The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
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…
The Glittering Court is the first in a series (currently the only one released) of interconnected standalones stories. You can find The Glittering Court on Goodreads here
Now, I have to be honest and say that by time I had read to the end of The Glittering Court, my review wasn’t too high. I gave it three stars. I usually wouldn’t take the time to write about a 3 star book, there are other books to talk about that I have rated higher BUT The Glittering Court has stuck in my brain. There have been a few times since I initially read The Glittering Court that something from the story has popped into my brain and I have thought to myself ‘I really liked that’. It’s not often this happens and, to be honest, there are only a handful of books where it does. And it is for that reason alone that I decided to talk about this book.
In saying that, there are a lot of things to love about The Glittering Court, and those things are the parts of a story that I look for and which add to my decision on what rating to give a book. Firstly, I really enjoyed having Adelaide as the story’s leading lady. The Glittering Court is about her adventure and I really enjoyed the journey of self discovery she went on throughout. I also adored the secondary characters; they really helped to make Adelaide stand out and, in their own ways, added a wider perspective to what was going on and allowing the reader to see the story in different ways. What did annoy me, however, was the frequent ‘here’s something mysterious about that secondary character’s character’ which would be promptly followed by a ‘but lets not pry’. While Adelaide was building solid friendships with two other women specifically, the amount of times there was a ‘lets not pry’ really made the friendships, in the end, quite superficial. It wasn’t until I was looking more into the series that I realised the forthcoming books would be about those women, set at the same time, but telling their stories. That was why there was so much that was not covered in The Glittering Court.
I can’t really name why I didn’t love The Glittering Court. While a lot happened, I also felt like it dragged. A number of characters popped in and out and I had forgotten who was who and what they were doing. The story also covers a lot of ground, literally, with the story being based in five different places and geeze, that was a lot.
But, I loved the world and the time where The Glittering Court was set. I loved imaging the locations, the dresses and the classes. I loved that Adelaide had a certain strength and determination. I love that she took risks to get what she wanted.