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…
. Entertainment factor : In spite of the many issues I had with the book, and its various cons, if you look at just the entertainment level, it was good. This is a book you won’t get much from, but you will enjoy reading it just for the sake of it. It was an enjoyable, fun read but nothing more meaningful than that.
. Quick, fast pace : The saving grace of the book. Thankfully, the story was told in a fast pace and each chapter moved ahead rapidly. It didn’t drudge anywhere, and there was just so much going on that even if it did slow down anywhere, it didn’t feel much like it.
. Selling women – uncomfortable concept : However window-dressing the book does : the actual concept is that a couple of men (father-son) are trying to sell a bunch of women and earn money. And that is something, I am not comfortable with. I don’t care that they are grooming the women, and trying to provide them a better lifestyle than what they would have had, that doesn’t change the fact that they are doing it for money. Several aspects, like showing off the girls like mannequins, dressing them up in low-cut dresses, arranging meetings with suitors – it was all done for money and it was just – unacceptable.
. Irrational concept of freedom : [Minor spoilers]. So, it is basically shown Ada (who actually is a countess) was being forced into an arranged marriage and she ran away to join the Glittering Court only to be married off to another man who would be her highest bidder (another kind of arranged marriage, in a way). Excuse me, but where is the freedom in that?? What kind of a freedom is it, to escape an arranged marriage and go straight into a situation where you sell yourself to the highest bidder? The whole concept of freedom in the book is disgusting, irrational and bad.
. Romance : Richelle Mead is known for developing a great chemistry and romance among her characters. Be it Rose and Dimitri or Adrian and Sydney, I loved the couples and how their romance developed. However, in this book, it was a major letdown. It was almost like the romance was thrown in my face; initially they flirt, then they are pretty much formal and all of a sudden they are touching each other and feeling things for each other. It just didn’t work for me, I thought the romance was off and there was absolutely no development. [Maybe this is because everything had to be wrapped up in one book, so there was no scope of development wheres in Mead’s other series, the romance could be well developed over the course of six books.] But yet, the romance was bad.
. Tamsin – Ada friendship : I felt that Mira and Ada (Adelaide)’s friendship was still well-written, but completely pissed off by Tamsin and Ada’s bond. It was annoying, and irrational and really poorly developed. Tamsin herself was a bad, horrible character, pretentious, self-absorbed, proud, suspicious and emotionless. I don’t get how Ada and Tamsin are termed as ‘best friends’ throughout the book but whatever bond they had, I disliked. [Mira and Ada though, that was a good friendship.]
. Bland characters : Another aspect not expected from Mead : ineffective, bland characters. She’s known for writing strong, well-defined leads, whereas in this book, it completely failed. The only character who made a good impression was Mira, who is Adelaide’s best friend. All other characters were ‘just there’.
Will I continue with the series?
No way. Hah. The other two books will be spin-offs – one book about Tamsin and one about Mira. I may pick up Mira’s book, but that is highly unlikely.
Tbh, no one. If The Selection was your favorite book in the world, you may pick this up and safely expect to be pleased. If you’re just looking for an enjoyable, fun read – yeah you may read this. Otherwise : no.
A ‘good book’ or a ‘good read’ ?
An okay-okay read.