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I Belong

Early Review: Glitter by Aprilynne Pike

glitterTitle: Glitter

Author: Aprilynne Pike

Genre: YA Fantasy/Romance

Series: N/A

Publication Date: October 25, 2016

Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages

ISBN-10: 1101933704 (Random House)

ISBN-13: 978-1101933701 (Random House)

Reviewed by: Zed


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.”

Quick & DirtyAn ‘addictive’ tale of power and powerlessness.

Opening Sentence: I rush through the catacombs, my face shrouded beneath the brim of a cap, skimming by the empty eyes of long-dead skulls.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Living her life as her mother dictates and then being forced by circumstances into marrying the sadistic king, Danica finally decides to think for herself and make her own life choices.

To achieve her goal in being Queen Mother, Dani has spent her adolescence taking lessons for grace, plastic surgery to beautify her face and essentially preening herself so that the king falls in love with her. Though Dani never imagined it would work, it all changed overnight such that she is thrust into the limelight, with all her lessons put to the ultimate test. Can she fake her way through and somehow escape being Queen or will her silence cost her everything?

I actually thought that Danica’s mother was worse than the king himself. At least Justin can sort of use the excuse that he’s only nineteen years old and is a spoilt brat turned king to excuse his deplorable behaviour, what excuse does that woman have? After knowing everything, she blackmails the king and literally sells her daughter off to a masochist for money and power!

“I don’t need you,” His Majesty spat, anger overriding his pathetic act of contrition. “I can fix this myself.”
“Can you?” She paced slowly before him, her eyes never leaving his. “How will you find a coroner? How will you justify his bribe to your accountants? Do you intend to mask those bruises on her neck yourself? And those are just the easy parts. The sad truth is that a boy stupid enough to accidentally kill his own lover is far too stupid to cover it up.”

This may sound mean but I enjoyed learning about Dani’s flaws as she goes about with her plan of escape. She pretends to be the perfect queen-to-be with her calm demeanour and poise but Dani is literally winging her way through. She’s so used to conforming to her mother’s plans that when she finally makes her own decisions, some result in catastrophic consequences. It’s not that she can’t think for herself, Danica is super smart when it comes to hacking the world-class technology in the palace, but she’s under an enormous amount of pressure, with a dangerous secret about a dangerous man so you can forgive her for acting without thinking it all through.

I take a few seconds to gather my composure. I need him to understand. “I have no choice.”
But there’s no softening of his expression. “You don’t know the meaning of no choice, Dani. You had your choice. And you made it. Now you have to live with it. And so does everyone else.”

Dani’s heart is in the right place and all she wants to be is normal and as far away from the evil king as possible, but circumstances are such that almost every move of hers is watched, if not by the court or the robot servants, then by the M.A.R.I.E. surveillance system. I can’t imagine how I would deal under such scrutiny and with so little privacy; Dani is in a prison with gold bars. I admired her courage in trying to escape, even when things look bad and her plans are near impossible to achieve, she doesn’t give up.

Onto the drugged cosmetics, which is where this book gets its title. Glitter. Such a simple idea but pure brilliance. To add an addictive drug to cosmetics so it leaves the user feeling happier without their knowing is a brilliant invention. So brilliant that I wonder whether there is already a cosmetic company out there doing this? My lip balms are super addictive, I wonder….

Such a tale wouldn’t be complete without a tangled romance. Although the love story was predictable, Saber’s character certainly was not. I enjoyed his broodiness and shroud of mystery. It was a tad weird how Dani revealed almost all her secrets to him, yet he wouldn’t share his until she eventually found out from someone else. For a minute I wondered whether he would double cross her too, Dani does seem to have the worst luck!

“I thought every little girl in Sonoman-Versailles dreamed of being part of the lever one day.”
“Considering I wasn’t noble enough to reside in the palace as a little girl, I wouldn’t know.”
“You didn’t have big dreams?” he says, his voice soft, dangerous with its vague lilt of seduction.
“Not of being in this hellish position.”

There was a significant turn of events at the end and though I didn’t expect things to go her way, I was shocked at how many things went wrong for the future queen! Don’t be fooled by the title, Glitter is not a typical happily-ever-after but it brought to my mind the phrase; ‘all that glitters is not gold.’

Notable Scene:

My conscience is frayed nigh to pieces; months ago I asked myself if my life was worth what it would take to raise this money. At the time I said yes. But now that it’s nearly done, I’m not so sure. Is it truly worth saving your life if you lose your soul in the process?


FTC Advisory: Random House Books for Young Readers/Penguin Random House provided me with a copy of Glitter. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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One Response to “Early Review: Glitter by Aprilynne Pike

  1. Anne CNo Gravatar

    Thanks for the review. I have read a few negative reviews for this and some chose to not finish the book. They were saying Dani was selfish and they could not take what she was doing. That actually made me more interested to know the character.

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