The Glittering Court
1 of 3
young adult, romance, historical
For a select group of girls, the Glittering Court offers a shot at a life they’ve only ever dreamed of, one of luxury, glamour, and leisure. To high-born Adelaide, whose wealthy family is forcing her into a loveless marriage, the Glittering Court represents something else: the chance to chart her own destiny, and adventure in an unspoiled, prosperous new land across the sea.
After a chance meeting with the dazzling Cedric Thorn, Adelaide poses as a servant to join the crop of impoverished girls he promises to transform into proper ladies. But her familiarity with upper class life comes with a price: she must hide her identity from her new friends, mysterious refugee Mira and fiery former laundress Tamsin, and most importantly, from Cedric himself—even though she’s falling in love with him.
Everything begins to crumble when Cedric discovers Adelaide’s ruse, and she catches the eye of a powerful young governor, who wants her for a wife. She didn’t leave the gilded cage of her old life behind just to become someone else's property. But nothing is as daunting—or as wonderful—as the potent, forbidden attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. One that, if acted on, would make them both outcasts in a wild, dangerous, uncharted world, and possibly lead them to their deaths.
Oh, where to begin with this story.
Firstly, I love everything Richelle Mead has written. Her creative ability to write a series set in such magical, seemingly real, places is amazing. I fall in love with her characters every time. So going into The Glittering Court, I was both awed and a little disappointed.
First with the good:
Our main character, "Adelaide" is truly amazing. Mead has a way with creating brave, smart, and beautiful main woman characters. This one was no less as amazing compared to the others she's written about. Adelaide, or Countess of Rothford, is amazing. With a marriage to someone she doesn't want, she runs away to a world that's full of mystery. She has no idea what's going to happen, but with The Glittering Court ready to turn her into a skilled woman-which she already assails at-she knows she'll be able to marry someone better.
Taking her housemaids identity, she signs a contract and heads to Blue Spring Manner, where she'll spend a year learning etiquette. After that year, they'll be showed off and married to the man who can pay for them. So almost like mail order brides.
Adelaide meets Tamsin, a fiery woman who knows what she wants, and Mira, the Sirmincan refugee who is secretive and is weary of this whole ordeal. I wasn't too sure what to think of these two characters, but they turned out to be great ally's to Adelaide in the end, which is great because she really needed them. They're interesting characters, and I can't wait to read more about them in their own stories.
The romance between Adelaide and Cedric was surprising. The one thing I don't fully enjoy about Mead's books is that it takes forever for the main characters to get together. If not near the end, it's after a few books in, and yet, I'm always happy with it. The waiting makes the moment everything clicks together better. Magical. There is so much light tension and banter between them. This whole time you silently (or loudly, I don't judge) scream for Adelaide to choose Cedric instead of some lawyer or something.
"As soon as I brushed his lips with my fingertips I felt my pulse quicken and a flush of heat sweep over me. Unable to resist, I traced the edges of his lips, suddenly wondering if they would taste just as sweet as the honey."
"But this is a serious improvement. It's like a dream. Not so much that other outfit."
"Well," He looked me over in a way that made my blush deepen. "I guess it depends on the type of dream."
Won't lie, I was a tad worried, but everything works out in the end.
Religion plays a part in this story, and in an interesting way. It seems to stem from Paganism. They believe in 6 angels and 6 demons. They like to praise and do rituals. I would have liked a better understanding of their world, as I only know the basics of it and that it's illegal and those people can be hung for doing it. Kind of like witchcraft in Salem. Others believe in Uros, a single God.
A quote I enjoyed about the religion. This is from Mira: "You can't fight evil with meditation."
Now, unfortunately, the down:
Going into this, I thought it was fantasy, like the rest of her works so far. And it even says fantasy on the back cover, but I guess I was wrong. There are minimal fantasy aspects. The only part I can finds is that the world is different. Like Osfro seems to be Paris? And Adoria is like a new world (America?). That's the only aspect of fantasy I can find. So if you're jumping to read this for its fantasy, you won't get that here. It's more of a historical story than anything else.
This story reminded me a bit of the Selection series. Girls are chosen and taught how to be "well-mannered and dignified ladies." They're taught how to decorate and dance, etc. It seemed similar in that aspect, but toward the middle, when the venue changes, it drastically changes from that similar view.
Those were the only two things I had about this book, otherwise, it's pretty interesting and different from what Mead has done before. This is a series, each one is told from a different girl's POV (Tamsin, Mira).
It ends nicely, it doesn't give a cliffhanger feel, which I loved.