Review: A History of Glitter and Blood – Hannah Moskowitz

a history of glitter and bloodSixteen-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.

Rating: 4/5

I absolutely adored a History of Glitter and Blood, even as I can see why a lot of people aren’t going to like it – it’s utterly disjointed, weaving back and forth in time, while also being told by an unreliable narrator who is “writing” the story and self-edits as he goes. (This disjointed feeling probably exascerbated by the format of my eARC, which had no paragraph breaks in between the time flips.)

Ferrum is the oldest and the darkest, and it serves as a token; a totem; here is proof that we are not heartless, here is proof that we are not without history, here is our iron city with its cobblestone streets and crackly electricity and a few more crumpled pages of literature than the other cities. 

There’s also a lot of references to prostitution/casual sex, which might not fly for all readers, but for me added to the gritty and chaotic atmosphere. The writing is descriptive, but the author excels in depicting all the tricky emotions of hurt and trauma and uncertainty.

And now they are like two very different, very unequal halves of what might have been one very amazing fairy. Maybe even a pretty one. 

This book is so weird, yet so wonderful in its complicated depiction of relationships between our core characters, as well as the newer allies they make along the way.

Don’t ever stop talking because of a boy. A boy who makes you talk less is not the kind of boy you want anything to do with. 

Essentially, fairies and gnomes are at odds in this world, because fairies are hella tasty, apparently, and gnomes rather like to munch on their body parts, which can sustain them for eons. A third race of rather militant tightropers pitch up and start a war with the gnomes on behalf of le fairies, claiming to liberate them from the fear of being constantly on guard against their edible qualities. Things don’t particularly turn out well for anyone in this war, where Beckan, Josha, Cricket and Scrap are forced to survive trading favours as the only four fairies left in the city.

Also, there is SENTIENT FAIRY BODY GLITTER. Which is quite a creepy concept – losing limbs and still being able to feel and move them.

For all the hurts that our characters endure, and hurt they do, all in their own way, there is still a rather happy ending, which made me joyous, since 1) I didn’t see how the author was quite going to make it all work and 2) our characters really deserved it and 3) I LIKE HAPPY ENDINGS.

And in short, I liked this. Very much.

ARC received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from uncorrected proof and may differ from final publication.

15 thoughts on “Review: A History of Glitter and Blood – Hannah Moskowitz

  1. Hm. I think I will love this for all the reasons you mention for which people won’t like it. Unreliable narrators are definitely great. And fairies :) Beautiful review, thanks!


    1. Yup, it’s definitely not something that works for everybody, so it’s good to have a warning when it’s not your thing.


  2. I was very happy to see this review on Goodreads. I have offbeat tastes and often write “a lot of people might not love this but I loved it” reviews, and I’m always happy to read them.
    I’ve tried some of her books with varying success — I think she’s a really interesting writer and so will keep trying them!
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen at YA Romantics


    1. I’ve read the synopsis’s of her other books, and they all look bizarre but interesting – which is usually to my taste! A History of Glitter and Blood just worked so well for me, even though it hasn’t had some of the best reviews on GR. Oh well, each to their own!


  3. This may look bizarre to the eyes of the majority of readers, but what you presented before me looks more like something that I’d love to read and discuss with a serious book club. I mean, seriously, the themes here sound like something you don’t see quite often, and if it was that good, then that could only mean it made you think and feel a lot, which is more than enough for me.

    Faye at The Social Potato


    1. YES! I like how you think. It’s some incredibly serious themes, wrapped up in a more easily digestible (HA!) if rather bizarre format. But in some cases, that can make things like survival in war, persecution, privilege and things like that easier to understand.


  4. I’m not sure if I like that cover that much :( but I do like the premise of it so I might check it out later on. Lovely review :)


  5. I ended up really enjoying this as well, despite how bizarre it was! The prostitution did make the story a lot grittier and darker. And yes, the concept of being able to feel lost body parts–so scary! x_x So glad you enjoyed this!


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