Series: The Glittering Court #1
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Date Published: 2016-04
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Audiobook Length: 12 hours 53 minutes
Audiobook Narrator: Kristen Sieh
Description: 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.
If you are at all familiar with Chapter Break, you know how much Julie and I love Vampire Academy and Bloodlines. My first impression was YAY a new series by Richelle Mead! But then I read Glittering Court. And I wasn’t in love at all. There was no Dimitri fighting Strigoi. And no Adrian to quip about how fabulous he is.
Glittering Court is set in a whole new world. One where lower-class women are bettering themselves by training and competing for contracts to be married to the highest bidder. And where a Countess disguises herself as her maid to avoid a marriage she’s not interested in. Yeah. Makes loads of sense to disguise yourself as a maid, go through all the training to learn how to be a member of gentile society, that you are already a part of, to marry someone you don’t know.
I didn’t click with any of the characters. Adelaide (who is really Countess Elizabeth) is pampered to the point of not even knowing how to dress herself. But thinks it’s a good idea to traipse off to some unknown country. Throughout the book, she doesn’t think about the consequences of her actions. Cedric works for the company who sells the girls to the highest bidder. He helps to train, transport, and then find eligible suitors. So of course the two fall in love. Then a good portion of the book is spent trying to figure out which suitor to pick for Adelaide, when neither of them want to pick one at all. As for the secondary characters, Tamslin and Mira were not much more developed, but were more interesting. Tamslin is striving to be the number one girl, to secure the highest marriage contract. But meets with a series of unfortunate events while striving towards her goal. With Mira, we have an exotic beauty who is trying to buy her own marriage contract. I think I would have preferred the stories of these two characters to Adelaide and Cedric. The secrets they are hiding seem far more interesting. (I see the next book in the series is about Mira. Maybe that will be more interesting?)
As for the plot, it was very obvious, and very convenient. Characters meet major inconveniences, but manage to get out of trouble with few issues. The good guy is the bad guy. Both Adelaide and Cedric are tasked with menial labor, when neither actually know anything about toiling for a day’s wage. But in the end, everything works out for everyone (except the bad guy, because, of course). There was, for me, nothing really driving the plot forward. It meandered everywhere. There was no urgency. No sense of excitement. No couldn’t put it down feeling.
The narration was fine. Nothing to remark upon it, either good or bad. I do wonder if Glittering Court might be one of those books better read than listened to? Maybe then I would have been more engaged with the characters?
Overall, Glittering Court was just ok for me. Nothing to write home about, that’s for sure. It’s clearly a set up for more in the series. And hopefully those books will be more interesting.