Friday, 9 September 2016

Review: The Glittering Court - Richelle Mead


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The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
My Rating : {★★★☆☆}

Young Adult Fantasy(?) Romance

Published April 5th 2016 by Razorbill
Source - Borrowed
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…

Well, I'm not even sure what to rate this. It's been 4 days since I closed this one and I've thought about it a few times and I think I just have to stay with the noncommittal 3 star rating....


Firstly, this book is by one of my favourite authors. Richelle Mead made it onto my favourite author's list since reading Vampire Academy and I have devoured a lot of her books since then, but then came Soundless... And that was a bit of a flop for me. It wasn't terrible, but it definitely wasn't up to my expectations of Mead and I think this book is suffering from the very same issues. When I think of Richelle Mead I think of well developed, total kick-ass heroines; amazing world building where the reader is enveloped in a richly crafted world; conflict and tension that makes the book unputdownable. Unfortunately this book didn't have any of that for me.

I specifically remember at one point about 40% through the book where a tragedy hit and I really wasn't as upset about it as I should have been. I actually sat up and wondered - Did Richelle Mead actually write this? I can clearly remember her books both making me laugh out loud and moving me to tears. Where is that author I know and love?

Secondly, this book is classified as a fantasy. Soundless was also classified as a fantasy and almost had nothing to see it classified as such, but in the final few pages actually did end up being a fantasy novel (sort of). This book however had zero fantasy elements. It had a lot of deus ex machina, but that doesn't make it a fantasy novel.

What disappointed me the most was that Mead started to touch on some really important topics and then.... just went nowhere with them.

Religious Persecution
Colonisation
Feminism
Racial Discrimination

But regardless of the above points, there was something about this book - something so readable and compelling that made me want to read more. It was a long book, but a lot happened in the 400+ pages. The mix of Elizabethan London and the American Frontier really worked for me and I enjoyed those elements but found that the world building just fell short. The attempt at creating tension using politics was a bit of a fail, but maybe this will work out in the companion books? I'm not sure.

I'm hoping that the next book will be about Mira - she was probably my favourite character of this entire book.

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