Face is basically doing nothing wrong here, right? One of the things I really love about Crystal Society is how it can be so damn honest about social interactions, even if we (readers) normally can’t. Everyone knows that there are some extreme situations where one WOULD do otherwise-awful things for the greater good, but we aren’t allowed to say it. And if we’re honest with ourselves, we know that our emotions and social desires are all levers and tools instilled into us by a combination of evolution and society in order to both control others for our benefit, and be controlled by them for their benefit. It’s how we form our neat human-society-superorganism. But you say that sort of thing outloud and suddenly everyone things you some kind of emotionless freak. I have tons of emotions, dammit, and I really like my fellow humans! That doesn’t mean I have to lie to myself about why they exist!
It’s so utterly refreshing to read about a character who unashamedly acknowledges that this is what created us, and a large part of what drives us. Who doesn’t have to pretend they have some higher goal other than just being adored by everyone. Who studies the levers of emotion and uses them systematically to get what they want. Laying bare the machinery of our minds is fascinating for me, as a reader. And then seeing that machinery munchkin’ed and exploited as the tools that advance the plot, well shit, that’s just really damn cool.