A Queen of Blood and Glitter: a Faery Tale of Grief, Drag, and Hope Told in Six Parts is the flagship book in the A Queen of Blood and Glitter Series, which includes two follow-up novellas. The half-Faerie drag queen, Blodeuwedd, aka Miss Nomer, has a score to settle. They’ve suffered a terrible loss resulting in a deep pain that demands vengeance. A clever plan is conceived to get that revenge. Remember, it’s not personal. It’s Drag. But of course, it secretly is personal–and Blodeuwedd’s drag persona Miss Nomer is a vehicle of vengeance, a powerful personality, a dark, striking image created and weaponized. Fabulous never looked so deadly.
In the city of Carterburg, a not-so-hidden Fae District, a place of Glamour, excitement, and danger, compels many human visitors to interact with the magical. Unfortunately, a group of Fae calling themselves The Phosphorescent have banded together to start some wicked sh!t on Samhain that will lead them to power. Only it doesn’t quite go to plan. What follows is an adventure of mystery, murder, monsters, and revenge on an epic scale that just might endanger the very balance of the Fae and human realms. Much like the size of this book, which is no small Tome at over 600 pages, the grand scope of this story took me to a place of myth, magic, and intrigue that left me wanting more in the best possible way. The author writes with a uniquely queer perspective that enriches his text and places this novel at the forefront of new and exciting LGBTQcentric fantasy books, which there are not nearly enough of.
One of the more sensitive elements in A Queen of Blood and Glitter that stood out to me is the theme of human agency in relation to the Fae’s ability to “glamour.” Glamour is a Fae’s power to create false realities and mentally coerce individuals into actions they are neither in control of nor have consented to. Something I found interesting was the human condition to want to see only the fun and frivolity the Fae can project, with their Glamour creating a sheen of fake yet enticing reality. This willful disregard for the potential danger of this magical race’s nature impacts several characters negatively. The fact that this coercion or “charm” can lead to intimacy, even sexual encounters, left me feeling uncomfortable. And that’s the point. The author is peeling back the layers of falseness and intent relating to the Fae who choose to misuse their gifts, regardless if they utilize pleasure over fear and violence to get what they want. No matter how you slice it, it removes human agency and can devastate relationships–even take human life.
Luckily, there are those of the Fae Realm, like the complex and oft-confounding character of DJ Phuc, who recognize the evil nature of some of their brethren, generally the Unselighe Fae, and seek to assist the confused and victimized. This provides the reader with a glimmer of hope that humans are not unaided. This theme is timely connected to the real-life dangers people face in bars and clubs, especially women, with hallucinogens and mood-altering drugs put into their drinks. This clever and intelligent part of the storytelling creates a myriad of emotions in the reader and connects this otherwordly story to social modernity.
A Queen of Blood and Glitter is beautifully written, a uniquely poetic text that harkens back to the work of Edmund Spenser and John Milton but with a distinctly queer and contemporary flavour that is truly one-of-a-kind. The author fluidly weaves several interconnecting storylines involving many fascinating characters, including actual splendiferous Fae Queens and a shape-shifting feline named Circe–yes, that Circe. Seeing High Fantasy written with a Queer audience in mind is refreshing.
A Queen of Blood and Glitter: a Faery Tale of Grief, Drag, and Hope Told in Six Parts is available for purchase at amazon.ca & amazon.com. For more information about this author, follow Benjamin Kissell on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.