength of the book. Ali Shaw makes you believe in and care about his characters, as a result this is a moving and emotionally satisfying read.
In some ways the whole novel is an extended poem to a landscape that is both real and fantastical and echoes with it's character's past and present, their potential and their frozen emotional states. Ida's presence is transformative, most particularly for Midas, just as she herself is transformed in a terrible and tragic way.
At times along the way, the merging of reality and fantasy does throw up the odd inconsistency and unanswered question. But then, as Ian McCulloch once said when asked about his lyrics, "Who wants to explain poetry?"
Read it and enjoy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Annoying and unfulfilling, 15 April 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Girl with Glass Feet (Paperback)
CAUTION - POTENTIAL SPOILERS (I.E. I DO REFER TO THE ENDING)
Hoping that this would be an enchanting and interesting 'adult fairytale,' I purchased this for my Kindle - what a huge disappointment. The only positive thing about it was the descriptions of St Hauda's Land and the way Ida's body is becoming glacial, but even these descriptions got tiresome at times.

I didn't care about any of the characters. For example, all the men are the same and all seem to merge into one big 'emotionally scarred' male character. I didn't think any passion shone through with any of them - they were all just too scared all the time. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but you can't beat a big strong alpha male character!

My main frustration with this, however, is that the story just does not progress at all. We know right at the start that Ida is turning to glass...and this is all we know at the end too. WHY does she turn to glass in the first place? What can cure it, nothing?! I thought something in the book might provide some sort explanation along the way, perhaps giving clues to us throughout before the climax, ending chapters on cliffhangers...but that is not the case. What exactly are the moth-winged cattle, for example? What is the point of introducing all these fantastical ideas without linking them in some way to the main storyline? This must be the only book I've ever read with no 'denouement' whatsoever - and it leaves you with a massive sense of unfulfillment and a feeling that you've just wasted hours (well, days even) of your life. I. just. don't. get. it!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully strange..., 11 Dec. 2010
This debut contemporary novel from Ali Shaw is somewhat weird and wonderful. Its is a melancholic love story with two main characters, Midas Crook and Ida MacLarid. Shaw's unique writing style successfully takes the reader into another world, with his unique and original idea other than the main story line that Ida is slowly turning into glass. However, I found myself unable to absorb all of these imaginary concepts, perhaps in parts he includes a few too many. In numerous places throughout the novel, I found myself feeling a little lost and confused, unable to grab hold of these ideas, such as ''moth winged bulls'' which ''drifted to sleep on the dank threads of its makeshift bed''.

The main thing which kept me grounded in this novel was the underlining love story. I felt sympathy for both characters, as they are perhaps a little excluded from the world. For Midas, photography is his form of expression, although branded by the outside as an 'unemployable photographer'. However, it is interesting that it is when he is free and able to express his emotion, he meets Ida.

Shaw often uses juxtapositions, showing us magical images then delving deeper into something that isn't quite so beautiful. Ida, the protagonist, appears like a free spirit she ''sat neatly on a flat rock'' as she ''looked like she'd stepped through the screens of a 1950's movie'' but up close her ''irises were titanium grey''. Even though it is hard not to feel sympathy for a character that is turning into glass, I felt there was always a distance and I could not fully comprehend and relate to some of the characters in the novel. For me it was not an easy read, I found myself confused and lost in the storyline numerous times. However, Shaw's fantastic ideas should not be criticised but perhaps just toned down slightly, as this would make it easier to digest for the reader. If you enjoy a deeper, stranger take on a magical love story then this is the book for you; but unfortunetly not for me.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastically strange, 3 Oct. 2010
By 
S. S. Turner (U.K) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Be under no illusions that this book is strange. And by strange, I mean fantastic! In a world of stories that are relatively the same, just with differing names, there is no other story like this. And that's a good thing. I don't want to read yet another vampire novel, or boy meets girl and 'will they get together' story? I wanted to read something completely different, and this is a book that delivers. Just as the title suggests it's all about a girl who discovers that she is slowly turning to glass. As she searches for a cure for this peculiar illness, she discovers minature bulls with wings, glowing jellyfish and other glass people hidden in a murky bog. If you want to try something different then this is the book for you. However if you're after another boy meets girl book, then steer clear.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Glassy glimmering, 16 May 2010
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Girl is slowly turning into a glass statue.

Ironically, the central story is sometimes one of the less weird aspects of "The Girl With Glass Feet," a delicate spun-glass novel by Ali Shaw that barrels over the border of magical realism right into all-out fantasy. Shaw's prose is nothing short of exquisite, but the magical atmosphere also serves to make the characters -- even the protagonists -- feel like elegant little dolls, and not like people.

Midas Crook is the town weirdo, that guy who can only connect with the world around him through the lovely pictures he takes. But then he encounters Ida, a beautiful, drably-dressed girl wearing enormous boots, and after taking a picture of her, he falls in love. Unfortunately, Ida did not come to the island because she wanted to -- her feet have turned into glass, and apparently it's going to spread upward until her entire body is transmuted as well.

Naturally, Midas joins her on her quest to find some sort of cure for her affliction, which she believes can be found on the island that she originally came from. As the two race against time to find a cure, they encounter a strange web of island inhabitants -- and love begins to bloom between the two. But is it worth loving someone when they only have a brief time left?

My brain wants to call "The Girl With Glass Feet" a tale of magical realism, but it veers so far into the realm of fantasy that the tag barely fits. There are tiny flying cows, glassy corpses buried in the mud, and a creature that turns everything white -- and of course, the central love story is complicated by the fact that Ida's body is slowly turning into a glass statue, irreversibly and inexorably.

The loveliest part of this novel is the prose, and how Shaw painstakingly sketches this magical island. It's all white snow, pale shadows and grey seas, with an eerie dreamlike quality that makes it feel almost like a tiny world unto itself. The problem is while the eerie, delicate prose is enough, the fanciful additions feel like overkill. The writing is exquisite by itself, but the flying cows and magical creatures wandering over the island make it feel like the author is saying, "See? Magical stuff here! It's such a weird, otherworldly place! PAY ATTENTION!"

Unfortunately, these magic elements serve no purpose except as a sparkly backdrop for the story. What's more, the atmosphere is dampened by what eventually happens with Ida and Midas... and while I won't reveal what happens, it's not exactly the stuff of fairy tales.

And Shaw does an excellent job sketching out lovely, detailed outlines of characters -- Ida's busy active life is shattered by her weird glass-feet disease, and Midas learns to deal with life outside the range of a camera. However, often these characters feel distant and remote, and many of the supporting cast feel more like pretty pale dolls that are being moved around the story. It's hard to connect with them.

"The Girl With Glass Feet" is a bittersweet, exquisitely-written little story filled with glass, snow and pale magic... but somehow, the characters never quite come to life. But Ali Shaw is definitely a talent to watch, once she polished up her storytelling skills.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beauty in simplicity, 17 Aug. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Girl with Glass Feet (Paperback)
I read this a little while ago and I have to say this is certainly no deep or meaning read here...certainly not a intellectually inspiring classic...BUT it is indeed a magical tale of two young lonely people and in its simplicity, it is the story that wields desperation, surrealism, hope, love, desire and despair. Sometimes that's all you need for a wonderful story to engulf you.

I could not put the book down because it is just such a truly simplistic tender love story which just carries you along wishing and hoping but always really knowing what a heartbreaking ending there will be. Absolutely charming little book that I am so glad to have discovered.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 212 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Girl with Glass Feet
The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw (Paperback - 1 Jan. 2010)
£7.19
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews