The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
Book One of The Glittering Court series
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Copy provided by First to Read
Summary (from Goodreads):
A dazzling new fantasy series set in a mix of Elizabethan and frontier worlds that’s dripping with romance from Richelle Mead, #1 internationally bestselling author of Vampire Academy.
Big and sweeping, spanning 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 capable of arranging 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 later, 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. . . .
What I Liked:
This book was different! I don't think I've read anything quite like it before. We have a mixture of Elizabethan London (though the setting is a fantasy made-up one) and the American Frontier (1800s, gold panning, the New World, Manifest Destiny, etc.). Everything is purely fantasy, but totally based on these two types of settings, mixed into one. How cool! I really enjoyed the book. This is only my second Mead book (and I wasn't a fan of Soundless), and I'm happy to say that I actually enjoyed this one a lot!
Lady Whitmore, a countess, is about to enter an arranged marriage... with her cousin. Her family has no money, but she has a title, and so the match is a balanced one. But Adelaide sets the chance to escape by pretending to be her servant, when her servant is invited to join the Glittering Court (the servant doesn't want to go, but Adelaide does). There, Adelaide is taught how to be nobility (which she obviously excels at), and all the girls are to attract a husband and marry well. She makes friends, including her two roommates, and Cedric Thorn, son of Jasper Thorn, who runs the Glittering Court. Cedric finds out her secret... and she finds out some of his. Together, they begin to figure out how to help Cedric with his secret - but it could mean giving up hers.
There are so many parts to this book! I definitely cannot say that this book was boring. The book starts with Adelaide meeting her future husband, and then she hears about the Glittering Court and runs away. Then a lot of time is spent at the Glittering Court. And the girls are taken to the New World to find husbands (that's the whole point of the Glittering Court - to find rich husbands overseas, in the New World). There, everything gets hairy.
I like Adelaide! She's tough and bold and has guys. To leave a privileged life of class and riches and entitlement? It seemed like an easy choice given the circumstances, but the learning curve was steep. Nevertheless, Adelaide learns a lot, in terms of how to be a working woman, less than a noblewoman. Which is funny, because the Glittering Court is all about turning working women into noblewomen.
I also adore Adelaide's roommates, Tamsin and Mira! Tamsin is determined to be the #1 girl at the Glittering Court (aptly called the diamond). She is trying to do the best because she can't go back to her former life (we don't know her backstory, but it's coming in future books). She is doing everything she can to turn up the charm and secure a man. And whatever her reasons are, we can't blame her! Tamsin knows what's best for her. As ambitious as she is, she's also a good friend. She and Adelaide do not have the easiest friendship at first, but Tamsin redeems herself.
I like Mira more than I liked Tamsin, though I liked Tamsin and am really curious about her backstory. I'm really curious about Mira's too though. The way Mead writes this book, we don't know everything about Tamsin and Mira. They'll be the protagonists of each of the next books, so we'll find out things as the series goes on. Mira is of a different ethnic group, and men don't want to marry her or take her seriously. But Mira is so sweet and such a survivor. I like her a lot!
Oh Cedric. We meet him fairly quickly, when he comes to Adelaide's house to inform her servant that she has been accepted into the Glittering Court (and that is when Adelaide devises her plan to escape). Cedric is so sweet and protective, and keeps Adelaide's secrets without even knowing her. I love how devoted he becomes to her, and how far he'd go for her. I also really like that he is true to himself and does not fall to peer pressure (you'll have to see what I mean by that).
The romance is so slow-burn and wonderful! This book is long, and the author takes her time in crafting the relationship. Adelaide is at the Glittering Court's manor of nearly a year, and then in the New World for about a year too (or thereabout). So basically, she and Cedric get to know each other really well, during the time. During the first year, they're friends, but you can tell that she is attracted to him. But more importantly, she risks a lot to help him, and makes some tough choices, for him. What I will say - no one has to become a martyr for anyone. Cedric does not sacrifice himself for her, and vice versa, at any permanent point in the story (again, you'll have to read the book to see what I mean - and I promise this isn't a spoiler). I really enjoyed the last third of the book, especially in terms of the romance. Things got pretty heated! Also, no love triangle.
Did I already mention how much I like the setting? A mixture of an Elizabethan setting, and the Frontier. The gold mining and panning took me by surprise, in the second half of the book! It felt like the Wild West or something. I like this though, the blend of two very different times/worlds/settings! The author did a really good job with crafting the world.
Overall, I'm quite pleased with this book. The strong female relationships, the lovely slow-burn romance, the interesting plot, fascinating setting... and the best part? (Or one of them.) This book reads like a standalone. Literally the entire story is told in this book, so you can read this book and stop there! Adelaide and Cedric's story is done, at the end. I mean, they may make cameos in the two companion novels, but their story is pretty final. And I LOVE the ending!
What I Did Not Like:
This is more of a warning than a dislike -- not everything will make 100% sense. And that is because the sequels will make those things clearer - that's what I'm gathering. Book two and book three are in Tamsin and Mira's POV (though which character is getting which book, I do not know).
Would I Recommend It:
I liked this book a lot! It's completely historical-esque, but in a fantasy setting (because everything is made up), but there is no paranormal aspect to the book (yay). I like the steamy romance a lot (and no love triangle, woohoo), and the story in general was really cool. Plus, you can read it as a standalone! That's a major win right there.
4 stars. While I am very content with what I read here, I will definitely be looking forward to read Tamsin's story, and Mira's story! Usually I'm kind of wary of companion sequels in YA, but I love how Mead has the series set up. Cedric and Adelaide's ending was perfect!
Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!
Yay! Now, I know I'll pick this one up, Alyssa!! It sounds like she did a good job with the setting especially. And you know how excited I get when you mention a slow burn romance.ReplyDelete
Lovely review, Alyssa!
YES! I meant to message you before writing my review (however, I need to hibernate until after 4 PM on Friday!). This one was better than I expected!Delete
Thank you, Nick! <3
Great review, Alyssa! I have this and Soundless on my TBR, but I have been putting off reading soundless because of the majority of the meh reviews.ReplyDelete
I am loving the new trend of using historical-ish settings in books! We need more of those!
I personally recommending skipping Soundless and going straight to this one! It was so great. =)Delete
I already plan to get this book and your review assures me that it will be a really good read.ReplyDelete
I hope you love it! <3Delete
Good to know that you like this. I have Soundless,and I need to read it before it expires.ReplyDelete
Oooo! That's a good idea, Lekeisha. Hopefully you like it more than I did. ;DDelete
Thanks for the warning that not everything will make sense. I'm glad you liked this one. It looks fantastic and now I'm even more excited to read this one!!! :)ReplyDelete
I hope you love it, Erin!Delete
I'm so excited!! The characters, the romance and the setting all sound perfect :DReplyDelete
I hope you enjoy it, Eileen! =)Delete
I've had my eye on this one too! I hope it's amazing!!ReplyDelete
Here's my WoW!
I hope so too!Delete
To be honest I haven't read a Richelle Mead book yet, this one sounds very much like something I would like though. I may just have to take a peek at it. I also really like the fact that the other books are going to be in different POV's, it will make for a very interesting series. Thanks for the review :)ReplyDelete
I hadn't read one up until a few months ago! I really liked this one. And isn't that an intriguing aspect of the series? I like it!Delete
Thank you, Andrea. :D
Awesome review Alyssa! I haven't read Richelle Mead books yet, but I do have her Vampire Academy series on my Kindle but I have not read it yet. But now after reading your review for this book I am really want and I am very intrigued as well too read her books soonish. Especially The Glittering Court book. Thank you for the great post my friend.ReplyDelete
Whichever you read, I hope you enjoy, Katiria! You're welcome. =)Delete
Oh I loved this book! I was so happy to see you enjoyed it too! I loved the idea of mixing two worlds/times to make this one it was so different but also semi familiar. And all the characters were fun to read and the burn between them....yep! I can't wait to see which girls perspective is next.ReplyDelete
Glad you did too! Whichever girl it is, it'll be a wonderful story (hopefully). :DDelete
Aw, yay :D I'm so so happy that you liked this book so much Alyssa. <3 I'm now more curious about it, lol. It do look so pretty :) And you do make it sound pretty much amazing. Sigh. Thank you for sharing sweet girl. <3 YAY for good romance :D That's the best, hih.ReplyDelete
It was lovely, inside and out! And the romance was SO good, easily the best part of the book. Gah!Delete
Well, I love her VA series, but I haven't read Soundless yet. I'm looking forward to reading this one. As you know, I love fantasy and the world building on this one sounds amazing. Can't wait to read it :)ReplyDelete
I think you would love this one, Liza! I have to binge-read her VA books someday. SOMEDAY! ^_^Delete
OOh nice! I actually find myself hesitant with this one because there's no paranormal, no fantasy elements (other than a made up world/society), and no magic. But since it's Mead I am willing to give book 1 a go! Glad to hear it reads like a standalone with spinoffs coming told in different character povs! Can't wait to read it! Very nice review!ReplyDelete
Nope, no magic or anything. I suppose it's very different from what she usually writes (but I've only read this one and Soundless). I think a fan of Mead would enjoy this one, so I think you'll like it, Jessica! I'll look out for your opinion in the future. =)Delete
Thank you very much!
I just got the audiobook last week and I was super worried cause I love Mead but HATED Soundless. So happy this seems to be much better than SOundless!ReplyDelete
I hope you enjoy this one! Soundless was a mess, right? ;DDelete
I just finished reading this book and really liked it. It's not as amazing as some of Richelle Mead's other novels (Succubus Blues and Age of X are by far my favorites), but a good quick read. I get the feeling people either love it or hate it, though. I was reading reviews on GoodReads and saw some people claiming it was racist and had a boring romance.ReplyDelete
I'm glad you liked it! And huh, that is so strange. Racist? Weird. o_o I could maybe understand the boring romance part, but not the racism. *sigh* People these days...Delete