The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

When a pretty cover is hiding a meh story…

Themes: YA fantasy, romance

The synopsis

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.

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 then 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…

The review

I thought I had found a new The Selection book but I could not have been more wrong… There was an issue between me and this book from the first chapters which presented the concept of the Glittering Court: young women that are signing a contract to be educated and become ladies of the high society before being married off (otherwise they have to reimburse this education by going into a workhouse). Is it just me or is it strangely similar to a kind of human trafficking?! It could have been saved by the denunciation of the lack of respect and consideration women endure in this ‘fantasy’ world (which still strongly reminded me of the one we are living in) but none of these girls is criticising this behaviour or their situation apart from Mira!

Apart from that, the entire book remains horrifyingly simple be it in the plot or characters. Adelaïde is not a very compelling heroine and her adaptation to the different situations she ends up in is not really credible. I cannot remember any of the characters except Mira who was less dumb than the others and this book just left me with the feeling of a plot which does not know where it is going… To be honest, I stoped reading it for a time and really was not motivated to pick it up back.

In brief: It delivers everything the premises promised with a fantasy romance taking place in a new world the characters discover during their journey. However, it really remains for a younger audience even though I would not recommend this book given its questionable argument. Fortunately, it is a series in fact made of standalones so I do not have to ask myself if I want to continue it to know the ending.

My rating: 2,5/5

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