From #1 New York Times bestselling author Aprilynne Pike comes a truly original new novel—Breaking Bad meets Marie Antoinette in a near-future world where the residents of Versailles live like it’s the eighteenth century and an almost-queen turns to drug dealing to save her own life.
Outside the palace of Versailles, it’s modern day. Inside, the people dress, eat, and act like it’s the eighteenth century—with the added bonus of technology to make court life lavish, privileged, and frivolous. 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.
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From the Hardcover edition.
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THE PRICE OF FREEDOM
two months later
“danica!” even with her hushed whisper, Molli’s giggles give her away before her high pompadour can claim the honor. Rather a feat—thank goodness she’s not sporting feathers in her hair tonight. After a quick glance down the hallway, I join her in a small nook behind a set of heavy damask curtains. Lord Aaron and Lady Mei are with her, leaning out a picture window, sharing a cigarette. Someone has hacked M.A.R.I.E.—Lord Aaron, no doubt.
“Be careful,” I say, the finicky words escaping my mouth before I can clamp down on them. “The smell seeps,” I continue in an embarrassed mutter. Though it’s been only two months, I feel as if I’ve aged ten years since my failed escape attempt, and it’s starting to show. Seventeen going on thirty, I suppose.
“Oh, lord have mercy on us if we damage His Royal Highness’ precious frescoes,” Lord Aaron mocks. His eyes aren’t as playful as his tone, and he meets my gaze briefly before blinking away all trace of our shared secrets.
“Lean way out,” Lady Mei says, passing me the hand-rolled cigarette and shifting her skirts aside so I can bend as far through the window as my stiff bodice and wide skirts will allow.
I take a long drag, and it does soothe me—but I wonder if the night air alone would have done just as well. It tastes of freedom, that rarest of delicacies.
“Give it here,” Molli says, nudging me over and carefully grasping the cigarette dangling from my fingertips. “There’s only a pull or two left.”
“Give it here, Your Grace,” Lady Mei corrects. “Mustn’t forget whose presence we’re in.”
I force a smile at her rousing, though in truth I wish I could forget. Not something I’d confide to Lady Mei; as much as I enjoy her company, she’s a hopeless gossip. Lord Aaron and I were lucky to be able to replace her family’s priceless jewels the day after we stole them, or the only people she wouldn’t be talking to about it would be us.
I back away from the window and right into Lord Aaron’s chest.
“Steady,” he whispers in my ear, his hands encircling my upper arms protectively.
“I don’t suppose it’ll catch anything on fire down there, will it?” Molli asks, peering at the grounds below the window.
“If it does, M.A.R.I.E. will handle it,” Lady Mei says, breathing out a long stream of smoke before pulling her head back inside. M.A.R.I.E.—the Mainframe for Autonomous Robotic Intelligence Enhancement—is the central nervous system of the Palace of Versailles. She handles the drudgework, monitors the entire complex, and controls every bot, from the ones that trim the grass to the ones that help me dress. Presumably, she would also put out little fires.
“Hurry,” Mei says. “The system’s going to override His Lordship’s hack any second.”
Sure enough, scant seconds later the window sash slides shut with a defiant click. A blue light at the lock blinks indignantly, as though scolding us, but soon the anachronism fades and our little cabal bursts into laughter.
“I don’t know why you can’t simply smoke outside before you dress,” I say, dabbing laugh-tears from the corners of my eyes as we emerge through the curtains, back into the hallway.
“Because dressing takes an hour at least,” Lady Mei says. She flips a jet-black curl off her shoulder and puts two hands under her barely-there cleavage, pushing it up ineffectually. “Some of us take a little more work than others,” she adds with a sidelong glance at the more-than-ample shadow between my breasts. She’s not wrong; the gowns of the Baroque era don’t really suit her figure. But the fashions in Sonoman-Versailles must be pulled from actual history books and are, thus, as unyielding as the boned corsets we all sport.
She makes the most of it, though. In her natural state Lady Mei might accurately be described as plain, but she’s a genius with cosmetics and couturiery, and no one seeing her in full evening dress would know her with a washed face and plain nightgown. She gives her skills far too little credit; her deft cosmetics enhance her delicate Chinese features to the hilt. Plus, she’s the daughter of a wealthy marquis—she’ll never want for favor or adoration. Or suitors, when the time comes for such arrangements.
The same cannot be said for Molli Percy, who has neither title nor inheritance coming her way. But she’s delightful and incredibly fetching, with honey-blond hair and a soft, round figure, and everyone falls in love with her despite themselves. That might be enough to make her a good marriage one day. Nothing could make her a better friend now.
“Will I do, Lord Aaron?” Molli asks, turning a circle in front of him when she finishes straightening her skirts.
“Almost.” Lord Aaron adjusts a fold of her shoulder cape, straightens a strand of faux pearls in her coiffure, and takes a step back. “There, you look superb.”
“Thank you,” Molli says, flicking her fan open and fluttering it just under her nose.
“And me?” Lord Aaron asks, spinning a similar circle before them and making the velvet tails fly on his silver-and-crème jacket that sets off his gorgeous carob skin and long black curls.
“As if you need my help,” Molli quips. Lord Aaron is always impeccably turned out. “Shall we?”
“Must we?” Lord Aaron and I say in tandem, and then turn to each other in surprise. Molli and Lady Mei burst into another round of giggles as Lord Aaron and I paint smiles across our faces. We were jesting—of course we were jesting.
“Go ahead,” I urge them. “You know His Highness prefers that I enter alone. Besides,” I say, patting Lord Aaron on the shoulder, “you’ve only two arms. I would be sadly neglected.”
“Alas,” Lord Aaron says with a twinkle in his eyes, “though I’ve petitioned both the Good Lord and the medical research division for more, it’s true that I’m still possessed of but these two arms. And two hands,” he adds, swatting Lady Mei across the backside.
Lady Mei shrieks but takes his proffered arm.
“You’ll be in soon?” Molli asks over her shoulder.
“In a few minutes.” I watch my friends cross the Hercules Drawing Room, making their way into the soirée ahead of me.
I consider returning to my quarters—not attending the party at all, instead spending the evening in my room with a book. But my mother would think nothing of finding me and dragging me back, my ear clenched hard between her fingers like a misbehaving child’s. Which is precisely how she sees me.
After nearly a quarter of an hour, I can stall no longer. So I check my satin gown and posture in the many mirrors lining the hall, then present myself at the doorway of the Drawing Room of Plenty.
There are three couples in front of me. One at a time, they hand the crier a card bearing their name and title; he glances down, then bawls the names out.
My turn. I need no card. I simply stand there, framed by red velvet drapes, waiting for the man to draw aside the curtain and present me to the crowd.
“Her Grace, Betrothed of the King, Danica Grayson.”
The herald declares my cringe-worthy title at the top of his lungs, which always feels ridiculous; anyone who might have been dwelling so far under a rock that they don’t know who I am can simply make eye contact, access the local web feed via their network Lens, and view my public profile. One never has to worry about remembering names at court when one is hooked into the network—one of M.A.R.I.E.’s more useful tricks. More useful than her propensity for locking windows or extinguishing tiny recreational fires, anyway.
On the other hand, the herald’s verbal warning does allow for the fashionables of the court to pivot away and avoid eye contact with people they don’t care to acknowledge. Also useful.
Sadly, I’m rarely in that shunned category. An underage, unknown young lady, all too quickly betrothed to the King, and jumped up well beyond her rank in court with no explanation whatsoever: scandal, perversion, and mystery all in one satin-wrapped package. Murmurs of “Your Grace” can be heard as curtsies and bows make a well-coiffed ripple across the room, as though it were the surface of a placid pond and I an offending pebble.
I am not, however, a duchess. Upon my betrothal to the King, the citizens of Sonoman-Versailles eventually afforded me that address—Your Grace—to hide the fact that I am, by birth, nobody. At least in the eyes of the fashionables at court, where wealth and title mean everything. To have neither and yet be betrothed to the King? The false address seems to make them feel better about that. It makes me feel worse.
The soirée is in full swing, with bots—dressed in the traditional red-and-gold livery of the seventeenth century—whirring about with trays of champagne and canapés among gowns of silk and satin, and the frenzied click of hundreds of jeweled heels. Delectable scents of both food and perfume waft like clouds, filling even the spaces where bodies don’t fit. Orchestral tunes are piped softly through hidden speakers, and the sparkle of candlelight can’t help but dazzle. For the two years since my official début, this crowded, frenetic atmosphere was heaven on earth to me, and even now, the elegance tempts me to rejoin my peers and drink and dance away what has become of my life.
The salons swarm and buzz like a hive, though unlike insects, the drones here congregate around their king rather than a queen. The constant churn of people around my fiancé, the King, is actually terribly helpful; it takes only a glance to know which end of the salons to avoid. But even as I spot the hub of the milling crowd, His Majesty catches my eye and makes it very clear he wishes to speak to me.
I grab a flute of champagne from a serving-bot’s gyro-balanced tray, then hurry in the opposite direction.
Not that I make much headway. The crush of the throng is downright suffocating, and I make my way through it at a speed of approximately one meter per minute. Perhaps less.
He was waiting for me.
If he were a sensible, reasonable person, he’d simply have had M.A.R.I.E. schedule a meeting for the two of us in his private offices. But no, of course he’d rather ambush me in public. Cursed man. I’m not certain why I continue to expect some level of normal human decency from him.
I squelch panic when I sense a presence at my left side. Don’t look.
“I was beginning to think you weren’t coming,” says Molli, and twines one arm with mine.
Thank all deities in the known universe—and the unknown, for good measure. I grip Molli close to my side, already feeling better, but continue my dogged trek forward.
“His Majesty certainly has eyes only for you this evening.”
“I’d rather he had eyes for anyone else, and you know it,” I say without dropping the affected half-smile I use to deflect unwanted attention.
“I do, yes, but try explaining that to Lady Cynthea,” Molli says, inclining her head subtly toward a tall, elegant young lady in a gold brocade gown that sparkles with dots of what are no doubt very real jewels.
I stifle a smile at the mention of His Majesty’s mistress—perhaps mistress is the wrong word. Even girlfriend sounds wrong when half the twosome is engaged. I suppose technically she’s simply my fiancé’s bit of skirt.
“You’d think she was Queen, the way she holds court,” Molli says, her voice dripping with distain. The court is essentially split into two camps: those who support the Queen the King has chosen—me—and those who still think Lady Cyn, with her pristine bloodlines, is more worthy of the throne.
And, indeed, with a dozen members of the high nobility arranged in a semicircle before her, Lady Cyn does look like the true Queen holding court. As though hearing our whispered conversation, Lady Cyn turns her long, elegant nose toward us. Then she whispers behind her fan to a girl standing next to her and turns halfway, giving us her back. Not quite the cut direct—she doesn’t dare give me such a social dismissal—but a clear insult nonetheless.
I simply don’t care.
I used to. At my coming out, when my mother made it all too obvious that she intended to parade me in front of the King like a tasty slab of meat, Lady Cyn was quick to inform me that I was unwelcome in her territory. Only weeks apart in age, and owing to a friendship between their mothers, Lady Cyn and the King were considered by the court to be—informally and unofficially, of course—intended.
I can still feel the sting of her satin glove smacking my face when she cornered me over a year ago, flanked by a half-circle of well-born bullies in silken gowns. It should have been merely an insult—an ancient and almost meaningless gesture. Except that Lady Cyn had taken it upon herself to put several heavy rings inside the glove.
“You’re a devious climber, and you’ll stop if you know what’s best for you,” she hissed close to my ear as I cradled my throbbing cheek.
I wished I could tell her I wasn’t after her precious boyfriend. Of course, every starry-eyed débutante within a decade of the King’s age probably entertained some shallow hope of a royal wedding. And I can’t say I was any different—but I hardly nurtured a tendresse for the always-arrogant young monarch.
What drew Lady Cyn’s anger wasn’t my determination but my mother’s. Through her scheming and bribes, I more often than not found myself seated beside the King at dinner, sharing his box in the palace’s theater, his name programmed into my dance card.
Consequently, I also found myself avoiding empty corridors whenever humanly possible.
When my betrothal was very publicly announced two months ago, the hatred Lady Cyn already felt toward me, combined with the grievous insult, practically took on a life of its own.
I turn from my future husband’s not-so-secret girlfriend and continue my trek forward. “Where are Lady Mei and Lord Aaron?” I ask. Molli is seldom by herself at these gatherings. Not enough social status to gain notice alone. We used to band together— a pair of nobodies. Now I’m happy to bring her along on my unwanted rise in prestige.
Molli flips open her fan and flutters it in front of her face. M.A.R.I.E. keeps the palace’s climate at a perfect, comfortable temperature, but the motion both is decorative and conceals Molli’s words from eavesdroppers with a lip-reading program on their Lens. Which, because such apps are strictly banned, is everyone. “Lady Mei and her sister have been compelled to join their parents for a family moment.”
“I imagine she’s thrilled,” I say, half amused. The marquis and Lady Zhào are rather fond of parading their two daughters about for the marriageable nobility to see. It’ll be another five years at least before either is ready for marriage, but luck favors the prepared, and betrothals can be quite lengthy.
“Lord Aaron slipped out a few minutes ago,” Molli continues. “He’s remarkably out of spirits this evening. He tries to hide it, but I’ve known the boy since he was still wetting his britches.”
I’d sensed his gloomy mood myself but find it difficult to gauge. I haven’t known Lord Aaron as long as Molli has, having only moved into the palace four years ago, and he does tend toward melancholy anyway. I have trouble distinguishing between his passing fits of existential angst and true distress. I’m always grateful for Molli’s insight in these moments.
A feathered fan—lime-green and loud as the grating laugh of its owner—catches my eye. “I suppose that has something to do with it.” I nod subtly in its direction, though I’m referring not to the woman in the frothy confection of a gown but to the lean, handsome young man beside her.
“It’s such a shame,” Molli says, peering after them over her fan. “He and Sir Spencer are so well suited they might have been created for each other.”
“Can you picture it?” I whisper. “Sir Spencer’s golden hair—Lord Aaron’s dark skin. They’d be gloriously striking.”
“I wish they wouldn’t stand on such ceremony. It’s hardly a love match, even on her side. Besides, everyone in the court cheats.”
I don’t have to voice my agreement, as it’s such a naked truth.
“Her father is so old-fashioned,” Molli laments.
Lady Julianna—the young woman with the unfortunately hued fan—is the heir to the Tremain dukedom; the much more elegant man at her side is the Honorable Sir Spencer Harrisford. An American by birth, Sir Spencer inherited his title and shares when his parents—both top Sonoma executives in America, a brilliant match—were killed in a high-speed rail accident. Their son was brought to Sonoman Versailles by Duke Tremain and wed to Lady Julianna a few weeks later, on the very night of his eighteenth birthday. Not in a whirlwind romance, but simply because Sir Spencer was overly biddable in his fragile emotional state and the duke had an agenda. Still does, if dark rumors are to be believed.
It’s exceptionally bad luck on both their parts that Sir Spencer and Lord Aaron fell quite instantly and madly in love at the wedding fête. Unfortunately, with Lady Tremain’s father holding tightly to the purse strings, that means no affairs. For now.
“They should consider having a tryst as a public service,” Molli says.
I pause and turn to her, baffled. “How so?”
She widens her already-luminous eyes. “Their searing glances are in danger of setting the drapes afire.”
Her wry humor strikes my tight nerves just right and I laugh aloud.
“She’s so very vulgar, though,” Molli says, the humor draining quickly from her eyes. Molli has no status save her delightful self to recommend her, but she tries harder than anyone else I know. Certainly harder than I ever did. To see someone like Lady Julianna—so gauche and tasteless, utterly lacking in poise or subtlety, despite her wealth and breeding—who possesses every advantage and has earned none, feels like quite a personal insult.
I’m finding the recent run of very young marriages—including my own impending one—more problematic than any individual plight. Being engaged isn’t what I wanted or expected in my seventeenth year . . . and eighteen is truly not much older.
Too late I realize that in my distraction I’ve allowed my progress to slow. When I next feel a presence at my shoulder, I’m certain I won’t be so lucky as to turn and find a friendly face a second time.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Such a fantastic read. In a totally different setting of time and elegance. Loved it.
The writing was incredible and I strongly recomend this for anyone. I could even feel my own chest tightening with Danica's corset. I would recomend waiting untill after Febuary 13, 2018 though, because then the sequel will be out.
“Glitter” is definitely a unique book that will appeal to many. Unfortunately, I am not one of them. The world is fascinating and the characters are diverse. The author did not do an info dump about it all, which was both appreciated and frustrating. By frustrating, I mean it seemed to go too long before anything at all was explained. It read slowly for me, but overall was well-written, and I believe many will fall in love with the story. “Glitter” is a book I can neither recommend nor warn against. My suggestion is to try it yourself if it sounds like something that may appeal to you. This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.
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. Read the rest at: http://underthebookcover.blogspot.com/2016/11/book-review-glitter-by-aprilynne-pike_20.html
This book was constantly entertaining and surprising. Just when I thought I knew what would happen next, an unexpected twist would change everything. What struck me the most was that even though I really disliked the main character, I loved the book. Set in a near-future world, the residents of Versailles act like it still is the eighteenth century (with all the comforts modern technology can provide). After Danica witnesses the King/CEO killing his lover, her mother blackmails him into a betrothal. Danica is desperate to escape her fate and begins selling glitter, an insanely addictive drug, disguised as cosmetics. Danica is a character that it’s incredibly hard to be sympathetic toward, which was a refreshing change of pace. She makes some bad choices, has some incredibly questionable morals, has an inability to speak up at important times, and is selfish. Despite that, I found myself captivated by the story that unfolded (perhaps due to the same reason you can’t turn away from a train wreck?). The story itself was original, creative, and somewhat quirky. The ending was pitch perfect and left me eagerly awaiting the next book in the story. As for the setting, it definitely took some getting used to the idea but I warmed up to it. Setting the story in a modern day Versailles was a gutsy move on the part of the author. Luckily, it worked (I have no idea how but it just does). It added to the suspense and the tension of the political drama because it allowed it to play out in a way that a modern setting wouldn’t. Also, I was a little worried about the possibility of a love triangle. Luckily, there isn’t one at all. I was pleased with the way romance was handled in this book - it was present and interesting but didn’t take over as the center of the plot. Overall, it was an innovative concept that was well executed. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy fast-paced young adult fiction involving political intrigue. *I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
I’M A SUCKER FOR PRETTY COVERS, OKAY? Don’t judge a book by its cover? Well, POOSH TO YOU. I’m doing it anyway. We’re hardwired to like the pretty things (if you’re not, WOW TO YOU, you’re probably a better person than I am) and I’m so exception. And unless you’re blind, it’s quite obvious that Glitter is a GORGEOUS (and I mean OVER THE TOP GORGEOUS) book. While that was probably what made Glitter catch my eye on NetGalley, the story-line was even more exciting. Go into the future, invent all the technology you can think of, and then TAN DAN DAAAN – form an 18th century Court filled with Kings and Social Standing and Gowns and Balls and Dukes and Duchesses. IT’S PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING, RIGHT, for everyone with Regency-like dreams? Combine a sociopathic King, and his young bride willing to resort to selling highly addictive drugs to escape his clutches, you have me a story I cannot resist. And now, after binge reading the book, here I am. Half amazed, one fourths shocked, one fourths disappointed, but mostly just a bundle of emotions I can’t entangle. Let me first say – I LOVED THIS WORLD. I saw a lot of people having trouble trying to put in under a particular genre, but Glitter isn’t one of those easily classifiable books. It’s a futuristic historical novel, and this was ALL PARTS AWESOME. Set in modern day Versailles, bought from Paris, Sonoman-Versailles is a court located in the middle of a modern world, with VERY MORDER TECHNOLOGY. Gone are the days of maids and drawing up baths, but there is Artificial Intelligence – M.A.R.I.E – running the palace instead. With a Board of Directors playing dress up as nobles, and corsets laced by robots, this was ONE GENIUS WORLD. On the downside though, the characters were MEH. While I was most enamoured with the world, the characters were something I didn’t particularly fall for. I didn’t: a) SEE the big sociopath the King was supposed to be to make Danica Grayson want to endanger loads of lives b) I didn’t feel the friendships with Lord Aaron and Molli c) I didn’t EVEN feel the chemistry between Saber (?) and Danica Everything was too superficial, while trying not to be. There was, in fact, not a single character in this book I found myself rooting for. All in all, a book worth reading ONLY for the world Pike creates! 3 stars!
This contemporary/historical mash-up is a dystopian novel set in a futurstic world, a story about a modern-day Marie Antionettte (without the guillotine - yet). I had read a book close to this one in concept - Court - about a monarchy thriving in the midst of the modern world. But while Court had a hidden monarchy, the one in Glitter is actually a company that made so much money that it bought off the Versailles Palace and made it their residence. The nobles in this country are the higher ups of the company, and the employees are the populace - and all of this makes sense when you read it. Danica becomes one such 'noble' when her father inherits shares in the company, making her a titled person, and the opulence of the world enchants her and her mother so much that she gets into all the politics and frivolities of this modern day court of the Sun King. Until he is blackmailed into marrying her by her mother - that bursts her happy bubble At the start of the book, she is looking for a way out of the court, back to the modern world. Not out of a sudden interest in modernity, but rather to escape her fate of being betrothed to a sadistic king. Her way out involves paying off a crime lord an exorbitant sum, which gets her involved in peddling a drug to her peers. She does so without their consent, initiating a moral conflict within herself. To help her with the business is one of the minions of the drug lord, Saber, who she feels a magnetic attraction to. Their attraction is fraught with tension, mostly because she isn't really a good person, and he disapproves of her actions. Danica is written beautifully complex - she is neither good nor bad. She does selfish things, but also feels remorse for it. She endangers the lives of so many people by putting them on the drug without their knowledge and consent, and that felt wrong on so many levels. She is also been honed as a tool for her mother's ambition, and her way of punishing herself with her corset and all the symbolism behind it being literally the thing holding her in place was painful. A big thing to understand here is that she was pushed into a corner and she took a terrible way out, which makes for a great story for the reader but not such a great situation for her. The world Pike has created definitely merits a special mention, because she has melded these two genres - the historical and the futuristic so well enough! You get both the romanticizing and drama of the past as the foundation and the modern elements providing the plot and its progression. And with the characters crafted uniquely into this world, it makes for an interesting novel.
So I had heard of steampunk - a genre I love love love! But I had never heard of retro culture! Have you? In case you haven't, the best way I can describe it is as the opposite of steampunk. Instead of the technology being in the wrong time period, the time period is in the wrong place in time! And that is how it is with Glitter. In Glitter, the majority of our story takes place in a castle (the palace of Versailles to be exact) with people that live there. And these people, well, they go about their lives as if they live in that time period. They dress the part and they even have a king! The do allow for some of the technology of the time in though - so they do kind of cheat in that way, but other than that they try to remain pretty true to how things had been. Outside of the world though, they don't live this way. It is only in the castle that time has found a way to go backwards and to stand still. Pretty cool huh? In all of this is our main character Danica. A girl who lives in the castle who finds herself engaged to the King despite her not wanting to be. And she will do anything to get out of the situation. Including, but not limited to, selling a highly addicting drug disguised as glittery make up to those that live in the castle. Oh and of course there is a love interest in the story. You can't have a story without one of those these days it seems. So what did I think? I loved Glitter! I loved the world. I loved the characters. I loved the story. I loved the creativity. I just loved it. I found myself pulled in. I was actually surprised how dark this story actually is. I was definitely not expecting that at all. In my mind Aprilynne Pike writes fluffy fairy stories, not dark deceptive drug stories. But oh my goodness, does it work for her. There were a lot of layers to the characters, and I enjoyed almost all of them. I really loved the scenes between Danica and the King. Oh my goodness how I loved them. In my opinion, they were some of the best written scenes in the whole book! So much anger, so much chemistry, so much YES! And something I think Aprilynne Pike did very well in regards to this story was research. I had absolutely no idea that a corset could do what it apparently can to a person over time! Of course, this is only one example - but despite this book being a work of fiction, I still learned something! So, obviously I loved this book. I cannot wait for more of these characters and more of this world that Pike has created. I just hope she doesn't take too long to write the next one. My Rating 4.5 Stars This review is based on an eARC provided by the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Find more of my reviews here: https://readingwithcupcakes.blogspot.com
I really enjoyed this one! I mean….how can Breaking Bad meets Marie Antoinette NOT be intriguing?? I love that Glitter is hard to define. Historical Fiction? Romance? Dystopian? YA? New Adult? It’s kind of a hybrid of a lot of things, which made it so interesting. I loved: 1. The world building: the world in Glitter is as undefineable as the story itself. You have a Sonoma-Versailles corporation that purchased (blackmailed really) the Palace of Versailles from France. So you have modern day outside the palace but Sonoma-Versailles runs itself like 17-18th century Baroque France with monarchies, and dresses, corsets, and court intrigue---all immersed in futuristic technology. Pike immerses you in the world right from the start and gradually allows the reader to discover its intricacies as the story unfolds. It is kind of jarring and confusing at first but I liked not being spoon-fed. 2. A morally ambiguous heroine: “Is it truly worth saving your life if you lose your soul in the process? You have a young girl forced into an engagement with a fiend of a king who is willing to do anything necessary to find a way out. Our heroine drugs the court elite without their knowledge to raise funds for her escape…what could possibly go wrong? I still found Dani likeable; but it wasn’t an easy call to make and I loved that. 3. Fast Paced Quick Read: I was intrigued from the first chapter—a girl in a palace prison, murder, court politics, drugs, romance—there was plenty there to keep the pages turning! (Quickly) I had a few minor issues but none that really effected my overall enjoyment. Glitter is a solid start to a series and I can’t wait for the next one! I received a free digital copy of Glitter from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not shape or change my opinion of the book. Thank you Random House and Netgalley for the review copy!
I was sold at the tagline of "Breaking Bad meets Marie Antoinette", but then I saw the cover and was even more interested. I love the idea of a modern society choosing to live like French society. I liked Danica well enough. She's not the best person in the world and knows what's she's doing is wrong, but chooses to continue to do it. Yet, I can't find total fault with that. I'm sure I would do the same. She's loyal to her friends, even though it doesn't look like it. Molli and Lord Aaron were delightful characters and I wish we would have gotten more with them. The plot had me captivated right from the beginning. There were a few things I definitely didn't see coming and an ending seriously made me crazy. Overall, it was an entertaining and fun read. I sincerely hope there's another book. **Huge thanks to Random House for providing the arc free of charge**·