Genre: YA Fantasy
Pub. Date: April 5, 2016
Other Books By Author: Bloodlines,
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "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 Countess of Rothford appears to have it all....money, power, prestige, beauty, but due to her dismal finances, her grandmother has arranged her marriage to a boring nobleman. The last thing she wants is another way for her grandmother to control her life. So, she comes up with a brilliant plan to escape to the New World. Her maid, Ada, has been selected to be a part of the Glittering Court, which is, essentially, a sort of school that transforms lower-class women into women that appear to be of finer breeding. The court also finds matches for the women in the New World. Ada doesn't want to go, so the Countess has figured out a way to go in her place and escape the clutches of her grandmother and her future betrothed. She presumes to be Ada, or Adelaide, instead and is whisked away to the finishing school in which she must pretend to not excel too much, even though we all know the curriculum is too easy for her. While there, she makes many new friends from various different backgrounds and catches the eye of the Glittering Court owner's son, Cedric. He finds out Adelaide's secret regarding who she truly is and to top it off, these two have feelings for one another. Plus, Adelaide finds out some of Cedric's dangerous secrets as well. Richelle Mead's The Glittering Court is an entertaining guilty pleasure, but there were aspects of this novel that just didn't work for me.
When I think of Richelle Mead, I think of Rose from The Vampire Academy series. She is everything I like when it comes to a heroine, so I was hoping Adelaide would be the same way; however, that wasn't the case. Adelaide was hard to sympathize with. She wanted to escape her arraigned marriage, but had no problem being sent to the New World to, once again, end up in a possible arranged marriage. Even if she had a say as to who she married, she is sort of being "sold off" and I wasn't really sure why she would be comfortable with that. The feminist in me was sort of irritated by this aspect of the novel.
The time period of The Glittering Court reminded me of Regency England, but the fantasy world was a bit lacking. I needed more world-building and an explanation from Mead, because at times it was a bit confusing. It also was a mish-mash of settings, especially when it changed to a frontier story. So, needless to say, the various settings took me by surprise and were hard to get acclimated to.
What I liked about The Glittering Court was the fact that it reminded me of Cass's The Selection series. It is such a fun series...perfect for a day at the pool and in the same regards so is this novel as long as you can get past a few bumps in the road.
Although this wasn't my favorite book of the year and I expected so much more from Mead, I still was entertained. I can't say I am going to continue with the series, but if you are looking for a Selection-type of novel that has a variety of settings, give The Glittering Court a try. But if you are new to Mead, I urge you to read The Vampire Academy instead.