Geekerella | Ashley Poston
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Quirk Books
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
“Anything can happen once upon a con…
When geek girl Elle Wittimer sees a cosplay contest sponsored by the producers of Starfield, she has to enter. First prize is an invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. Elle’s been scraping together tips from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck behind her stepmother’s back, and winning this contest could be her ticket out once and for all—not to mention a fangirl’s dream come true…more“
I loved this book! While there is a great amount of originality found in the author’s fandom storyline and her addition of ethnically and sexually diverse characters, the tale falls back on Disney-like tropes and clichés that are sweet and perfectly fitting for this Cinderella retelling.
The characters are well developed and easy to care for. Both Darien and Elle share a deep fascination for Starfield and their mutual love for the show eventually leads them to form an unexpected yet adorable bond. Elle’s home life is maddening, as expected, and Darien’s life of fame also proves to be a suffocating experience. But they both find an escape in a fantasy world filled with stars and adventure. I enjoyed reading both their perspectives and it was easy to form a genuine attachment to both characters as a result.
The ExcelsiCon Cosplay competition was, hands down, the highlight of the story. It was written beautifully and Elle’s transformation stirred up the most emotion from me. Elle’s love for her deceased parents was possibly the most heartwarming and saddening aspect of the book, and her tribute to them was a memorable one.
This was an undeniably fun and quirky read with tons of geeky references that I couldn’t help but appreciate. I’d recommend this book to anyone with geekish tendencies and a love for fairytales.
Glitter | Aprilynn Pike
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 25, 2016
“A royal murder. The promise of a throne she never wanted. And a glittering drug that is her only way out.
Outside the Palace of Versailles, it’s modern day. Inside, the people dress, eat, and act like it’s the eighteenth century. 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…more”
Glitter is an inventive, genre-bending tale that joins the past with the future. The author skillfully incorporates the culture and traditions of French court during the reign of King Louis XIV, and combines that historic world with modern business operations and futuristic technology to form a tale that is original and glamorous.
The tagline to this story was “Breaking Bad meets Marie Antoinette,” and to some extent, the book lives up to this description. Danica Grayson attempts to escape marriage to a murderous and sadistic young king. Her failed attempt leads her down a darker path in illegal drug trade and production as a means to gather money to buy her way out. Unfortunately, this practice puts most, if not all members of the court, including her own friends and family, at risk of addiction, death, and criminality. Her ingenious way to sell Glitter becomes the most exciting part of the story, but the excitement doesn’t stay for too long.
The intensity of the first half doesn’t hold up in the second half as the pacing slows, there is little to no character growth, and Danica’s love affair is not entirely believable though it has potential. At first, it was easy to root for Danica, but as the story goes on, it’s hard to find excuses for her lack of sympathy and blind determination to be free. But then again, that might be the author’s intention.
Glitter is an engrossing read with richly detailed backdrops, gray characters, and truly vicious antagonists. The first half of the book is suspenseful and thrilling, though the second part could have been a bit more profound and tragic.