When I picked up The Glittering Court, I was in the mood for fancy balls, dashing gentlemen, and a lively romance to sweep me off my feet! And the first half of the book certainly delivered!
The story focuses on Adelaide, an Osfridian Countess, who is trapped in an arranged marriage to her deplorable second cousin in order to save herself from financial ruin. On the eve of the wedding, however, she learns about the Glittering Court, a school (and business venture) that takes lower class girls and trains them to be ladies. Upon the completion of their training, they are taken to Adoria, a recently settled land across the sea, where they are courted by the newly wealthy settlers, and have their pick of husbands to choose from. Posing as her maid, Adelaide joins the court, hoping that any life across the sea could be better than the life that was chosen for her.
As you can naturally assume, romance and hijinks ensue as Adelaide attempts to keep her identity a secret. While the love plot was predictable (and somewhat unoriginal), I nevertheless enjoyed reading about Adelaide’s experiences in the Glittering Court, and her attempt to find freedom from the confines of society’s expectations. While I didn’t really connect with any of the characters, I enjoyed Mead’s description of the setting, and the pacing of the plot kept me constantly turning the pages.
Unfortunately, the story started to lose me upon Adelaide’s arrival in Adoria. The glitter and glitz I had been craving suddenly took a turn into an unexpected Western. While I do enjoy a good Western, it wasn’t what I was currently in the mood for, and the sudden change took me a bit by surprise.
While I was eventually able to get used to the sudden Western plot, I started to dread the fact that this was going to be a trilogy. Although I was quite happy with the way things ended in The Glittering Court, I was not looking forward to potentially reading two more books about Adelaide struggling in the wilderness. Luckily, a quick search online revealed that the other books in the series will each be focusing on a different character (like the His Fair Assassin series), and as a result, The Glittering Court, and Adelaide’s story could be left as a stand alone.
This made me incredibly happy, because if there is one thing I hate it’s starting a series, discovering that I don’t love it, and then leaving the other books unread. The stand alone nature of this series really takes a lot of pressure off of me as a reader, and I might actually read the sequel out of curiosity to see whether or not I enjoy the next character’s story more.
Overall, I enjoyed The Glittering Court, and did have trouble putting it down at times. While it started to drag a bit near the end for me, Mead wrapped up Adelaide’s story nicely, and fans of The Selection and Walk On Earth a Stranger will most likely enjoy it. It’s not quite up to par as Mead’s Vampire Academy series, but the story is nonetheless engaging.
Rating: 3.5 Stars