Jun 20, 2018

Review--The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

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…

Richelle Mead’s The Glittering Court was not what I expected to be. When it first came out, I saw an array of mixed reviews and it left me hesitant to start it right away. I think for me what kept holding me back was not knowing what genre this fell into. It’s clearly not a paranormal or fantasy read. It’s a world without magic. It doesn’t really seem to be historical fiction kind of read because despite a great deal of it feeling like old timey ways, there were moments when the speech took on a modern tone. Dystopian perhaps? One of those dystopians where the setting is reverted back to the past’s ways? This struggle with just the mere genre held me back for awhile. I kept expecting something to happen, something that would shift the tides and allow some sort of hint to come to light…I think I might have missed if it did happen.

Our story begins when a young countess learns that she is being forced to marry a cousin. She’s in financial need and his was the best offer that came through. Though I am not clear how what relation of cousin he was, I suspect it was some sort of distant one. She however has other ideas for her future and decides to take her maid, Adelaide’s place in what’s called The Glittering Court. It’s a business of sorts that takes young women, common women, and train them to be ladies and whatnot and then basically sold to a husband. Though the girl does have a choice in who she marries and may refuse an offer should she not want to be with said man.

This was another bit that sort of confound me. Adelaide, as I’ll refer to her as since she’s called this the entire book practically, wanted to escape an arranged marriage and yet she’s still willing to jump into a marriage with a stranger? Seemed odd, but I guess it was the idea that she’d still have a choice in the matter that enticed her to the idea. The girls are also sort of in a competition with one another as they are ranked by their performances in learning how to be proper ladies. This is when Adelaide meets who will soon become her closest friends, Mira and Tamsin.

The young man who recruited her, Cedric, naturally becomes a potential love interest and yet proves to be problematic since he’s technically her owner? Procurer? It’s a messy situation no doubt since he recruited her and knows that she’s not in fact, a servant, but a countess.

The story moved at a slightly slower rate, which is what led me to believe that the big conflict or turning point had to be around the corner. Adelaide soon finds herself on a boat to the New World where she and the other girls would meet the prospective husbands. The pacing really drags, to be honest. I guess this book would appeal to readers of a more sedate read, but I can’t really say what kind of book as I don’t read those and have no clue as to what kinds of readers would appreciate this book. For the most part I liked it, I didn’t love it, didn’t hate it. It very much falls under a middle sort of read.

Cedric and Adelaide end up getting their own kind of adventure in this one when there’s a pesky potential suitor who won’t leave Adelaide be and things continue to spiral further out of control. It’s a messy situation and I guess this is where the big conflict came into play. I was honestly expecting there to be more of a scandal or conspiracy, but I guess I was reading into things that truly didn’t exist.

Was this a perfect read? For me, sadly no. Was it terrible? No, it just wasn’t what I was expecting from a Richelle Mead book. I am likely going to give the rest of the trilogy a try because the next two books are supposed to center around Mira and Tamsin respectively and I felt like they had a lot of things going on for them during this one that wasn’t really explained all that much. Perhaps for good reason.

The Glittering Court was definitely new territory for Richelle Mead and while it wasn’t a favorite of mine, it was still an intriguing read for the most part. It’s my hope that the next two installments will help build upon some of the other intriguing characters and mysterious events that popped up towards the end of this one. I would consider caution with reading this one if you like fast paced reads with action or romance or intrigue. While there’s some intrigue in this one, I can say that the action was pretty nonexistent, although the romance was pretty spot on in true Richelle fashion!


Overall Rating 3/5 stars


  1. I don't remember a lot from this read but I think I remember really liking it. I need to re- read it so I can finish the series.

  2. Thanks for the review, I love Mead so I'm hoping to check out this series soon.

  3. This one was a huge disappointment for me when I read it just after it came out. Definitely not what I thought it was going to be. Like you said, I had a hard time figuring out what this book was trying to achieve whether it was genre or the plot. But I liked the other two girls so I have the sequels on my TBR...just not a high priority.

  4. I agree totally with this review. While it wasn't bad at all, it definitely wasn't my favorite Mead! Curious to see what you will think of the sequels!

  5. I felt that this one dragged for me too. I wasn't sure if I wanted to read more of the series, but I listened to the next book, and because I had read this one, it was easier to get lost in the second book. Still undecided if I want to read the final book though.


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