Monday, April 4, 2016

The Glittering Court By Richelle Mead

The Glittering Court
by Richelle Mead
Read: March 22 - 30, 2016
Published: April 5, 2016 by Razorbill
Source: Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks

Series: The Glittering Court #1
Category: YA, Alternate-Historical-Mashup

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.

Lady Elizabeth Witmore is a Countess with a great heritage and no fortune. The only way to fix this problem is with an advantageous marriage. But on the eve of her wedding to a less than ideal prospect, Elizabeth makes a split second decision to assume the identity of her maid Adelaide and enter the Glittering Court. Turning low class girls into fashionable ladies, The Glittering Court is part finishing school and part mail-order-bride agency for the wealthy in the New World.

The Glittering Court takes place in an alternate world that looks a lot like ours. Although the book is being called "fantasy romance," I think it's more accurate to think of it as a historical mashup. The story starts in Osfrid, aka 'London' and moves across the sea to Adoria or 'The New World/America.' From secret identities to art forgeries to pirates to mail order brides, this book has a lot of different elements in it, including many themes we often associate with American history: characters seeking religious freedom, gold rushes and land disputes with native populations. 

I thought it was exciting that I never knew where the story was going next, and I enjoyed discovering a new land with Adelaide. However, those elements also had the potential to make the book feel a little directionally and elementally scattered at times. I'm also not sure I ever fully grasped the religious aspect of this world, though it does play a big part in Adelaide and Cedric's narrative. 

From the beginning I liked Elizabeth/Adelaide. She makes a very quick decision to change her life, and though it seems quite sudden, I love the way she commits to it immediately. Despite coming from privilege and having an advantage in many ways, Adelaide is not afraid to get her hands dirty and put in the work needed to keep moving forward, even when it brings her far out of her comfort zone. I loved seeing Adelaide's world expand around her. Part of that was through new experiences and travel, but I also enjoyed seeing how her new friendships with Mira and Tamsin, and  her relationship with Cedric changed her.  

Cedric is the first person Adelaide meets from the Glittering Court. In fact, she meets him when she is still Lady Elizabeth, so he knows who she is right from the beginning.  I like that their was no deception between them concerning her identity. It gives them an immediate connection point, as the shared secret of her identity leads to other shared secrets and experiences that leads to stronger feelings between them. Cedric and Adelaide spend lot of time together in this story, and I enjoyed watching their banter and seeing the tension between them turn into more over the course of the book. The idea of Cedric being Adelaide's agent in finding her a husband definitely icked me out at times, but there is never any contest for either of their affections. 

The Glittering Court is the first of a companion series and this installment and Adelaide's story wraps itself up nicely. I'm excited that each book is going to have a new narrator, and I'm eager about the other two girls' stories to come. A lot of things were teased about them that we don't get answers for yet. I'm dying to find out their secrets and catch up with them again, but also get glimpses of Adelaide's life in the future. 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Low. Companion series. This installment wraps up well


  1. This is another book I don't think I would have considered picking up Lauren if it hadn't been your review, although its not normally the sort of read I would go for, I really like the sound of Adelaide's character and the growth that she goes through. Wonderful review Lauren!

  2. I have seen such mixed reviews about this one but I know I'll read it because I do love Richelle Mead! I'm glad you ended up liking it so much, I usually do like the books that you do. And the fact that it's a companion series is really appealing to me, more series should do this! ~Pam

  3. Mead is a really fantastic plotter, and was even with VA, so I'm glad to see that this proves to be unpredictable and exciting. I wasn't planning on reading it but perhaps I will throw it onto my TBR and see how the series progresses. I'm glad there isn't a love triangle since Mead writes them a little too well but this world seems fantastic and I'm definitely curious to learn more about it. Gorgeous review, Lauren--I can't wait to see what you make of the rest of this series!

  4. Gorgeous review Lauren :) I'm so glad you liked this book. It do sound pretty interesting. But it also seems a bit boring, lol, so I don't know if I would like it :p But I am so curious. Sigh. One day, maybe :) You do make it seem pretty awesome. <3 I'm glad you liked the characters. They seem pretty sweet :) Thank you for sharing your lovely thoughts about this one sweet girl. <3


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