Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Review: Glitter by Aprilynne Pike

Publication date: October 25th 2016
Publisher: Random House
Length: 384 pages

Thanks to Netgalley and Random House for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Aprilynne Pike comes a truly original new novel—Breaking Bad meets Marie Antoinette in a near-future world where the residents of Versailles live like it's the eighteenth century and an almost-queen turns to drug dealing to save her own life. 
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.

One day I will probably learn to not get too excited about a book based on its cover and blurb – but today is not that day! Case in point, ‘Glitter’, that lured me with in with that gorgeous cover and intriguing blurb and then promptly smushed all of my hopes and dreams with its lacklustre plot and unlikeable heroine.

The premise was fascinating – slightly ahead of our own time, a corporation have taken up residence in the Palace of Versailles, dressing and living as though they were there in the Sun King’s time. Something that I can easily see happening in real life. All of the beautiful dresses and courtly manners and lifestyle of such a sumptuous time period, combined with mod cons and electronics (tastefully) interwoven? Yes please, sign me up now. Unfortunately that’s about where the excitement for this novel ends, as any hopes that it gave me were swiftly dashed upon the introduction of our ridiculously unlikeable heroine and her scheming plot to sell drugs to everyone around her without their knowledge. She barely has any qualms about doing it, and seems content to throw literally everyone she knows under the bus for her own personal gain.

If she had some moral dilemma that was halfway convincing I’d be more on board. If I really felt any sense of threat then maybe I’d be more on board. But as it was I was thoroughly unconvinced and just ended up disliking Danica intensely. Throw in a poorly constructed plot, a romance that made me want to throw things for the inconsistency, and a *gasp* plot twist at the end, and I ended up feeling thoroughly disgruntled when I finished this one.

I’m all for plot twists, but they have to still move the story forward and feel like they’re a suitable payoff for the rest of the story. Unfortunately this one just made me feel like I’d wasted my time reading the rest of this book.

Despite all of this it was surprisingly addictive (pun intended) and I found myself wanting to get back to Danica’s world, to see what (idiocies) she’d get herself into next, and to escape into this odd hybrid mix of historical and futuristic.
I can’t say I recommend it exactly, because it definitely didn’t offer me enough good things to warrant that, but it was interesting and has piqued my interest enough that (possibly despite myself) I will be keeping an eye out for a sequel next year.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

What's Lurking in my Currently Reading Pile

You may have noticed that this site hasn't been updated in a while, a good long while in fact. Sadly, as has been the case for a lot of people this year, 2016 has really been giving me a beating which meant that a lot of things have had to go on the backburner. But I'm slowly pulling things back together and that means more post, more books, and a lot more reviews.

And whilst I tend to read a lot less when I'm stressed (I just can't settle to a book) I have still been reading. The odd page here and there of several books at once, just to keep me sane in amongst the madness.

So what's currently lurking in my reading pile? I thought I'd share a few.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Because who doesn't need heartbreak when they're already being emotionally crippled?! In all seriousness though, I saw the film and loved it (although I did sob like a small child at the end) and felt I really ought to catch up and read the book. It's fresh, it's engaging, and when I actually sit down with it I storm through a good chunk at a time. It's surprisingly funny in along with the heartbreak, and it's giving me a well written character I can root for in Lou. Definite thumbs up and a recommendation to check it out if you haven't yet.

Glitter by Aprilynne Pike
This book isn't due out until October, and I'm currently having a bit of a love hate relationship with it. There are some brilliant ideas involved, and it's surprisingly addictive (ha!) but there are a huge number of problems and a whole lot of mess to contend with. Despite that I'm getting through it at quite a pace which is definitely something in my current reading state.

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead
I picked this up based purely off a postcard I saw at YALC that amused me, and whilst I'm not very far in, this is definitely piqued my interest and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes.

The Graces by Laure Eve
I've not actually cracked open the book yet, but when it showed up in this months Illumicrate box I did a little gleeful dance. I've heard a lot of good things already, and I feel incredibly lucky to have got my hands on an early copy. Magic, twistiness and darkness - this sounds right up my street.

Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon
I'm enjoying taking my time with the Outlander series. It's something I know I'll enjoy, I know where I stand with, and I know I can come back to whenever I want and savour it at my own pace. With the end of the second season on TV, I decided that now was the time to see how listening to audiobooks on my commute to and from work could work for me. So far so good, although it helps that I like the narrator for the series. I'm not far in yet, but it's wonderful being back with Claire and Jamie already.

The Planetary Omnibus by Warren Ellis
It's not an exaggeration to say that the Transmetropolitan series by Warren Ellis saved me in multiple ways at the end of last year and the start of this one, so of course I was going to get my hands on this omnibus by him. I've not started it yet (it's a hefty tome!) but I'm looking forward to seeing more of his work and immersing myself back into some graphic novels. They appear to be a wonderful way for me to get back into reading when I'm not managing well with fiction books.

So there you have my (quite large) currenty reading/about to read pile. As you can see it's a fairly wide and varied mix, but it's keeping me out of trouble and slowly getting me back into the habit of reading again.

But over to you - what have you been reading lately that you think I should pick up? Let me know in the comments below.