The Glittering World by Robert Levy

The Glittering World by Robert Levy
Published by Gallery Books on February 10, 2015
Genres: Fae, Weird, Paranormal
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Purchase on: Amazon// Barnes & Noble
Add to: Goodreads

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


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…


If ever there was a time to not judge a book by its cover, this would be it. The title, along with the ethereal and dreamlike cover, give the impression that you are about to read a magical book about faerie world. You already have an idea about what the fae and faerie world will be like, whether you’re thinking of the Sidhe, or the Seelie/Unseelie courts, or maybe even more earthy fae types such as brownies, hobgoblins, red caps, etc. Well, throw all of that out the window and prepare for a new type of faerie tale.

The Glittering World by Robert Levy doesn’t so much as glitter as it does seep through the earth and into the very bloodstreams of the local inhabitants and across the pages to the reader as well. Slow to build, and heavy in long sentence structures overwrought with description, Levy’s heavily stylized writing detracts from the actual story. It was a struggle for the first third of the book to find actual interest in continuing. There was too much flourish and not enough substance and I found myself quickly glancing over the endless descriptions to uncover what it was that was happening.

What it was that was happening was an actually intriguing story. Blue, a rising star in the chef community, returning to Canada against the wishes of his mother, to claim and sell a home willed to him by his estranged grandmother. Along for the ride were Blue’s longtime friend and secret crush Elisa, her new husband Jeremy, and newcomer to the group, outsider Gabriel, with his own claim to Blue. Levy does a wonderful job fleshing out each of these characters and revealing their motivations through their interactions with one another and a series of flashbacks and memories. In fact, the way the entire story seems to revolve solely on their relationships and not on achieving a greater goal, this intimate quartet seems better suited for the theater than a novel.

There is a “greater goal,” though how great is up for debate. The quest for faerie land. It’s what drives the inhabitants of the town, and eventually drives Gabe and Elisa. And the faeries? Remember how I mentioned earlier to throw out any notions you may have had based off of previous stories or myths? Keep them gone as these faeries are more akin to giant praying mantes. They live in traditional underground mounds, and still cannot reproduce among themselves, requiring interspecies breeding with humans — that much is still reminiscent of the usual tales of the fae and changelings. However, after that, it’s a whole new world.

Once the action picks up about halfway to 2/3rds of the way in, the book is a quick finish. If you enjoy the weird and don’t mind overly descriptive writing, I’m sure you’ll love The Glittering World by Robert Levy. Personally, I finished the book feeling pretty meh about the whole thing.


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