Monday, December 5, 2016

Glitter by Aprilynne Pike

That cliffhanger ending - ugh. I see now that it's a duology. It's been a while since I visited this book's Goodreads page clearly, because I was NOT expecting GLITER to end like that.

/cliffhangery rage

To be honest, I wasn't expecting to get this engaged with GLITTER at all. It was one of those ARCs I applied for on Netgalley on a whim. I liked the cover, the premise sounded vaguely interesting, and I recognized the author. Sometimes, that's all it takes to make me click that button. Foolishly so, because I've said - many times - that I'm tired of spoiled little rich girl fantasies and costume dystopian fiction.

GLITTER is both of these things, but somehow - bear with me - it pulls it off.

The concept is laughable, eye-roll-worthy, even. In the future, rich tech executives from California have purchased Versailles from France and turned it into their very own city-state. Despite having advanced technology, they continue to wear clothing from 18th century France, speaking the language, and even carrying on some of the traditions (like the lever, or the process of watching the Queen get up and prepare her morning routine - for a costly admission, of course).

Danica was born a commoner, but thanks to her mother's scheming, a bit of blackmail, and some expensive plastic surgery, she's all set to be the next Queen of Versailles. The only problem with that is that she doesn't want to be Queen. The King is kind of a psychopath. She's seen him do horrible things and is afraid that he'll do those things to her - or worse - if they're married. So she finds a criminal underlord of considerable power and strikes him a deal: if she is able to raise five million euros before her wedding, he'll help her escape.

How does she decide to raise the money? Highly addictive drugs.

Danica is an interesting character. Yes, there's a lot of descriptions of dresses and makeup (and the lever), and yes, there's a bit of insta-love. But Dani is no Bella Swan. She's cunning and quick-witted. All she wants to do is survive. She's a bit destructive, as well. At first, the constant descriptions of her slender waist really annoyed me, but then, as the story went on, and we see how she's constantly tightening her corset to the point of bruising pain and lightheadedness, it starts to feel less like superficial bullsh*t and more like someone who is resorting to self-harm because they don't like themselves, or their situation in life, and are exacting revenge on the one thing they can control:

their own body

GLITTER, despite its title and cover, is a pretty dark read. People die. People do drugs. People make bad choices. There are consequences. Consequences is a concept that some YA novels forget about, because consequences are not always tidy and can create a snarl in a plot that an author may want streamlined (and at the cost of characterization). But GLITTER has consequences. It has them in spades. I'm very impressed with this work, and I'm already itching to get my hands on the sequel.

4 to 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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