Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Review: A History of Glitter and Blood

Title: A History of Glitter and Blood
Author: Hannah Moskowitz
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: August 18, 2015

Synopsis: Life in the city of Ferrum has its hazards for a fairy like Beckan. Gnomes will try to eat you, with the added unpleasantness of the fact that you'll be able to feel the appendage as it is digested. Fairies are immortal- they cannot die. Not even when they've been shredded to pieces. Beckan stayed when almost all of the other fairies left, and survives as a sex worker for the same species that would eat her. Making your way in a city where you're on of the few fairies who haven't left, in a city where there's now a power imbalance is a challenge. Beckan soon finds herself working with members of both her own species and others toward a common goal.

Out of Ten: 6/10

Review at a Glance: A bizarre story, told in a bizarre way, which was overall fairly engaging.

Review: This was such a weird book. Seriously, so weird. It wasn't a kind of weird that I loved, but it also wasn't a kind of weird I wished banished from the face of the Earth. I think.

This book basically intentionally plays with doing all of the things authors are advised against doing when they write, with mixed results. The idea of this novel is that it is meant to feel incomplete. The issue is that it does, and that wasn't a reading experience that I particularly enjoyed. The book deliberately jumps tenses and narrators in a disorienting way, especially because we have two layers of narration: the points of view from which the story is told, and the "author" of the story's own notes and thoughts. It takes some getting used to, so this book got off to a disorienting start.

This books is designed to be viewed almost as a found object- as if a notebook containing an early draft of a story/history were found and printed, with various pages of other books, and drawings inside. I generally enjoy having drawings and such in my novels, but, combined with the writing style, there was a bit of a scattered feeling.

The world Hanna Moskowitz creates is a strange one, one that we only see peaks of. I did find myself wondering what the world beyond Ferrum was meant to be like. There are mentions of other cities (where the fairies go), but it seems like a very isolated place, and I cannot imagine how the rest of the world functioning in a manner similar to this city. I must admit I had a hard time seeing why Beckan, Scrap, Josha, and Cricket stayed, because they suffered so much for a place that would inevitably destroy them. The desire to stay in your home only stretches so far.

This is definitely more of a mature YA novel (the main characters are sex workers, who frequently come face to face with violence, profanity is used consistently). The story is set in a dark world, and is often told in a very stark way. While there isn't really magic, each of the three races has fantastical character traits, which were quite interesting.

Overall I found this novel to be quite interesting, despite my mixed feelings about some of the story and storytelling style.

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