Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

Lady Elizabeth Witmore, Countess of Rothford is part of the glittering elite of Osfrid who can trace her ancestry back to one of the founding fathers of her country.  She has a title and pedigree, but due to an unfortaunte series of investments on the part of her dearly departed parents she is also practically broke.  She may live a comfortable life now, but the money is slowly draining away, all her estates have been sold, and her Grandmama is looking for a suitable match.  Unfortunately her idea of a suitable match and her Grandmama's are not the same, and as the day of her marriage draws closer she can't help but look for an alternative.  Her chance to escape comes when one of the maids from her dismantled household is offered a place at the Glittering Court - a finishing school that takes common girls, educates and trains them, and then sends them across the sea to the young colony of Adoria. 

Sending off the maid and taking her place is just the start of her new life, as 'Adelaide' has to carefully hide what she really is - if she is discovered she will be sent back to her old life and her future husband.  Life in the Glittering Court is more challenging than Adelaide could ever have guessed, not because learning to be a lady is difficult, but rather the opposite - she has to pretend to be less than she is, less refined than she is, and she works hard to stay in the middle of the crowd.  No one guesses her secret though, and the only person who knows her real identity is Cedric Thorn, the man who recruited the real Adelaide.  On the far side of the ocean in Adoria, Adelaide is popular with the men hoping to wed new wives, but she is starting to realise that she wants more than what she is being offered.  A new land brings the chance for a new life, but also new dangers.

The Glittering Court is the first book in a new series from Richelle Mead, and it was a pleasant surprise to find a book that has a lot of substance and well rounded character development.  It seems that lately there is a trend for quick read fantasy and dramas that hum along but don't really give you the chance to get to know the world or the characters; or the other extreme of intense and densely packed novels that could cure insomnia with their attention to minute detail.  The Glittering Court has managed the seeming impossible task of keeping the story moving at a good clip while also fulfilling your craving for a richly imagined world with characters that feel like your friends.  Adelaide is interesting and not your typical spoilt noble, and as events unfold she discovers more about herself and grows as a character which makes her even more likeable and human.  The characters around her are interesting and multifaceted, having their own secrets and motivations (just like real people). 

While this is the first book in a series it left me feeling like I had achieved something and I can now patiently wait for the next book in the series.  It will be interesting to see how many books as in this series as The Glittering Court could either be the foundation book for a long series, or the foundation book for a series as short as a duology or trilogy.  An excellent read - enjoy!

If you like this book then try:
  • Walk on Earth a stranger by Rae Carson
  • Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
  • The scorpion rules by Erin Bow
  • Throne of glass by Sarah J. Maas
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  • Crown duel by Sherwood Smith
  • Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey
  • Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
  • Ink and bone by Rachel Caine
  • The kiss of deception by Mary E. Pearson
  • Grave mercy by Robin LaFevers

Reviewed by Brilla

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