*I received this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
This novel was pitched as Breaking Bad meets Marie Antoinette and I KNEW I had to have it. I really went in with no expectations, as I had no idea how these two subjects would connect, which I think is why I enjoyed this so much. If I went in expecting one thing and it did not pan out that way, I would have been disappointed. I am glad I read this without any preamble, it made the ride that much more fun!
Without giving too much away the basic premise is Danica Grayson, a regular girl (as regular as a girl can be living in a historically accurate Versailles, but more on that later), is suddenly engaged to the most desired bachelor, the King. The novel starts out with her attempting to escape. That was enough to intrigue me and have me wondering why on earth she would want to leave such a beautiful palace.
Versailles, also known as Sonoman-Versailles, in this futuristic novel is lived in by a specific group of people. The company of Sonoma Inc. has purchased Versailles from France and, much like the Sun King himself, made it it’s own country. They live as if they are back during the Sun King and his descendants’ reign, though the palace is updated with artificial intelligence called M.A.R.I.E. This AI includes bots, Lenses, cameras, keypads, etc. Basically whatever is done in Versailles, M.A.R.I.E. knows about. Enter Danica and her plan to escape. As everything they do is watched, the characters must hide their secrets in plain sight. I was always very interested in seeing how they would camouflage what they were doing to fit in with the historically accurate palace.
This novel does not only take place within the palace. The reader also gets the “regular” world’s point of view. You see that Versailles is looked upon as frivolous by many, and its inhabitants have received the nickname of “Louies.” As the book continues, the two worlds start to collide and I am anxious to see how it continues in the second installment.
Danica is not necessarily a likable character. She does many things that are frowned upon, and she knows they’re bad, yet she still does them (much like Walt in Breaking Bad). You can’t help but keep reading because you want to know if she succeeds or if her plan falls apart around her. The relationship between her and the King is disturbing and intriguing. You never quite know how he will behave next and each of their interactions kept me on my toes. Her outside love interest was a little obvious, but I’m glad it did not go the typical YA insta-love route.
I am a huge fan of Marie Antoinette and Versailles and its history, so this was right up my alley. I was very excited to see how the author brought this time period to life, but in the future. This was very well done and the reader gets some historical information as well about what life was like at the palace during that time. This idea is wholly unique and I enjoyed this book very much. I am looking forward to the second installment and hope that it continues in the same vein as this book did!