Book Reviews

YA Thoughts // The Glittering Court


Title: The Glittering Court

Author: Richelle Mead

Published: 2016 by Penguin Random House Australia

Pages: 403

Goodreads rating: 3.43

My Rating: 2.5


To escape an arranged marriage, Adelaide, an Osfridian countess, must pose as a servant and join the Glittering Court – a school for designed to transform impoverished girls into upper class ladies. 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.

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 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.

This review contains some spoilers.

Thoughts on The Glittering Court
  • Richelle Mead has a gift for storytelling, throwing plot twists in exactly where they are needed, writing clever dialogue and setting a good pace throughout her novels. The Glittering Court is no exception and well-written in these respects.
  • The history of this new world is a fascinating retelling of the American frontier, set in an alternate universe. I enjoyed the descriptions of both Osfridian and Adorian society, but would have liked more detail.
  • There will be two more books focusing secondary characters Mira and Tasmin. I could tell that both of these characters were getting into their own adventures behind the scenes, so I am really looking forward to reading their books.
  • Lady Elizabeth Witmore, Countess of Rothford, wants to escape her gilded cage and unappealing betrothal. So…. she poses as a maid (Adelaide) to join the glittering court, where common girls are turned into noblewomen… and sold into marriages?! Did I miss something here? Elizabeth’s plan makes no sense.
  • Elizabeth/Adelaide abandons her impoverished grandmother, occasionally thinking of her, but never for more than a few lines.
  • Women are treated appallingly in this story, bought, sold and frequently referred to as ‘goods’. Adelaide’s love interest continues to plan her arranged marriage even after they have confessed their feelings for each other.
  • Mead’s heroines are usually gutsy and defiant in the face of oppressive social norms, but she seems to have made the assumption that young adults require more conventional heroines. I think Mead is underestimating young people in this respect.
  • The story wraps up too quickly, with a very convenient outing of the villain and barely any description of the fallout.

Overall: I was swept away by the twists and turns in this novel, but ultimately found the characters and the world lacking substance.

What did you think of The Glittering Court?

Thank you for stopping by!


11 thoughts on “YA Thoughts // The Glittering Court

  1. Good review! I totally agree with you on there being absolutely no sense in running away from a marriage and running right into another one. And yes, I too absolutely hated how women are pictured in this book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks 🙂
      I was trying to explain the concept of running away from being a noblewoman to pretend to be a commoner, pretending to be a noblewoman to my husband, he was baffled as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I also wasn’t a big fan of this book. Women were treated like objects, and Adelaide’s plan didn’t really make sense – to go from one potentially strained marriage to another. I also felt like the ending was a little too good to be true as well, and the only parts I even liked about this book were Mira, Tamlin, and Cedric. Well-written review xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!
      I agree, the emphasise on ‘women as objects/goods’ was really strong in this book. It’s a bit worrying that this is what people think young girls want to read about. I’ve noticed that the whole idea of a heroine being forced into marriage because she is young and the society is oppressive is not uncommon in YA at the moment. But this book takes the concept a bit too far in my opinion.
      The ending left me a little unsatisfied as well, it all happened so quickly and then everything was wrapped up!
      Despite this I am looking forward to the sequels, as I did like the parts that hinted there was more to Mira and Tasmin’s stories.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The concept definitely seems to be an emerging trend in YA, but usually I don’t mind it too much because the heroine manages to rebel against societal expectations and demand for her rights to choose a husband and her own path. The girls in The Glittering Court, however, are quite the opposite. They don’t even consider what it means to fall in love, but rather blindly go after random men because they are gold-diggers. I still remember how one of the girls was seriously considering marrying an 80-year-old because he was wealthy, and she was genuinely excited and happy about the prospect, which was a bit too much for me. I am too, and I think that Mira and Tasmin’s stories will be a little more interesting. xx

        Liked by 1 person

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