By: Richelle Mead
Published Year: 2016
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Summary (Provided by Goodreads): 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…
How gorgeous is this cover?? Added to the fact that I enjoyed Richelle Mead’s previous two series (The Vampire Academy and Bloodline) this book became an immediate addition to my TBR. I didn’t even read the summary. In fact, ebook version went on sale for $1.99 and I bought it, still without reading the summary.
What I thought
The biggest feeling that I’m left with is that I would’ve enjoyed this book more if I had read it 2-3 years ago. I’ll elaborate why I feel that way throughout the review.
The Glittering Court is about a society that seems very much like it’s set in the 1800s. There is a main country where Lady Elizabeth is a Countess and then there are other states/towns/countries that are being developed and seem much like the Wild West. Jasper Thorn has created a business with his brother where they find women of no means and train them for a year to become noble women. Once their training is completed, the women are shipped to the New World where they are put on show to up and coming men. Lady Elizabeth’s family has been struggling with money, so her grandmother arranges a marriage with a suitor. Elizabeth doesn’t like the suitor at all, so as a result she decides she’s going to trade places with her Lady’s Maid and run off to the Glittering Court and marry someone new in the New World.
While that is the general summary, there is a lot more that happens that I don’t want to describe as it would give things away. This is the first book of a series, but it’s not a part 1, part 2, part 3 series. The first book is told from Lady Elizabeth/Adelaide’s perspective while the second book will follow the same timeline but be told from Mira’s (another Glittering Court character) perspective. I believe the third book will then be told, again, along the same timeline, but from Tamlin’s perspective. I have a bit of a love/hate with this format. I think it’s great that if I wanted to, I could stop reading the series now and now feel like I was missing out/not getting an ending. I also think it leads to less chance of a letdown with book 3 of a trilogy. The issue that I have with this format is that there are glaring chunks of information left out for the benefit of being told in future stories.
This book is a bit reminiscent of The Selection in some aspects, but it doesn’t have the dystopian society aspect. The issues that this society are dealing with are very much just because they are starting their societies. A few years ago I was very into dystopian/society building novels and as of late, I haven’t been as into them. I think that part of that played into my apathy towards this story. it seemed like I was reading while thinking “yeah, yeah, I know that is going to happen because that’s how these types of stories. When is ____ going to happen?” and so forth. Whereas when I was at the pique of my interest with these types of novels I think I would’ve just been engrossed and not thinking about that. There was also a love interest that I enjoyed, but never felt the chemistry jumping off the page. In fact, I almost wrote this review without even mentioning the love story because it just didn’t stick with me! (Not on purpose, I just didn’t think about it in terms of the important things you would need to know before reading this book)
Another issue that I have with this story is that it seems like three completely different plots. Plot 1 is the Glittering Court training, which in my opinion was way too quick. They were supposedly trained for a year but this was barely a part of the book. I would’ve enjoyed more time spent on this part of the story, not only because I think it’s interesting, but because I think it would’ve allowed for more development of the relationships between characters. Adelaide calls Tamlin and Mira her best friends and I kind of stopped and thought “wait, she just met them?” but in actuality it had been 8 months! Plot 2 is the process of picking the husbands in the New World, and then Plot 3 is very Wild West centered.
In summary, I have some mixed up feelings about this book. While it wasn’t a book I felt like I couldn’t put down (in fact I did put it down for a day or 2 without picking it up), I enjoyed the overall story. I neither loved or hated this book and I think that leaves me a bit confused.
By: Richelle Mead