Thursday, January 26, 2023

Review - - Glitterland

by Alexis Hall
Spires - Book 1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date: January 17, 2023
Reviewed by Santa

Once the golden boy of the English literary scene, now a clinically depressed writer of pulp crime fiction, Ash Winters has given up on 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 throws him into the path of Essex-born Darian Taylor. Flashy and loud, radiant and full of life, Darian couldn't be more different...and yet he makes Ash laugh, reminding him of what it's like to step beyond the boundaries of his anxiety. But Ash has been living in his own shadow for so long that he can no longer see a way out. Can a man who doesn't trust himself ever trust in happiness? And how can someone who doesn't believe in happiness ever fight for his own?

Alexis Hall's iconic Glitterland has been revised and expanded, with extensive bonus content and a stunning new cover by Elizabeth Turner Stokes. Bonus content includes:

  • Author Annotations: Alexis Hall's insights and commentary threaded through the novel
  • Shadowland: a brand new scene exploring Niall and Max's complex relationship
  • The Glass Menagerie: an entertaining look at an in-universe Rik Glass novel
  • A Letter from the Author discussing the experience of writing Glitterland
  • Darian's Nanny Dot's Cottage Pie and Aftermath, brought together from the original release

Santa Says:

Glitterland by Alexis Hall is a re-issue of the first book in his Spires series. I would give it a four out of five stars. I have read some of the other books in the series. I unknowingly read them in no particular order and never got to this one. It is not your typical grumpy meets sunshine book. A. A. Winters, also known as Ash is a writer of some renown who grapples with his bi-polar disorder and crippling anxiety. These permeate so much of his life. It was heart wrenching for me to read as I know people who fight these battles for survival. Sometimes it is a daily battle and at other times they thrive.  

I usually do not like books that have such heavy characterizations but Alexis Hall never shies away from some harsh realities in life and he creates such a light even in the darkest times. He brought that light into this story with the brilliantly be-dazzled Darian. Darian is all that is lightness to Ash’s darkness.  Where Ash shrinks into the background, Darian struts into the center dragging Ash out of his comfort zone. 

They meet and hook up for what Ash hopes is a one and done deal but Darian calls out to him and drags him out of his shell even when well-meaning but overbearing friends like Naill try to shield Ash and keep him needy.  Darian puts no pressure on Ash who puts more than enough on himself. He asks nothing of him even after Ash spectacularly insults their relationship by making it out to be no more than a meaningless fling. 

Glitterland is a great title for this book. It’s happily ever after for Ash and Darian feels authentic and lifted up my spirits. I have a feeling that they are in it for the long haul. I look forward to seeing how the other books in the series have been re-edited.

Trigger Warning: Potential triggering elements in this book include attempted suicide and subsequent hospitalization, acute social anxiety and panic attacks, bi-polar disorder.


  1. I'm sorry but there are some issues which would play into my anxiety.

  2. Understood. It was a tough read for me - a good one - but tough.

  3. Too close to issues we are dealing with with an acquaintance to be an enjoyable read.