Glitter (Glitter, Bk. 1) by Aprilynne Pike
Random House, 2016, 367pp.
Trigger warning: This book contains instances of self-harm. No matter what you are going through, you don’t have to be alone. Reach out to someone near you that you trust. Ask for help to get through your situation. Don’t abuse yourself.
In an alternate timeline of the present day, everything in France is normal, except that in the palace of Versailles, the monarchy is very much alive, and ruled by a corrupt, young king, who has just committed murder. When the sole witness to the crime, a teenager named Danica, is blackmailed into becoming his future queen, she will do anything to escape her fate, even if it means cooperating with a drug dealer to smuggle the latest craze, Glitter, into the hands of the court elite. But as Danica will learn, blackmail and murder are only the beginnings of danger in these gilded halls.
This was a great book. I loved it. The world is just close enough to ours that it sort of defies genre classification. It’s a bit of a romance, a lot of adventure, and a bit of science-fiction. It’s got a contemporary feel with a moody twist (readers who enjoyed The Selection, will understand). It has the aesthetic of a period film like Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette. It’s got an otherwise ordinary person forced into extraordinary actions out of desperation…in other words, a compelling motivation to read.
It’s not really giving the plot away to discuss the method of distribution for the drugs — they’re mixed inside of cosmetics. They’re also NOT disclosed in the list of ingredients, so, it’s easy to unknowingly get hooked and the product itself becomes crazy-popular. I thought this was a unique way to introduce narcotics into a closed group like the court, where historically, 17th century makeup and skincare would have contained harmful elements like lead and mercury. Learn more about 17th century beauty treatments at Wonders and Marvels. The integration makes it both believable and alarming, as Danica resorts to more and more ambiguous means to free herself from the depravity of the king.
The palace itself is huge and Danica’s movements evading being caught in her transgressions could easily become bewildering to follow and overwhelming, but fortunately for us, someone did the tremendous amount of work of including a detailed floor plan of the palace, and labeling some thirty-plus rooms, plus antechambers, courtyards and cabinets, the perfect spots for plotting and assignations.
Glitter is the first of a two-book series, the sequel, Shatter, was published in 2018, and at the time of this writing, I’m looking to order a copy to read what I am hoping will be quite the conclusion. Already a fan of Glitter or ready to give it a try? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think of it. I look forward to hearing from you.