I was provided a free digital copy in exchange for an honest review. Thanks, Random House Children’s and Netgalley!
Breaking Bad meets Marie Antionette? How can you not? Well, granted I’ve never actually watched Breaking Bad but I absolutely love anything about foreign royalty so I thought this would be right up my alley. While I did like the book’s fast pace and the faux royalty, due to the fast pace, certain parts felt very rushed, and the world building was confusing.
Disclaimer: There might be spoilers! I’m sorry. I know I normally don’t do spoilers but in this case, there were some things I wanted to talk about that I couldn’t unless I included a small spoilers disclaimer!
Author: Aprilynne Pike
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Release date: October 25, 2016
Length: 384 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Young adult, sci-fi, fantasy, dystopian
Synopsis: (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.”
My rating: 3.5/5 stars
I definitely liked all the characters. Well, maybe except Justin (the “King”) because he’s definitely a little sick and twisted in a grossly sexual, devious way. While I couldn’t connect to Dani very much, I did feel sorry for what happened, not to her mother, but to her friend, Molli. She tried really hard to keep her close friends, including Lord Aaron, out of the situation but we realized how quickly things spiraled out of control for Dani once Molli became involved. I do admire Lord Aaron’s loyalty to Dani and I hope to see him with his love in the next book (I mean, there has to be a next book. Hello, that cliffhanger)!
What confused me the most was the world building. I’m unconvinced that this Sonoma Inc. could straight up BUY THE PALACE OF VERSAILLES to bail France out of bankruptcy but also under the promise that they will continue to allow tourists to view the palace and its residents in all their eighteenth century splendor. So the people who actually live in the palace have to play 18th century dress up every single day and keep up with the 18th century traditions of the last French royal family who lived in Versailles. It’s…strange. So strange. We get some information about the modern world outside of the Palace but it’s obvious that isn’t the main focus of this particular book. Maybe we’ll see more of that in future books.
The romance between Dani and Saber felt incredibly rushed and a bit forced. I wasn’t sure why they liked each other in the first place. I understand Dani needed some sort of escape and Saber provided that for her, in a sense, but when she confesses her love for him, I’m sorry, but you can’t make me believe it!
And if there’s one character I disliked the most it’s Justin. I understand that he’s young but he’s also manipulative and the way he sexually stalks Dani is creepy. The two are both playing a game but if Dani doesn’t step up her game then Justin will overpower her and then I’ll have problems! We’ll all have problems!
The ending definitely sets the story up for a sequel. I wouldn’t mind buying this book for my collection and eagerly awaiting the next books. I imagine it’ll improve as the story progresses and I look forward to it.