Monday, May 2, 2016

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

Summary on Goodreads:
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…
This is kind of one of those books where you love it while you’re reading it, but the more you think about it after you finish, the more you notice it’s problems. Don’t get me wrong: I loved this book. It was a fun, action-packed historical fiction novel with fantastic characters. I read it quickly. I absolutely adored the main character. The concept is just so good. However, there’s a few things that bothered me.
First, why is it marketed as fantasy? There are no fantasy elements. And it’s so clearly (at least loosely) based off of England colonizing America. I love this time period. I find the journey, the ideals, the freedoms, and the adventures of this time to be fascinating. But, why the strange names? I get that fantasy novels don’t have to have magic or dragons in them, but when they don’t, I want a reason for why they are fantasy.
This book had a lot going for it. It talked about the journey over sea to the new world. It talked about gentrifying the colonies. It talked about people moving westward (to new colonies). It talked about religious freedoms. There was a lot noted about the differences in the upper class of high society in one country versus the upper class of high society in the new world. And there was a lot said about the differences between the upper class and the lower class. This book dealt with racism, sexism, prejudice, and elitism.
And with all these important topics, the story still had a lot of the romantic “fluff” I have come to love from series like The Selection by Keira Cass. It definitely had a very “The Selection” type feel. AKA: there were a lot of balls, fancy dresses, and competing for husbands. I loved the balance of the fluff with the serious stuff. And I loved all the many aspects to the plot. So much happens.
I loved the main character. She was brave, intelligent, witty, and strong. I love that she knew she was ignorant in a lot of things, but was willing to learn. She learned from her mistakes. She learned from her past prejudices. In the beginning, she is so opinionated about certain things. She’s kind of racist and prejudiced. She learns about other cultures and religions as the book goes on, and becomes a better person the more she is away from the life she used to have.
She became such a wonderful main character by the end. I enjoyed the romance. Mead knows how to write forbidden love rather well. I wish I got a few more steamy scenes than I did, but really, this was excellent. I also loved the side characters. They weren’t quite as developed as I wanted because I know they will each have their own book later in the series. I know I will want to read their books too. I seriously cannot wait to see things from Mira’s eyes.
There was a moment involving an assault that kind of bothered me. It didn’t feel necessary for the story, and it really felt out of place and wrong with the overall “fluffy-ness” of the rest of the book. I mean this is the kind of story where characters continue to get out of impossible situations, hope runs high, and the good guys tend to always win. I was really taken aback by this one scene, and even stopped reading the book for a little while after it.
All in all, I did really enjoy reading this. I loved the story, the concept, the romance, and the characters. I’m not sure why it wasn’t called historical fiction. The time period was one of my favorites. There was an assault scene in it that I really wish wasn’t there. It did read quickly and I had a lot of fun reading it. I give it an 8/10.

1 comment:

  1. I've been hearing good and bad things about this one but I'm still curious about it. The lack of fantasy worries me a bit but the adventure, characters and story seem to make up for it :) Lovely review as always my friend!