Book Review: Glitter by Aprilynne Pike

by - 8:32:00 PM

Title: Glitter
Author: Aprilynne Pike
Pages: 384
Genre: YA Fantasy/Historical Fiction
Release Date: 25 October 2016

From Goodreads: "A royal murder. The promise of a throne she never wanted. And a glittering drug that is her only way out.

Outside the Palace of Versailles, it’s modern day. Inside, the people dress, eat, and act like it’s the eighteenth century. The palace has every indulgence, but for one pretty young thing, it’s about to become a very beautiful prison.

When Danica witnesses an act of murder by the young king, her mother makes a cruel power play…blackmailing the king into making Dani his queen. When she turns eighteen, Dani will marry the most ruthless and dangerous man of the court. She has six months to escape her terrifying destiny. Six months to raise enough money to disappear into the real world beyond the palace gates.

Her ticket out? Glitter. A drug so powerful that a tiny pinch mixed into a pot of rouge or lip gloss can make the wearer hopelessly addicted. Addicted to a drug Dani can sell for more money than she ever dreamed.

But in Versailles, secrets are impossible to keep. And the most dangerous secret—falling for a drug dealer outside the palace walls—is one risk she has to take."

Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Books for Young Readers for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for review!

Glitter is described as being Breaking Bad meets Marie Antoinette, and that is an absolutely perfect description for this book! With its stunning cover and incredibly unique premise, Glitter is sure to keep readers hooked from start to finish.

Danica lives in Sonoman-Versailles, a place where its inhabitants live like it's the eighteenth century. From elaborate dresses and hairstyles to the way people speak, it's like living in another world. For Dani, the palace is a beautiful prison, and she's about to become a permanent occupant. When she witnesses a murder by the king, Dani's mother blackmails him into marrying Dani and making her queen. She has only six months to raise enough money to escape into the real world away from the murderous king. Her product? Glitter- a powerful drug that only takes the smallest pinch to get addicted. Her plan? Mixing the Glitter into small pots of rouge and lip gloss and selling it at a high cost. But when Dani falls for a drug dealer outside of the palace walls, things get much more complicated than she originally planned, and secrets don't stay hidden for long in Versailles.

What I loved most about this book was how unique it was. I never would have thought that a book about drugs and the eighteenth century would be something that I enjoyed, so it definitely took me by surprise. The idea that this is set in the near future, but there is a separate world in the Palace of Versailles that is run by a large corporation, was so crazy that I had no idea how it would work. But I thought that it was so interesting that, just outside of the palace walls, was the modern world, and that the people living in the palace chose to live that way. The interaction between Dani, who lives in the palace, and the drug dealers who live outside of the palace was like night and day. The differences between the two worlds are numerous, but the only thing that separates them is a wall. At one point, there is a character who makes a comment about Dani not having to "keep up her act" around him, and she doesn't understand what he means. He's nothing short of surprised when realizes that the way she speaks and carries herself is real, not an act. I just really enjoyed seeing the two extremes collide and trying to co-exist with one another.

Danica as a character was one that you hate to love. Since the book was described as "Breaking Bad meets Marie Antoinette," you could say that Danica was the Walter White of the story. All she wants is to get out of the palace and away from the king, so she's doing whatever it takes to accomplish that goal. Unfortunately, she does some very questionable things along the way and makes some fairly poor choices when it comes to the lives of her friends and other people in the palace. The cosmetics that she sells are laced with Glitter, which is an incredibly addictive drug, and she counts on the fact that her customers will become addicted in order to sell more and make more money. Even after seeing the effects of the drug on her father, she still chooses to distribute the Glitter laced cosmetics to the people living in the palace in order to make enough money to leave. She's determined to leave, no matter what, and the cost of her actions turns out to be the lives of those she loves. It didn't seem like she really cared about what happened until the very end, and even then it didn't seem like she was able to grasp the consequences of what she was doing in order to gain her freedom. When it was pointed out to her that she was quite literally killing people with her Glitter cosmetics, her excuse was always that she was doing what she had to do to leave and save herself. Danica was very sassy, however, and while I was not able to look past the Walter White aspect of her personality, I did enjoy the way that she acted and spoke- especially when she was referring to the king. I found myself questioning whether or not I should like her, constantly going back and forth as I read the book and never being able to make up my mind. I was rooting for her to escape, and for her relationship with another character, but I couldn't bring myself to support her decision to deceive her friends and cause them to become addicted to Glitter.

The other characters in this book, from King/CEO Justin, to drug dealer Reginald and his partner, and even Danica's best friend, Molli, were very well written. A lot of the characters were mostly in the background and the interactions with Dani were limited, but they were easily distinguishable and made an impression when they were in the picture. Justin was slimy and creepy, and there was always a feeling of unease and danger when he was around Danica. Reginald was your typical shady drug dealer type, and I couldn't stop comparing him to Torchwick from the show RWBY. Molli was sweet and innocent, and a really good character to keep Dani in line, along with Lord Aaron. I just enjoyed how the side characters, or ones that weren't Dani, were still beautifully written and really added a lot to the story!

The writing of Glitter was absolutely beautiful. I loved the idea of blending eighteenth century France with the future, with eighteenth century France being run by a corporation. Not only was Justin the king, he was also the CEO of the company, and the political and business aspect of the book was actually a lot of fun to read about. Something I was not expecting was that the palace was quite modernized, despite the way that the palace inhabitants lived. There is a system called M.A.R.I.E- Mainframe for Autonomous Robotic Intelligence Enhancement- that monitors the palace inside and out, as well as controls the robots that assist in the care of the palace and its people, as well as devices called Lenses that are worn in the eye that allow the user to communicate with and locate anyone within the Palace of Sonoman-Versailles. The way that everyone spoke was so elegant and really made me feel like I was in the eighteenth century, and the addition of modern (for the future time period) technology just took the book to the next level. While I was unsure of how I felt about Danica, I definitely loved the world that she lived in and how it was written. There was no shortage of description woven throughout every page, and it allowed me to effortlessly place myself in the story. Every page was filled with captivating writing and it's so easy to get lost in the pages and fly through this book!

With beautiful writing, a character that you will love to hate, and an incredibly unique plot, Glitter is the perfect pickup for anyone looking for something new and different to add to their reading list. This is unlike any book I've read before and I loved stepping outside of the normal types of books that I read to read this first installment in a duology. It will leave you dazzled by the end and begging for more with its breathtaking cliffhanger ending!

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