Title: The Glittering Court
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: The Glittering Court #1
Genre: Teen Fiction
Rating: 4/5 stars
The Overview: 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.
Richelle Mead has been one of my top authors for several years now, and I’m pretty sure I’ve read all of the 25+ books she has on the market to date. Most people know her for her YA “Vampire Academy” series, which is ironically my least favorite of her works even though I still enjoyed it (until it hit book #4, then it was pure magic). No, I very much prefer her urban fantasy “Georgia Kincaid” series or even “Bloodlines” – a spinoff to the “Vampire Academy.” Specific series aside, I can claim with confidence that Richelle Mead has never let me down, her books always ranging from “really good” to “omg, this is one of the best things I’ve ever read in my entire life.”
“The Glittering Court” (so far, at least) drifts closer to the “really good” category.
It’s much different than anything she’s done to date, but still had excellent, well-developed characters, great pacing, and an entertaining storyline. The basic premise involves an establishment that teaches eager young women to become proper noblewoman for the purpose of being sold as brides newly settled land across the sea. The main character, a young countess of a failing household, sees the Glittering Court as an opportunity to escape the obligations that bound her life and start anew. And then the fun begins!
The whole book was a delightful read, especially the portions that took place in the Glittering Court, which reminded me fondly of “The Selection” series by Kiera Cass – one of my all-time favorites. The remaining portion had a very alternate-history feel that seemed almost interchangeable with England’s colonization of “The New World.” It’s rustic frontier atmosphere was a stark contrast to the earlier glitz and glam. Oddly enough, all of these elements worked really well together and I liked the wide variety it had to offer.
Overall, it was highly entertaining from start to finish. I’m not sure I’m totally excited about where the story is headed next (The Glittering Court itself being my favorite element from this book), but I trust Richelle Mead enough to be confident that it’s going to be fabulous, whatever direction it takes. Mead has this brilliant way of building incredible momentum throughout her series, escalating everything to a point where you’re simply breathless, exhausted, and elated by the end. I can’t wait to see if she does the same with “The Glittering Court” series.
Other books you might like: