Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz

a history of glitter and blood
A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz
Released: August 4th 2015
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Source: ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads | Amazon

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. (from Goodreads)

I am not entirely sure what just happened. One moment I was floundering to figure out what the hell was happening in this book, deciphering where the narrative was, dealing with a bossy storyteller trying to tell me what to do and believe, and very nearly giving up on the book. Then, suddenly, about 25% in, I couldn't stop reading. Like, I don't remember eating. I do remember being extremely uncomfortable in my position and just not being able to care because I needed to finish reading the page before I could think about moving something as trivial as my numb leg. And my eyes hurt. But I could not stop reading. 

Honestly? This book seems like this huge dysfunctional mess of  so much happening all at once, and yet... it some how manages to be cohesive and whole and unified. And it's just plain crazy-awesome-weird how well it works - if you only give it the chance/time/patience to work

What I didn't like...
The structure of the book was difficult to get used to. It jumps back and forth between past and present with no indication other than context clues, and you are expected to figure it out for yourself. I actually have a love/hate relationship with that. On the one hand, I appreciate a book that expects me to keep up, while on the other it made for an extremely bumpy beginning. 

There is also the matter of random 1st person interludes, like the narrator putting in his 2 cents every now and then. That was disconcerting at first, but I actually came to appreciate those as the book progressed and I came to understand who the 1st person POV was. 

Then there was a whole lot about this book that made me uncomfortable. And when I realized I didn't care that it made me uncomfortable, that made me even more uncomfortable. This book is gritty, to say the least. It deals with issues like war, prostitution, murder in various forms - all with no regard for the reader's comfort. But the reader has to realize that's the point

What I did like...
As it turns out, everything that I didn't like morphed into what I loved about this book. I LOVED the unorthodox story-telling. I LOVED the untrustworthy narrator. I ended up loving that I had no clue what was going to happen next even though I was reading from both the past and the present and I knew how the past would end. 

But most of all I love the relationships in this book. I should say character development, but these characters are so weirdly dependent on each other that each one wouldn't be developed without the others. 

I think it's unfair that the summary only mentions Beckan. That is so grossly unfair, because she is nothing without Josha and Cricket and Tier and Rig and Piccolo. And Scrap. I don't understand how none of them, especially Scrap, aren't mentioned in the summary. But then, if I think about it, it's also kind of perfect that it only mentions Beckan (it would be too spoilery to say why). The love that these characters feel for each other is ridiculous, in the best way possible. They are in love with being in love with each other. But in the times that they live, in the situations they are in... well, it's means for some excellent, take-my-breath-away tension.

I loved how the war and racial tensions are intertwined into these characters' definitions. People are not the same during wartime as they are in peace. And in this grotesque, horrific wartime world that Hannah Moskowitz created - where fairies live forever but none of them are whole, where gnomes eat fairies, and tightropers think they know what's best - nothing can ever stay the same, no matter how hard Beckan and her pack try. 

This is a story about holding on and letting go and never being the same. When I started it, I didn't think I could possibly like this story, and somehow I ended up loving it. I have a feeling these characters will stay in my heart for a long time. 

If you are a fan of gritty, whimsical, romantic stories that take no prisoners in the telling there of, then I highly recommend reading A History of Glitter and Blood.

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