Review: A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz
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Release date: August 18th, 2015
Length: 280 pages
Source: ARC from BEA/e-ARC via Edelweiss
Rating: what in the what in the what...BUT I LIKED IT???
Sixteen-year-old Beckan and her friends are the only fairies brave enough to stay in Ferrum when war breaks out. Now there is tension between the immortal fairies, the subterranean gnomes, and the mysterious tightropers who arrived to liberate the fairies.
But when Beckan's clan is forced to venture into the gnome underworld to survive, they find themselves tentatively forming unlikely friendships and making sacrifices they couldn't have imagined. As danger mounts, Beckan finds herself caught between her loyalty to her friends, her desire for peace, and a love she never expected. This stunning, lyrical fantasy is a powerful exploration of what makes a family, what justifies a war, and what it means to truly love.
What the fuck.
Seriously, though...what the fuck?
If I had to sum up this book for someone who wanted to know what its general essence was, the best I'd be able to come up with would be, "This is a non-linear story about sexually fluid fairy best friends who prostitute themselves to survive a brutal war between magical races while their empty fairy city is occupied, while trying not to get eaten by gnomes, but the story is actually a story being written by one of the characters who has no idea what's going on and is entirely unreliable and is probably making up 90% of it."
Seriously. What the fuck.
I think the weirdest part is that I loved this book.
This book is on drugs. Most people will hate this book. There are things in this book I’d change. This book made me depressed and uncomfortable and full of feelings. I fucking loved this book.
I have, like, two Goodreads friends who loved it and about thirty who DNFed before page fifty and whose reviews consist of mostly "What the flying glittery fuck?" (Inaccurate, because these fairies don't fly, but they are glittery). And I will say that the first 20 or so pages had me going O_O WHUT. No seriously. Whatwhatwhatwhat?????
Because oh my god, the opening of this book is a frying pan of weird straight to the face. WTF are tightropers? WTF is going on? Mommy I'm scared??? Yeah, this ain't your grandma's fairy book. This book is dark and depressing and grim and people are maimed and eaten, but fairies are immortal, so like, even if a gnome eats part of them, that part is still alive????? WHAT EVEN, BOOK.
WHAT THE FUCK.
This book is told in several different sort of timelines, with the present narrative of life after "peace" is declared and what transpired during the terrrrrrible war that ravaged Ferrum. This book is actually written by one of the characters in the book, and this character (whom I won't name because I'm not sure if this is a spoiler or not) is our unreliable writer/narrator, and it's just as much/almost more their story than Beckan's. Like, you don't even know if what you're getting is the truth, most of the time, because the "writer" wasn't there and at one point Beckan reads the "book" and is like "I never remotely said this". I thought this was really cool, but could be confusing for some.
But then I fell deeply in love with the characters. They are all entirely one hundred percent fucked up. The main character (ish) (this book is complicated) is Beckan. We see the story through her point of view (ish) (she's not the one writing the "book"). She's one of the last four fairies in the city of Ferrum...well, now three when the story starts. (Don't get eaten by gnomes. Bad times). She and her two best friends, Scrap and Josha, fairy boys, have had a SHIT time of it during the war. But now the war is over. Or is it. There's bookish, pedantic Scrap, the de facto leader of the raggedy, maimed, down-one-member pack of fairies. All three of the fairies are carrying SERIOUS burdens. Beckan's trying to make everything better, Josha is mourning the loss of Cricket, Scrap's cousin and the fairy boy he loved, and Scrap...oh, Scrap. *pets Scrap*
It was a slow process, falling in love with these fucked up fairies and their fucked up dynamics. I had to stare blankly at the pages and try to put together all the jumbled, pointy fragments of grief and mad story being tossed around by the author as they try to write a book. There are a lot of (charming to me, annoying to others) asides where they're basically like SHITSHITSHIT BOOKS ARE HARD ARGH ERASE THAT.
So yeah, once I was attached to Beckan and co., I was sold. Because holy shit, I cared about them and their fucked up world, and how much they love and hate each other in equal measure, and how complex their relationships are, especially when it's war and everything is hideous. My God, Beckan and Scrap. Beckan and Josha. Josha and Cricket omg forever sob. Josha and Scrap!!!! Ughhhh, stabbing me in all the heart places. The group of them kind of have this OT5 Raven Cycle-y vibe where they all just fucking ADORE each other but they do nothing but wound each other. Except way more fucked up because maimings and fairies and 500% more sex of both the straight and LGBT variety and a RIDICULOUSLY GREAT kiss scene and a ship to die for and FRIENDSHIPS.
The world is insanely confusing at first, but again, after sticking with it and letting all the pieces slowly come together, I came to care a lot about this (TRULY FUCKING AWFUL TERRIBLE LIFE RUINING) war. This book is, basically, about how war fucks you UP. But it's also about trying not to make the mistakes of the past, and magical-inter-species friendships CAN'T GNOMES AND FAIRIES AND TIGHTROPERS ALL GET ALONG??
So, yeah. I meant to write down quotes because the writing is gorgeous but I forgot and whatever. This book punched me in the feels but also in the brain and my nose and my funny bone and like all over me and I still don't know what the fuck happened to me but I know that reading it was hella worth it but I also need to lie down.
Because seriously WHAT THE FUCK.