When the tightropers came and declared war on the gnomes, almost all of the fairies left the city of Ferrum. The only ones to stay were Beckan and her three friends. A ceasefire is eventually called, but the danger remains as Beckan and her friends try to find a way to survive.
This book is weird. Very weird. I think a lot of people will be put off by the style. The story is written by one of the characters of the book as the events are occurring. As he writes, he jumps back and forth from past to present as he thinks of things. He'll interject his own commentary and berate himself in the middle of his writing. He repeatedly will add notes to remove parts that he's written or to add things in spots. And he lies and embellishes to make the story more interesting, which he admits. This includes creating a romance between two of the characters that never actually happened. It gets confusing at times trying to sort out what's going on and figuring out what the world is like. I never really got a clear idea of their world.
And it's not just the style that's weird. Fairies in this world are immortal beings covered in glitter that's constantly falling off. The thing is, all that glitter is still connected to them. They can always feel it being stepped on, brushed off, etc. Fairies have to learn at a young age to not cry from the pain of constantly being stepped on. Now add in the fact that gnomes like to eat fairies. Almost every fairy is missing at least part of their body, and they can still feel it after it's been separated from them. Some of the characters have parts of their body eaten in the book, and they can feel themselves being eaten even after they've left. Beckan carries the remains of her father in a jar (including an eye) so that he can still be around and watch her. And that's not a metaphor. He is still alive and literally can still watch her.
A good chunk of the book takes place after the war and is about the characters trying to recover from what they went through. That was my favorite part. Beckan and her friends are all pretty messed up from the war and the things they had to do to survive. They're each trying to get past it in their own way and cope, but they're all struggling and need each other. The bonds that are formed between the group of three fairies, two gnomes, and one tightroper hoping for peace were really sweet, even if things got a bit strained at times. The book took another strange turn at the end, but the friendship between the group was still there for me to enjoy.
Overall, it's a very strange book that will put a lot of people off with its weirdness, but I enjoyed it thanks to the strong relationships between the main characters as they dealt with the aftereffects of a war.