Big and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.
Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.
When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.
But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands…
Description taken from Goodreads.
To tell the truth, I never really considered Richelle Mead’s books to be my kind of books. I don’t know, I saw Vampire Academy and Bloodlines and I was like
I AM SO GLAD THAT I TRIED THE GLITTERING COURT.
There were many aspects of this story that completely astonished me. I had no idea that this story came from Richelle and was pleasantly surprised when I found out.
The Glittering Court doesn’t have the most original idea. It’s like… The Selection meets The Winner’s Curse. There are elements of lots of different books in here, and not all of them are pretty.
In short, the blurb is that a pretty, privileged, determined girl poses as her servant in order to go to the glittering court, where girls will be trained to be fitting wives for overnight millionaires in the unexplored world.
The writing in the beginning of the book is thick. I ended up skimming whole sections of this story, because the reality is that I really didn’t care about most of what our MC was rambling about. If/when you get past that, the story is quite enjoyable.
I was surprised by how much I came to love Adelaide and her friends, and my only regret was that I didn’t get to see more of the friends. This is very much the Adelaide show, not that I was particularly bothered by that. While I was a little skeptical of her at first, Adelaide did have her flaws and her weaknesses. She knew herself, and she knew her goals, and she wasn’t showy about them.
Richelle does a fantastic job of showing Adelaide’s self-conflict as she enters a world which is both familiar and new to her. She has to ask herself hard questions about loyalty, personal happiness, and sacrifice, and those weren’t overplayed or underdone.
In addition, Adelaide completely stands her ground for her opinion without being a brat. She knows who she is, she thinks through her decisions, and she admits to her mistakes.
Actually, what impressed me the most about The Glittering Court was the plot. The writing was thick, yes, but it also kept on chugging along. Even the slowest moving of trains will still keep chugging along, and The Glittering Court did a great job of keeping me occupied. I never once wanted to DNF the book, and I kept on going to see where things would lead. It’s a pretty character-fueled plot, and I loved seeing how the decisions made affected everything that happened after.
The supporting characters were good. I hope to see more of them in the books after the first. Mira, a refugee, and Tamsin, a girl with enormous drive to succeed, both stole little pieces of my heart. Mira is, for the most part, quiet and sticks to herself. She was the character I was disappointed by only because I felt like she had great potential and fell through.
Tamsin surprised me as well, because normally, I don’t like characters like her. She’s very driven and makes a huge fuss about being the best. When she got into an argument with Adelaide, she was completely unreasonable. However, I did understand her and admittedly, I identified with her.
Now, evidently, I have been thrown a bunch of curveballs with this book, but the most unexpected one was the religious element. I completely didn’t expect to find religion in one of these novels, and I have to say it was handled rather well.
This is the first time I’ve read a book with non-witches that handled the topic of heretics and the established church. I won’t say who, but someone in this book is a “heretic”. Religious freedom is actually a huge topic throughout this novel, and it was interesting to see that. Personally, I thought it was done well.
Toward the end of the story, everything started to lag. I skimmed increasingly more, and I grew bored with the plot. I didn’t get as many reveals as I hoped to, and I was left not knowing how to feel about the second book. I’ll probably pick it up because there were so many aspects of this one that I liked, but it was a pretty anticlimactic (almost to the point of a HEA) ending for me. 3 stars.
Series: The Glittering Court #1