Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Books for Young Readers for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: October 25th, 2016
Synopsis: 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.
I’ve always been fascinated with Versailles since I did a report on Marie Antoinette back in the 6th grade so I was quite excited when I saw that the popular YA fiction author, Aprilynne Pike was coming out with a new book with the Sun Court as the setting in a futuristic world. Sadly, while the world-building is intriguing, the main character, Danica, is simply reprehensible and in my opinion, by the end of the book, beyond redemption. I don’t mind having a protagonist who’s not pure as the driven snow. Some of you may remember from my review a couple weeks ago that I loved the serial killer Ryann in Kelly Charron’s Pretty Wicked. The problem here is Danica’s personality. She’s a whiny, impulsive, selfish-indulgent brat, with absolutely no moral compass. I understood her desperation to escape, but there are certain lines that you just don’t cross. I knew from the premise that her character was going to be morally ambiguous, but the author could have done so much more to develop her character. But, no. At the end of the book, she’s the same self-centered, ignorant girl that she was at the beginning, even after her actions cause two deaths. Saber, her partner in crime and eventual love interest, actually came off somewhat likable at first. While he’s part of the drug dealing scheme, it’s obvious from the beginning that he’s doing it against his will and the mystery is why? I loved that he had no problem showing his contempt for Danica and what she was doing. My problem was, when their passionate feelings ignited, it just wasn’t believable, because of his distaste for her. The secondary characters were cookie-cutter charicatures, and aren’t even worth mentioning. The world-building is beautiful and imaginatively written which is the only reason why I’m giving this 1 1/2 stars. However, it’s just not enough to make up for the many other flaws. The ending makes it obvious that there will be a sequel, but I can emphatically say I won’t be wasting my time reading it. Overall, this is a book with a creative premise, but whose characters and plot are so poorly executed I had to really push myself to finish. While this was a huge disappointment for me, there are readers who liked it, so if you’re intrigued with the premise, as always, I advise you try it for yourself.