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.
– from goodreads (shortened)
This book’s been on my radar for a while, because I’ve read almost all of Richelle Mead’s books, but I only now got around to reading it. I was a little put off at first, because something about the writing style seemed fairly different to other Richelle Mead books (more… simplistic maybe?), but part of it may have been that I’m more used to third person than first. I gave it a chance though, and I ended up really enjoying the book!
There were some parts of the story that made me question where everything was going, and it tended to move pretty slowly, but I enjoyed the world enough not to mind. The setting is less elaborate than in some of Richelle’s other books, and the religious themes feel a little too similar to what she’s done before (and done better), but it didn’t take away too much from my enjoyment of the story. Honestly, I think part of why I liked the world is founded in my post-Hamilton interest in the founding of the United States (the book isn’t actually set in the historical US, but Adorians are clearly a lazy version of early settlers).
I do appreciate that Richelle’s books have such strong themes of female friendship and agency and she didn’t disappoint with this one. The female protagonists were really badass, and they became good friends even though they were put in a situation that could have very easily turned them against each other. I didn’t particularly mind that we didn’t get to see Tamsin and Mira’s stories, as I know they will be explored in the two sequels coming up (I’m especially interested in Mira’s story!), but at some points in the book it felt unnatural that the girls were withholding so much from each other, and it was very clear that it was done in order to not give away too much for the next book, which was a little frustrating.
As to the romance, I have to say I quite liked it. Adelaide and Cedric actually got to know each other fairly well before they fell in love (though there was definitely some attraction from the start). It did get a bit sappy and boring once they actually got together though.
Overall, this was a fun read! Four out of five cupcakes. :)