In this sci-fi duology closer, Queen Danica must embrace her role to find a way to break out of her gilded, 22nd-century cage.
Dani’s been back-stabbed by her crime-lord contact and returned to the palace, where she’s forced to wed the king and to continue dealing Glitter. The young white woman resolves to take down the men controlling her and to rescue her enslaved love, Saber (a green-eyed man of Mongolian descent). Playing along until she has the resources to make a true move, Dani must take down social rivals (such as King Justin’s bully of a mistress, Lady Cyn) and scheme against dissident factions within Sonoman-Versailles. The strategies required demand that she think of the consequences (and said consequences’ consequences) of her actions, which reinforces the guilt she feels about the casualties of her decisions—but they also reveal something she finds unpleasant about herself: she enjoys the power games, especially winning them. While pulling at threads to find weaknesses in her enemies, Dani and her friends uncover company secrets that trigger heavy themes about automation’s impact on economies and the concentration of wealth. Dani and Saber’s relationship is much better realized than in Glitter (2016), especially when they disagree or he’s criticizing her decisions (and helping her grow stronger—literally). The hard-fought ending tonally matches the story.
A delicious drama of morally imperfect characters in a fantastical future world with timely, relevant politics. (Romantic thriller/science fiction. 12-adult)