Glitter, by Aprilynne Pike

Glitter, by Aprilynne Pike book coverGenre: Science Fiction Dystopia
Publisher: Signet
Published: 2016
Reviewer Rating: two stars
Book Review by David L. Felts

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Glitter, by Aprilynne Pike, is a tough one to classify, so I settled on dystopian science fiction. That’s because the world of Glitter is a pretty crappy world, and one I don’t see many people wanting to be a part of. It’s set in an alternate future where Sonoman, a powerful corporation, has purchased the French Palace of Versailles, and operates there in a simulacrum of 1800th century French Baroque society, complete with king and court and lords and all that.

Which is ridiculous of course. But it’s science fiction after all, so forgivable. And, to her credit, Pike does a great job of  depicting the court culture she’s going after.

There’s also the consideration that although this is listed as published by Random House, it’s actually published by Random House for Young Readers. Huh. Murder, drug use and dealing, and more sexual innuendo than you can shake a… uh,… stick at…. I guess publishers think if a book as teenage protagonists, then it’s a Young Adult book. I wouldn’t pass this along to anyone under 16 or so, but maybe that’s just me. I certainly wouldn’t want a 12 year old reading it….

And this ends up being a weakness as well. As an adult, I’m not really all that interested in reading about morally corrupt (and two sociopathic) teenagers living in a pseudo court culture society, or a protagonist that has an obsession with flashing green eyes and seeing how tight she can lace up her bodice in between getting everyone around hooked on drugs.

Danica (said protagonist) is a very minor noble in the faux culture, but through some blackmail and other devious machinations, her mother has secured Danica a betrothal to the King, who happens to be only a few years older than Danica’s own 17. Danica doesn’t want to marry him and wants to leave Versailles, change her face (since everyone in the world would recognize her because of the impending wedding) and disappear. But she needs some 5 million euros to do this.

But she’s rich, right? I guess not, since “local” Versailles money doesn’t translate to Euros. Anyway….

How does she set about raising the money? She plans to sell a new designer drug to the residents of Versailles. A very addictive drug that ruins lives and kills people. And it’s not only the selling, but the way she goes about it, which is to hide the drug into a new line of makeup, convince everyone it’s the greatest, and then sell it to her friends and neighbors without them knowing that she’s getting them hooked.


And she goes about this without nary a flicker of conscience. I suppose one could admire her determination if nothing else.

So I’m left wondering who, exactly, this book would appeal to, and — honestly — I’m coming up a bit short. That’s not to say it’s not well written, because it is, or that the characters aren’t well done, because they are, or that it’s not creative, because it is… but the whole thing is, well, silly, and the main characters not very likable.

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