Review: The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

Summary/Cover Image from Publisher's Website: 
For a select group of girls, the Glittering Court offers a shot at a life they’ve only ever dreamed of, one of luxury, glamour, and leisure. To high-born Adelaide, whose wealthy family is forcing her into a loveless marriage, the Glittering Court represents something else: the chance to chart her own destiny, and adventure in an unspoiled, prosperous new land across the sea.
After a chance meeting with the dazzling Cedric Thorn, Adelaide poses as a servant to join the crop of impoverished girls he promises to transform into proper ladies. But her familiarity with upper class life comes with a price: she must hide her identity from her new friends, mysterious refugee Mira and fiery former laundress Tamsin, and most importantly, from Cedric himself—even though she’s falling in love with him.

Everything begins to crumble when Cedric discovers Adelaide’s ruse, and she catches the eye of a powerful young governor, who wants her for a wife. She didn’t leave the gilded cage of her old life behind just to become someone else’s property. But nothing is as daunting—or as wonderful—as the potent, forbidden attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. One that, if acted on, would make them both outcasts in a wild, dangerous, uncharted world, and possibly lead them to their deaths.

Vampire Academy is hands down one of my favorite series. Rose and Dimitri? One of my top YA couples ever. Therefore, when I heard that Richelle Mead was coming out with a new series I was super excited, especially when I heard that it featured a Victorian as well as frontier setting and a seemingly star crossed romance. What more could you really ask for? Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy this one nearly as much as I wished. It was an easy read, don't get me wrong. I had no problem finishing it, but I just didn't connect to the plot, the characters, or the setting, and that's where everything went wrong for me.

The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess on the run from a disastrous arranged marriage stemming from her family's lack of money. Adelaide didn't want to run. It meant leaving behind the person she cares the most about - her grandmother - but Adelaide could not stand one more minute of being forced into an insufferable situation. Now in the Glittering Court, posing as her former maid, she's learning all the etiquette needed to become a wife of someone important in the new world. Learning etiquette? That's easy, she's been trained her whole life. But acting as someone who doesn't know any of it, someone who's been cleaning, cooking, and mending clothes for the entirety of her life? That's the hard part. Faced with friends, enemies, and the one boy who knows her deepest, darkest secret, Adelaide's about to have a rough few months.

"I've never planned on stealing someone's life."

That's how Adelaide (formally Elizabeth) starts her tale, and with that line, I knew that Adelaide was someone I wanted to get to know better. Adelaide is the epitome of a strong, fearless main character. She goes to hell and back to get what she wants: a life of freedom and choices with someone she likes by her side. I respected that about her: she knew what she wanted. However, at the same time I just couldn't connect to her. I wanted to, I reached and tried, but there was something about her voice that was always an arm's reach away. I felt the same way about Cedric, her love interest. He was also brave - I liked the plot revolving around his religion, it added an interesting comment to the story - but he was, unfortunately, bland. I couldn't really fell the *sparks* fly between him and Adelaide. The two characters I did really enjoy reading about, though, were her two roommates. They were interesting girls, with a barrel of secrets of their own, and I'm really looking forward to reading their stories in the next two books.

The plot - a princess on the run - and setting - Victorian and frontier times - were what first inspired me to read this book, but just as with the characters, I had a few problems. The detail for the settings were good, they helped me to visualize the worlds in which Adelaide and her friends and foes were in; however, I always felt like the story was jumping from one place to the next - from the city to the country to the sea to the new world and two of its cities. It was a surplus of ground to cover with a lot of transitioning. I felt just as I got a used to one setting, and curious to learn more, it was time to go to the next. The plot lines were interesting, but seemingly stretched thin at times. I liked the run-away countess plot. It was interesting and I was also curious to see whether she would get caught, but I was not on the edge of my seat, dying to really know. Additionally, the romance also was a tad too bland and easy. It all fit together a little too perfectly in the end.

In all, The Glittering Court is an ambitious start of a new series, and while I couldn't always connect, I know that others will find this story amazing. (My problem, as always, is I have such high exceptions due to Vampire Academy- it's a hard series to beat) I look forward to reading the next two books. Hopefully, I'll be able to connect more.

Grade: C

The Glittering Court (Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble) is now out!

Source: Library 

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