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.
Worldbuilding: The fantasy world of Ferrum and beyond is somewhat understated, despite containing quite a few interesting creatures (fairies, gnomes, tightropers). This is a war story though, and most of the world is pretty much destroyed, disaffected or dysfunctional.
Characters: Beckan and Scrap are the most important characters. They’re teens, surviving a very tough time, doing very difficult and controversial things to do so – but then again, isn’t that the essence of surviving war? -. I liked things about them, like their loyalty to one another, their love for one another, their love for the rest of their “pack”. Yet I can’t say I was emotionally invested in any of their stories, I wasn’t particularly rooting for a HFN or HEA. Though there is one.
I ended up liking Scrap in the end, more than the rest. Something about his broken train of thought and broken heart made me like him best, I think. I do love tormented characters, and Scrap is most definitely one.
Plot: The war-related story, the survival-related story was quite active, but not agitated. Not as agitated as the storytelling was, in fact. It’s impossible to properly explain that, unless you read for yourself to understand what I mean. The romance tangent was tainted and kind of dark and sort of beautiful, in a broken kind of way. I liked that.
Writing: Third person, past and present tense narrative, from a couple POVs (but mainly from Scrap’s rendering of those POVs, making it all from his POV in fact…yes, it’s that confusing, lol!) The spastic narrative is a complete mess, that starts to make sense as you advance in the read. It makes actual sense from a point on, because that’s when we’re actually told all of it is from Scrap’s POV, making most of the Beckan scenes unreliable narrator style since Scrap isn’t actually present to narrate/know what’s going on. While confusing and often time annoying, the narrative became sort of brilliant for me once everything made sense. It’s a war story told by one of the collateral damage victims, I guess, though Scrap becomes a main event himself. When I finished the novel, I took this to be a sort of war diary written by someone who suffers a lot during and after the actual conflict. And his commentary on war via his story was touching, the conclusions matching some of my own opinions and views. So this is an intentionally confusing narrative, which is perfectly logical, considering who the actual narrator is. But you only get that point when more than half way through the story, and you’ll embrace it I guess close to the ending, if you get that far. Quirky narrative might lose some readers that are lovers of neatness and order in their reads, lol. I tend to embrace chaos myself, haha, so it was a fun ride.
Curb Appeal: Beautiful cover, also loved the “picture” of Beckan and her father from inside the pages of the read. The blurb is intriguing, but I’d add in a tiny quote or something to rely the highly unusual tone of the narrative, since I feel it’s an important point to make.
All in all, this was an unusual reading experience, somewhat annoying in places but still interesting and in the end, touching. It was an experiment of sorts, and I stuck with it and ended enjoying it by the end. Not loving it outright, though. It was a new and original reading experience, and the not knowing and part not totally understanding were part of the fun. Would I want to go on a second ride of the sort? I’m not sure.
So I recommend A History of Glitter and Blood to lovers of quirky stories & narratives, unreliable narrator kind of lovers, and to admirers of war-time drama stories, because there’s plenty of understated drama here. This is an out of the ordinary read. Go into it expecting nothing (not even narrative sense!) or you probably won’t enjoy it, imho.