By Aprilynne Pike
Random House Books for Young Readers, 2016. Young Adult. 384 pages.
Caught in a power play between her mother and a megalomaniacal king and CEO, Danica plots her escape from the cyberpunk parody of Versailles in which she's been trapped. Unfortunately for Danica, her plan is terrible. An engrossing look at how desperation drives individuals to atrocious solutions, Glitter is equal parts Breaking Bad and a recreation of the Bourbon Kings. The 'twenty minutes into the future' technological aspect also invokes questions of privacy, as every aspect of Danica's criminal empire revolves around hiding her enterprise from an all seeing AI that controls the Palace of Versailles. Essentially, a financial collapse in France allows a billionaire to buy Versailles and create his own pocket kingdom where nobility is determined by the number of shares an individual or family owns of his company. His teenage grandson reigns as a budding tyrant after a plane crash claims his parents. From him and the matrimony they are blackmailed into by Danica's mother are what Danica schemes to escape.
I literally couldn't put it down. The primary protagonist and antagonist were equally unlikable, but the palpable desperation Danica exhibits creates an atmosphere where the reader can understand why she makes such terrible choices. While Glitter revolves around dealing drugs, it conveys the message that any victories claimed in such a manner are inevitably Pyrrhic. The drastic contrast between Danica and her parents' goals and coping mechanisms adds an additional air of tragedy, while the crescendoing collapse of her every relationship mirrors the spiraling increase of the drug market under her thumb. Glitter is a modern tragedy in every sense.