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Book Review! A History of Glitter and Blood

Seriously, that title. If you know of any book with a better, more evocative title, please share in the comments, because I don’t think one exists!

A History of Glitter and Blood

A History of Glitter and Blood will be available in early August 2015 – sorry for the super-advance review, but I was too excited to wait πŸ™‚ – mark your calendars now!

This book is brilliantly, beautifully f*cked up.

And I’m just gonna say this right up front – this is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of book. There is no in between. Also, although there seems to be an impression out there that this is a YA book, I’d say it’s more along the lines of New Adult or even just plain Adult.

If you like your fantasy fiction to be all sunshine and rainbows or squeaky clean YA, walk away now. Ditto if you need clear narration and lots of detail. However, if you enjoy books that make shivers run down your spine and give you a sense of atmosphere so thick you can imagine that you’re there next to the characters, keep reading!

I was immediately drawn to this book by the title. I mean, “A History of Glitter and Blood?” Hell yes!!! I knew that this was going to be a dark fairy tale type story, which are some of my favorites to read. And the cover art is amazing (although I can see how the cover would also draw in a lot of people who really aren’t going to like this story.)

Here’s the publisher’s blurb:

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.

The narration is unique, and if you don’t realize what’s going on it’s a lot harder to read, but I picked up quite quickly that I was reading a story where the “author” was spazzing out and writing to himself as much as to anyone else. It takes some getting used to, but this is one of the best versions of this device that I’ve had the pleasure to read in a long time. Without the spazzy narration and note-to-self asides, I don’t think the sense of atmosphere would have been nearly as vivid.

I won’t say much about the individual characters or plot, because for me, those actually weren’t as important by the end as the actual feel and atmosphere they all added up to… which might sound bad, but actually I mean it in a very good way. The story touches on particular individuals and particular things that happen before and after a war, the choices they make, and how each character’s individual natures affect their choices, but this story’s brilliance lies in how it adds all those things up to create a very true, resonating portrait of humanity.

All that said, I loved it! If you like Holly Black or dark versions of fairy tales, you definitely need to read this.

Do you like to read books with weird narration and/or changing POVs, or do you stick to the more traditional first-person or third-person style?

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Book Review! A Court of Thorns and Roses

Friends, I tried my hardest to get hold of an advance copy of this book, but I just couldn’t make it happen. Since I was so head-over-heels for the Throne of Glass books, I decided to go ahead and pre-order this one from Barnes & Noble for my Nook app so I could read it right away. Of course, I finished it just a few hours after it landed in my inbox.

It was awesome.

But I’ve been sitting on this post for a while because I was having a hard time writing a review that wasn’t too spoiler-y or too basic and vague… Anywho, here we go!

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)

First of all, how amazing is that cover!?! I like that it gives you an idea of what the main character looks like without being the “girl in a formal dress looking over her shoulder” style that’s become ubiquitous. Also, red. Which is very fitting given the plot of this story. To get us started, here is the publisher’s blurb:

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlinβ€”one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlinβ€”and his worldβ€”forever.
Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

First of all, the relationship between Feyre and Tamlin is a slow burn with a few bumps in the road, not an insta-love like the publisher’s blurb might suggest. There are lots of hard choices to be made, and Maas doesn’t pull punches to give Feyre an easy out, which I quite liked. About 2/3rds of the way through the book we learn more about Feyre’s family and a lot of depth gets added to their characters, which really took this book to the next level for me – it would have been so easy to use the family characters as set-up in the beginning and then leave them there, as flat, one-dimensional individuals who were holding Feyre back and had little to no redeeming qualities of their own, but Maas took the time to give them layers and make them continue to be an important part of the story and Feyre’s choices. Bravo.

There are a couple of characters that “help” Feyre out at various points in the story – for a price, of course. We’re dealing with the Fey here. Based on those characters I’m anticipating much more political gamesmanship in the next book, which is great, because Maas does so well withΒ the politics and individual characters’ motivations in the Throne of Glass books. I’m also looking forward to seeing more of Rhysand in the next book, because I’m always a sucker for a tall-dark-and-handsome bad boy πŸ˜‰ Although this is known to be a sort of Beauty and the Beast retelling, Maas very skillfully places the story in the world of the Fey and gives nods to the original tale while staying true to her own writing style and keeping the story fresh. If you know it’s there, you can most definitely see the parallels, but subtle enough that you could miss it if you didn’t already know.

While I really enjoyed A Court of Thorns and RosesΒ and I love Sarah J. Maas’s writing, I think I like the Throne of Glass books just a little bit more. The two series eachΒ have a distinct feel to them, and I find that world and those characters a bit more intriguing. It probably stems from the fact that Throne of Glass is a totally original world from the author. That said, I will definitely be reading the rest of this series.

If you like a darker sort of fairytale Γ  la Holly Black or Gregory Maguire, A Court of Thorns and Roses should be right up your alley!