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 first thing I wanted know with this book was if I was reading a parallel world. It is heavily ingrained in Victorian and Colonial history, yet there seemed to be an otherworldly aspect. Have the names been changed to protect the less-than-innocent?
Adelaide is a Countess from an increasingly poor family. Ingrained in the Old World society, she has her parties, social responsibilities, and is on the market (for a husband). She is unhappy with her choice of marriage and decides to disguise herself as a handmaiden and run away to the New World with The Glittering Court.
I will not call to attention the fact that she ran from one meat market to an arguably worse one…
On the way, she encounters a dangerous new world, one where she is forced to work for what she wants and fight to be the best of The Glittering Court (and thereby secure the highest offers of marriage and money).
CUE LOVE TRIANGLE!
Maybe it’s my age. Maybe it’s the way I live my life. But the amount of YA love triangles has to stop. It is not acceptable to string two people along at once. It is not acceptable to have one on standby for if you decide the one you chose is boring. It is not acceptable to cheat and run around behind someone else’s back because you’re secretly in love but for whatever lame reason you can’t be together.
It’s not the real world. And it’s not acceptable to treat people like they’re your drama toys.
Had the love triangle not occurred, this book would have been fabulous. The secondary characters Mira and Tamsin are wonderful and juxtapose strongly against Adelaide. By the end of the novel I wanted to know more about the other two than I did Adelaide. I hear Mead is writing the other two from the other girl’s POVs. I hope so. I will definitely read the others if that’s the case.
But I fell out of love with Adelaide on the boat. After that, I wouldn’t read another book where she was the main character.