Review: Glitterland by Alexis Hall

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?


Lesson of the Day: Glitter Pirates are hot as hell.

I think this book was written specifically for me. No, really. Alexis Hall, did you write this for me? I think you did. Thanks, pal. Few things are hotter than big, quiffed out pirates wearing silver nail polish (fingers and toes, thank you very much). Maybe if said pirates talk silly, have orange skin, and are obvious hopeless romantics who throw around the word ‘donut’ like ‘idiot’.
He was a ridiculous creature. A vulgar, glittering pirate of a man, all jewellery and fake tan, gold glinting in his ears, on his fingers and round his wrists.

Things I Will Forever Associate With Glitterland:
- Glitter (duh)
- Silver nail polish
- Lie-kit
- Donut
- Babes
- “You must be clever!” surprisingly not as an insult
- Epaulettes (I even had to Google what they were)
- Minger

Let’s chat about the writing.
This book was written like an LSD trip. This writing style, if it were a collection of tangible things, would be a blue rabbit with six arms playing saloon music on the organ in the corner of a ball room, while a giant sombrero danced the tango with a pictorial representation of gamma rays. It wasn’t the scenarios that were a little whacky, it was the writing. I can’t think of a specific case in which I’ve read a book where the writing was like this, or even similar. And how does someone explain a style? Especially a style of writing? It’s faux-poetic modern drug-trip (fauxetic?). I’m coining that shit. Have you ever done drugs? No, really, have you? I’m asking because I’m a cop and if you have, I’ll be at your house in 20 minutes. The writing style reminds me of the way a person on a heavy drug trip thinks: in patterns and colours and feelings and an abundance of emotions from one thought to another until the previous thought is completely forgotten. And you know what? I think it’s perfect for this book. It’s called Glitterland, so duh, obviously there’s a little bit of SHAZAM in this here book. It’s full of glitter and sparkles and over-thinking and under-thinking and just straight-up emotion. So yeah, I liked the writing a lawt.

This book crawls under your skin a little and let’s you (even the non-romantics) wish for a happy ending, I think. The best part of the book was the line where Ash told Darian that he didn’t need him, but he wanted him, and even without him, he’d miss him and think of him, but he’d be okay. That’s personal growth, my friends, and that is love. You read a lot of books about co-dependence in the romance, one character fixing another. If you need someone else to fix you, you’re not fixed. They’re the duct-tape that’s holding you together. Needing another person is unhealthy, wanting another person is normal, and acknowledging that what you’re feeling (in a relationship sense) is a want and not a need, is ideal in the romance novels I read. So yes, this was perfect for me. It was slow building, but romantic and sweet. Neither of the characters were perfect, even for each other.

The ending. I loved that shit. I eat endings like this for breakfast. It’s a HEA technically, but I don’t need to know about their 20 kids they’re going to adopt 4 years down the road of the type of tiled they picked out for their first house together. I just needed that one special ending moment. And I got it. Ash got Darian’s name tattooed on him and up until the last few words, I was expecting that to become some sort of big deal. But it wasn’t, and that’s another part that worked well for me. It’s the left unsaid part that I eat for fucking breakfast. Give me 80% of what I want. Don’t give me the whole 100% because then I’ll lose interest. Leave me wanting more. And I do want more. Would I read about book about Darian and Ash? Fuck yeah I would, because now I have a thing for glitter pirates.

Why, in all the vastness of the world, did a sparkly idiot from Essex make me feel alive?
This story reminds me of being young and hopeful, and hopeless, and romantic and silly, and completely flabbergasted with life and all it has to offer. And I love that. I’ve been young and stupid and wanted people I shouldn’t, and said things I didn’t mean, and lived one day to the next, hoping for a little bit of magic in my life. I started saying ‘wif’ the other day by accident and tried to explain the allure of ‘lie-kit’ to my boyfriend yesterday. This pretty little book is one that I’m sure is going to stick with me for a long time.

Thanks for the really sweet read, Alexis Hall. Now come on over so we can paint each other’s nails silver.

And just because I can... enjoy this picture.


  1. Natasha - you are made of awesome :D


  3. I freaking <3 this review with glitter on top!! *shoots off glitter guns* :D

    1. "glitter guns" ;) ;) ;) yaknowwhatimean