Author: Hannah Moskowitz
Published: Expected August 18, 2015
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Rating: 2 out of 5
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.
I don't like A History of Glitter and Blood. It's depressing, disjointed, and poorly built. But I do respect it.
Everyone knows fairies are immortal. Unfortunately, they're not indestructible. They can live without limbs, organs, even broken down to the littlest pieces of glitter. A slow breeding race, when war breaks out in Ferrum, the biggest fairy city, there are only four whole fairies left. These young friends refuse to flee, like the older "flighty" fairies. Instead they all move to a cottage near the edge of the city and do what it takes to survive the gnome/Tightroper war.
It becomes clear as the book goes on that the story is actually a book within the book, written by Scrap, the "alpha" of their little wolf pack. He leaves asides and ANs to himself to change sections and has mental breakdowns in the margins. It's hard to read.
The story also jumps back and forth between right after the war broke out, leading to the "death" of Scrap's cousin, Cricket, (he may have been eaten, but fairies can't die; they just need to find a piece, some glitter,) and the "present", (which we find is actually a few days behind the real present as Scrap writes. This comes up.)
Notice how in this review, I've yet to say Becks' name? The story may ostensibly be about her, but it's really about grief and family and immortality.
Unfortunately, it's also about forced prostitution.
Cricket was hooking for the gnomes, an underground race that's favorite food is fairy, before the war. After the first bomb and the food ran out, Scrap joined him. They risk death every time they descend. They're passed around, drugged and gnawed on. When even the two of them can't bring in enough, Beckan joins them. Josha, the last of their pack and Cricket's lover, thinks it's all a terrible idea but he can't bring in food and no one thinks leaving the city is a better plan than prostitution.
Cricket is destroyed while on a job and Scrap loses his arm and part of his soul when he kills Cricket's murderer. He and Becks go back to hooking a few days later. They admit they like it and hate it and get a sexual thrill from it. I found the whole plot really problematic.
I do kind of appreciate that sexuality is no big thing. Becks is with Josha before the events of the novel and with Scrap during them. She falls in love with her John, Tier, and has a passionate, but brief, fling with his fiancée, Rig. Josha loved Cricket and finds something new with a Tightroper, Piccolo. (Who Becks may also have slept with. Unreliable narrator.) Multiple partners and casual bisexuality are still taboo in a lot of books, so the dynamics are definitely interesting. (Though I have a problem with Becks/Tier/Rig and the prostitution angle.)
I'm sad that the meandering plot and unusual narrative kept me from enjoying the book, because Moskowitz can write. There's an ethereal quality that lends itself to a fairy tale. But with a laughably bad trial and forced happy ending, on top of all my other issues, I can't say I'm sorry the book is over.