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April 15, 2015

Unrated: The Glittering World by Robert Levy

Series: Stand-alone
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: Publisher
Genre: Literary Fiction | Fantasy | Mystery
In the tradition of Neil Gaiman (The Ocean at the End of the Lane), Scott Smith (The Ruins), and Jason Mott (The Returned), award-winning playwright Robert Levy spins a dark tale of alienation and belonging, the familiar and the surreal, family secrets and the search for truth in his debut supernatural thriller.

When up-and-coming chef Michael “Blue” Whitley returns with three friends to the remote Canadian community of his birth, it appears to be the perfect getaway from New York. He soon discovers, however, that everything he thought he knew about himself is a carefully orchestrated lie. Though he had no recollection of the event, as a young boy Blue and another child went missing for weeks in the idyllic, mysterious woods of Starling Cove. Soon thereafter, his mother suddenly fled with him to America, their homeland left behind.

But then Blue begins to remember. And once the shocking truth starts bleeding back into his life, his closest friends—Elisa, his former partner in crime; her stalwart husband, Jason; and Gabe, Blue’s young and admiring co-worker—must unravel the secrets of Starling Cove and the artists’ colony it once harbored. All four will face their troubled pasts, their most private demons, and a mysterious race of beings that inhabits the land, spoken of by the locals only as the Other Kind…


Before I start with my thoughts on this book, you should know that the dust cover for Robert Levy's THE GLITTERING WORLD is a very, very pretty in real life. It literally glitters and it's guaranteed to make any bookshelf extra gorgeous.

On to the story! 

I don't know what I just read. And I'm not trying to be cute or exercising rhetoric here. I seriously don't know WTflyingF I read. It took me a while to finish THE GLITTERING WORLD because after the first 100 pages, the plot felt laborious for me. Like I can't figure it out so I tried to look at it from a genre angle. Is this magic realism, sci-fi, paranormal? None of these fit, only the broad sweeps of lit-fiction/mystery fits. The short of it is, RLevy's debut novel is a changeling story. Now before you get all excited, forget everything you know about changelings, the fae, and other legends regarding this myth because RLevy totally turned things upside down. By the end of THE GLITTERING WORLD, it felt more like an alien abduction than a folk tale to me.

The novel was divided into 4 parts as each of the lead characters took turns in telling the tale. Years ago, Blue was went missing in the woods only to come back as, what most people in his town suspect, is a changeling. After much tension and family drama, Blue moved and it was only when his grandma died and left the house to him that he returned to Nova Scotia. It wasn't long before Blue's bretheren started calling to him and he went missing. As this renewed search for the elusive Blue ensues, his friends, Elisa, Jason, and Gabe, took turns in relating the tale to us. But will they find Blue this time around and if so, is he the Blue they know and love, or is it going to be something else?

THE GLITTERING WORLD is disturbing, very, very strange, and definitely unlike anything I've ever read. I can't tell you what it's about apart from what the story is, I can tell you though why  this novel didn't necessarily work for me: it was so impersonal. You have four people telling you the tale, complete with their own thoughts, history, and relationship with Blue, and yet it felt so detached. As if RLevy purposely and actively prevented me, the reader, to understand the human side of the novel and form any attachment to Blue & Co. Also the ending doesn't have closure. Like all of that adventure and close encounters with the fae folk for nothing? 

Which is why THE GLITTERING WORLD will remain unrated by me for a while. It's one of those books that is written well in terms of technique but lacked in the suspending disbelief. I just don't know if I'm an idiot or if RLevy focused too much on stylistics and not enough time forming the plot wherein average readers like myself can consider it believable or even entertaining. So please, if you've read this and totally loved it, I'd appreciate an email so we can powwow in private. 









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34 comments:

  1. I haven't read it and now, I doubt I ever will ;) On the other hand, it's good that this book made you remain open to discussion with other readers, not just closing it and that's all !

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    1. Yeah I need closure from this book. Really sent me spiraling

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  2. Well, you have me curious...I'm just not sure if it's in a good way or a bad way. The lack of connection with the characters is really a problem for me though. I'll reserve final judgment til later.... Great review, Braine!

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    1. It's hard to like a book when you can't relate to the characters on some level. At least that's how it is for me.

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  3. When I read the blurb I thought it sounded promising, but after reading your review I realized this book is not for me.

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  4. Tell you what, Braine: I'll read this just for the privilege of swapping emails about it with you afterward :) But also because I feel just from reading your review that this one is special. I'm on a roll lately. I've been fortunate enough to read several exceptional books, nearly one after another. I'd like to keep that ball rolling. This review of yours is full of soul... Thanks.

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    1. I am crossing my fingers you'll love this well enough for you to explain it to me!

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  5. Ugh... I hate hate books like this. I don't mind books that make you think, but books that seem to wander around with no point drive me nuts, especially when they are dark and depressing . I have read a few books like this, and it makes me wish I had never picked the book up.

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    1. I haven't read Gaiman, the blurb compares this to Neil's works. So...

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  6. I give up well before a 100 pages so I am scared

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    1. Hahahaha. I guess I'm more perservering than you in that way

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  7. I've read books like this before. I've read some where I could say that I knew the writing was gorgeous but I just didn't understand the story. I don't think this style would work for me so I'll skip it. I agree the cover is great!

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    1. It has to be a good blend/balance of the two, fantastic writing and relatability. If one is missing it's going to tank.

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  8. Awkward, off-balance feeling stories like this are uncomfortable even if they are well-written, but I guess they stick with the reader so they're better than mediocre reads. Not sure if I'll pick it up, but I do feel curious about it.

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    1. It sticks because it's different in the sense that it doesn't have closure *huffs*

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  9. The cover looks lovely, what a shame the reader was left to feel detached. Aspects sound lovely though so I see your dilemma.

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    1. I just didn't feel like I truly grasped this. I mean what are the fae up to? What's next? Gah!

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  10. This is one of those that I'd probably pick up just due to the cover. There are quite a few of those just sitting on my shelf :(

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    1. Same here, these are the "show books".

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  11. It's a shame you weren't able to figure this one out. It sounds like there is a bit going on with 4 parts. Nice cover though.

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    1. It had unique aspects, I wasn't satisfied with how it answered the questions it posed in the beginning. No closure at all.

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  12. I totally get you! Your review reminded me of how I felt about the first couple episodeds of the HBO series, The Leftovers. Not that the plot is similar, but after watching I felt the same way you did about this book .

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    1. I like getting confused, that adds a level of curiosity, but you HAVE to clarify things before you end the story.

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  13. Oh dear, I always have trouble with books being told from multiple POVs. I guess it was no surprise that you felt detached from the characters. :( Lovely review, Braine!

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    1. The POV's didn't bother me because the flow of the story was stil moving in the same direction. He just didn't give good closure on the story.

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  14. Oh it sounds like a really different and confusing/intriguing book. I don't think I've ever read something like that. The POVs could be a problem for me but maybe. thanks!

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  15. I recently read a book like this. Had no idea what the hell was happening. I was lost on so many levels. not fun.

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  16. I think this would probably go over my head. I've read a few books with really beautiful prose but which also made me work really hard at figuring out what the hell was going on. And I'm too lazy for that most of the time, lol.

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    1. Hi5 on the laziness! I don't want a mental work out, there are textbooks for that lol

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  17. I'm not sure if The Glittering World would work for me, Braine. I do enjoy stories that are different and intriguing, but if I end up being confused and unable to connect with the characters, that doesn't really bode that well for the story.

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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    1. I wanted to step out of my usual genre, thought this would work out. Oh well, we win some we lose some.

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