Glitter by Aprilynne Pike
Glitter by Aprilynne Pike
On Sale Date: October 25, 2016
Young Adult Fiction \ Fantasy, Historical
Random House Books for Young Readers, 384 pages
Rating: 3 Stars
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.
Glitter is hailed as "Breaking Bad meets Marie Antoinette" and author Aprilynne Pike has definitely created a dark, decadent, and genre-bending futuristic-tale featuring an anti-heroine that leads readers on a descending path of danger in a world of blackmail and manipulation.
Set in a reimagined Versailles, residents live like it's still the eighteenth-century where pompadours and corsets mix with futuristic bots, run by an artificial intelligence called M.A.R.I.E., to carry out every need, every whim, every vice.
Glitter opens with Danica, the protagonist of Pike's new YA duology, witnessing an act of murder by the young king which leads her mother, power-hungry and vindictive, to blackmailing the king into making Danica his new queen. Trapped in a gilded cage, Danica is no sweet Nightingale, rather she fights to escape the brutality of the king. Her means, Glitter, a powerful and addicting drug. She mixes Glitter into rouges and lipsticks, selling it to the ladies of the court who unknowingly buy her product, thus addicting themselves unwittingly. Danica gains the money she needs to buy her freedom but at the cost of many who will pay the price.
Glitter does mix an exciting genre-bending setting with a futuristic enhanced Versailles, keeping the trappings and morals of the original, where status is determined by favor and, above all, one's birth. The cattiness and social norms are there. It makes for a compelling, almost addicting read.
Similar to the show Breaking Bad, you have a character that chooses to resort to illegal behavior in order to save themselves. Unlike the TV show's main character, Danica is harder to empathize with. I admired her determination and even her need for self-preservation but the means did not justify the ends. It's a tricky path to create an anti-heroine that readers can sympathize or even relate to. Yet, she does step out of the normal YA mold and may appeal to readers looking for an edgier, untypical protagonist that defies the norm.
I believe Ms. Pike intended to create a sort of ambivalent heroine, one who does the unthinkable, yet, leaves room for a moral lesson of sorts. I would not have realized this had I not read through to the very last pages. The ending left me very curious to see how it all plays out. I am often a fan of anti-heroines, the ones that suffer and grow, so I'm hoping the next book gives us that for Danica. Actions have consequences, and I'm still curious what lies ahead for this anti-heroine.