What do the phrases royalty, drugs, and advanced technology remind you of? Probably not a book. But guess what! These are just some phrases that describe Aprilynne Pike’s book Glitter. The story revolves around 17-year Danica, who is forced to buy her way out of a forced marriage to a heartless king. Only thing is, doing such a feat requires money- a lot of money. The only way for her to get all of this money? Selling drugs.
I just want to give a disclaimer here, but this book does talk about drug dealing of a fantasy (nonexistent) drug. It does not go over the side effects of any real drug. If you or a loved one has or is having issues with drug abuse, please call the SAMHSA national helpline at 1-800-662-4357. If you do not think you are comfortable reading about the selling of drugs, then you are obliged to not obtain or read the book.
Firstly, Glitter is set in the 22nd century— around the year 2136 to be exact. It’s meant to be a dystopian novel. Even though it’s a work of fiction, it’s not located in a fantasy land. Instead, the story takes place in the Palace of Versailles, Versailles, France. This monumental palace was first built in the 15th century by dictatorial French king Louis XIV. It’s a very important piece of European history. However, the palace is not run exactly how it was 500 years ago- more on that later.
The main character of our book is Danica Grayson, a 17-year old girl who moved into the palace. The palace is home to both royalty as well as high ranked officials of a company known as Sonoma. This company amassed so much wealth that it managed to buy the Palace of Versailles from France. Danica, however, is not royalty. Her father became an important company employee, which is how she ended up in the palace. What makes her life more difficult than other nobles’ lives is that she is betrothed to the “king” of the palace, who also happens to be the CEO of Sonoma. Unfortunately for Danica, the king is not in her best love interests nor is he a good person, something that will become more prevalent as one reads through the story. Because of this, Danica needs to escape Sonoman-Versailles before her 18th birthday, otherwise she will be forced to marry the CEO and live life unhappily ever after.
But how will she complete such a feat? Especially when it costs so much- 50 million euros (61 million USD) to be exact. The answer to this question lies in glitter. It’s the street name for a euphoric drug that is said to be all over the streets of Versailles (the city, part of France, not the palace). Danica only has a few months to earn all of this money by selling drugs. And this task becomes much harder and dangerous because illicit substances are banned in the palace. How will she do it? Of course, you won’t know unless you read the book!
Okay, I think that was enough information about Danica and the rest of the storyline. The first time I read this, about two years ago, I enjoyed it so much that it instantly became one of my favorites. The author, Aprilynne Pike, really did think of everything- especially the small details. For instance, at the beginning of the book, Danica says that she would rather be involved in computer science than to be a queen. Her father also stated that he wanted her to be involved in that field as her job. This detail was so small that I did not notice it the first time around! However, it’s giving a good example of a woman with a passion for computer science, a field that is usually male dominated. Another interesting detail that also relates to representation is the fact that two of the nobles at Sonoman-Versailles are gay. It’s not explicitly stated, but there are numerous examples of the romance of these two noblemen in the story. There are many more small details, such as Danica being half Israeli, that do not explicitly contribute to the story, but do show the diversity that the author imagined the 22nd century to have.
My rating for Glitter would be a 4.5 out of 5. Many of my friends have also read the book and would give similar ratings. While it does have an excellent storyline with romance, mysteries, and more, there are some areas that could be improved. For instance, many French words, such as soiree and panniers, are used in the story. Since there is no French-to-English glossary included, people unfamiliar with French terms may have a hard time understanding the story. To fix this issue, I would suggest the author include a glossary after the final chapter. Of course, due to the age of the book, that may not happen. If you read this book and struggle understanding the French terms, the best solution would be to look them up on the Internet.
Lastly, if you enjoyed the book, there’s also a sequel called Shatter, which is also available at the Santa Clarita libraries. I personally think that the sequel was okay, but it is definitely better than the sequels of some other books in terms of plot. Unlike Glitter, Shatter discusses some larger topics, such as extremely large companies and world disasters. It’s sort of like the “teen kid saves the world” trope. If that type of story interests you, make sure to check it out after you read Glitter!
Books like Glitter are hard to come by. After all, the story is about drugs and royalty! But if you enjoyed my review and summary of the book, then feel free to check it out! It’s available at the Santa Clarita libraries, so you can always put it on hold to receive a physical copy. If you like what I said in this review, as well as dystopian novels, then you’ll definitely enjoy Glitter!
Review By ~ Sana