Overall Score: 8/10
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopian
Series: Yes, Book 1
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 25, 2016
Source: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Book Summary (From GoodReads)
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.
This book was constantly entertaining and surprising. Just when I thought I knew what would happen next, an unexpected twist would change everything. What struck me the most was that even though I really disliked the main character, I loved the book.
Set in a near-future world, the residents of Versailles act like it still is the eighteenth century (with all the comforts modern technology can provide). After Danica witnesses the King/CEO killing his lover, her mother blackmails him into a betrothal. Danica is desperate to escape her fate and begins selling glitter, an insanely addictive drug, disguised as cosmetics.
Danica is a character that it’s incredibly hard to be sympathetic toward, which was a refreshing change of pace. She makes some bad choices, has some incredibly questionable morals, has an inability to speak up at important times, and is selfish. Despite that, I found myself captivated by the story that unfolded (perhaps due to the same reason you can’t turn away from a train wreck?). The story itself was original, creative, and somewhat quirky. The ending was pitch perfect and left me eagerly awaiting the next book in the story.
As for the setting, it definitely took some getting used to the idea but I warmed up to it. Setting the story in a modern day Versailles was a gutsy move on the part of the author. Luckily, it worked (I have no idea how but it just does). It added to the suspense and the tension of the political drama because it allowed it to play out in a way that a modern setting wouldn’t. Also, I was a little worried about the possibility of a love triangle. Luckily, there isn’t one at all. I was pleased with the way romance was handled in this book – it was present and interesting but didn’t take over as the center of the plot.
Overall, it was an innovative concept that was well executed. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy fast-paced young adult fiction involving political intrigue.