By Hannah Moskowitz
Available now from Chronicle Books
A HISTORY OF GLITTER AND BLOOD is an aptly named novel. Half of it is a disco teenage fever dream and the other half is haunting violence and mutilated bodies. It is a strange novel and I absolutely loved every second of it.
The narrator of A HISTORY OF GLITTER AND BLOOD is an unreliable fellow. He centers the story around Beckan, although he isn't her and cannot know the minutiae of her days and thoughts. (She points this out to him, even.) He also admits frequently that he's making stuff up, or eliding a nasty bit of the story, or doubles back on himself because he's not telling it well. It takes a bit to get into the rhythm of the story, but I thought the way it was told in fits and starts suited the subject matter.
Beckan and three other faerie teenagers were the only faeries who survived the war. (Except not really, because Cricket is dead. Not dead-dead, because faeries are immortal. But he's been rendered into pieces so small, conscious somewhere, that his friends can't find them.) Beckan, Cricket, and Cricket's brother supported the household through prostitution. Of course, the main people they could sell themselves too were the trolls, who eat faeries. It's taken a toll on them, both because they were all too young to handle any of it and they feel a mix of blame and shame and not regretting it at all because they survived.
There is such horror in A HISTORY OF GLITTER AND BLOOD. There are images in this book that haunt me. And the characters, faerie and troll and other, wormed their way under my skin. The worldbuilding is both deft and dreamlike. It is a tale of an impossible place, yet all the pieces fit together. I loved the complicated situation between the races and the lengthy exploration of what happens after trauma and disaster.
I've been meaning to read Hannah Moskowitz's novels forever, and A HISTORY OF GLITTER AND BLOOD definitely convinced me that I need to give her backlist my full attention as soon as I get a chance. This book shoved it's way into my heart like sudden violence following on the heels of laughter.