Nix MM Contemporary Review – Glitterland by Alexis Hall (3.5 Stars)

Posted January 18, 2014 by Nix in review / 0 Comments

Glitterland by Alexis Hall
Series: Glitterland #1
Published by Riptide Publishing on 2013-08
Genres: Contemporary, Male-Male
Pages: 222
Format: eBook

The universe is a glitterball I hold in the palm of my hand.

Once the golden boy of the English literary scene, now a clinically depressed writer of pulp crime fiction, Ash Winters has given up on love, hope, happiness, and—most of all—himself. He lives his life between the cycles of his illness, haunted by the ghosts of other people’s expectations.

Then a chance encounter at a stag party throws him into the arms of Essex boy Darian Taylor, an aspiring model who lives in a world of hair gel, fake tans, and fashion shows. By his own admission, Darian isn’t the crispest lettuce in the fridge, but he cooks a mean cottage pie and makes Ash laugh, reminding him of what it’s like to step beyond the boundaries of anxiety.

But Ash has been living in his own shadow for so long that he can’t see past the glitter to the light. Can a man who doesn’t trust himself ever trust in happiness? And how can a man who doesn’t believe in happiness ever fight for his own?

FTC : I have no relationship with the author. I requested this from Netgalley for a fair and honest review.

I have heard so much about this book that I realised that I had to read it. The first thing I need to warn you of is that the book is written in first POV. The second is that the male lead has bipolar disorder but I do feel that this wan’t the most accurate portrayal of that disorder that I’ve ever seen, more a media-cised version. The third is that the love interest is written with an Essex accent. It was distracting and fucking annoying…. I also don’t recommend anyone from Essex read this book as you might be a little bit offended because, apparently, you’re all orange tinted, ditsy people with over-bleached teeth. That being said, I actually really enjoyed it.

First POV for me is always a tricky thing to read. Sometimes it can lead to complete hatred of characters (therefore I hate the book) but sometimes, as with this one, it can lead to an understanding of a character that wouldn’t happen if it was written in third. One of my friends has Bipolar disorder and, although this is a deeply romanticised view of a mental health issue that is completely unpredictable and often very scary, I liked the fact the author tried. It isn’t a pretty book and I have to admire the author for introducing the world to Ash; it cannot be easy to write a depressive, sarcastic, frequently suicidal, self-centred hero but he does and I liked the tone of the book because of it. This author has a very distinctive voice and I’m sure I’ll enjoy reading more from him.

In terms of the love story, I half loved it and half hated it. I cannot begin to tell you how much I hated the Essex dialect being written into it. It was instrumental to the story, it did mean that Ash behaved like even more of an arsehole to Darian (therefore showing Darian as even more of a nice guy) and it did show that you should never judge a book by its cover (or accent) but all I could see in my mental image of this story was Joey Essex and that just turned me right off! Thing is, even I could see that Darian was just a lovely lovely man. He didn’t pry, didn’t judge and was so generous hearted; I did wonder if he was too nice to deal with the shit he would invariably get.  He seemed to take it all in his stride but I knew he would have to stand up for himself at some point. I loved the spin he put on some of Ash’s more depressed and warped thoughts, the way he brought light to them without ever judging Ash for having them in the first place. He was the complete opposite to Ash in every way and I just hoped their time together wouldn’t change his world view and make him harder.

I can’t give this book all the stars, as I really struggled with the dialogue. I also struggled with the fact that the characters are a little stereotypical. It is one that I recommend to anyone who thinks that the warnings above are manageable; both characters are memorable and their story is one that grabs your attention and keeps it. This book made me laugh, made me cry, made me swoon and made me want to throw my brand new kindle through a window…. I’m not sure I have been through such an emotional range with many other books!


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