International YA author of bestselling series The Vampire Academy, Richelle Mead, shimmers with her new series The Glittering Court. The first book in what is expected to be a trilogy, The Glittering Court (The Glittering Court #1), introduces readers to a protagonist, the Countess of Rothford, who takes on a new identity to try and escape her impending future and forge one of her own choosing.
“Never assume you’ll have to follow the destiny someone else has planned for you.”
Categorized as a fantasy novel, fans of Mead may be disappointed that there are absolutely no supernatural forces at play as in her previous works. Her latest concoction is first and foremost a romance, with everything else being secondary. Although there is some action and adventure, most of the action is of, shall we say, a “carnal” nature. It can only be called a work of fantasy because the lands, nationalities, and religions are of a fictitious nature. In fact, most of the happenings can be likened to early American history with sailing and settling in a New World, seeking religious freedom, frontier exploration, and uprising with natives. All very familiar, except with a spin on names and landscapes.
What is original are the characters, chiefly the Countess of Rothford, who elects to go by the name of Adelaide. Even though she at first comes off as an overly pampered, privileged snob, she is still utterly likable, and even more so as her flaws and quirks are revealed. Equally appealing is Cedric, at first Adelaide’s partner in crime, and progressively something more. Their flirtations are comedic as well as melt-worthy.
There is plenty for the reader to delve into as they are never in one place too long. The author takes them on a journey of different regions and customs; as characters develop this also becomes an exciting venture.
As we learn, Adelaide is not one to discount her friends, and you shouldn’t either as Tamsin and Mira are to become the protagonists in the subsequent novels in the Glittering Court series.
Recommended for fans of Keira Cass’s The Selection.
Review of an Advanced Reader Copy. i.e.: quote from uncorrected galley proof.
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Razorbill
Profanity/Language: 20 mild obscenities; 3 derogatory names.
Violence/Gore: Brief mention of bloodshed happening when trying to colonize a new land; somewhat comedic mention of character being burned as a heretic; secondhand report of civil war; risk of death for religious beliefs (mentioned several times throughout); secondhand report of violence; mention of character receiving threats; violent threats are shouted out against another ethnic group; reports of violence in another colony; character examines injuries of torn skin on hands, mention of blood; character fears threat of violence; character is forcefully thrown to the ground; extended scene (about 2 pages) characters try to fight off being forcibly restrained, character is threatened and beaten, mention of characters sustained injuries (2x); character hits another character over the head; character admits to trying to kill another character; extended scene (about 1 page) male violently pins female character and attempts to rape her (non-graphic), character stabs another character injuring them; character threatens another character; extended scene (about 1 page) character fights off assailants with knife injuring some; characters attack assailants with swords, unknown if they kill or injure; secondhand report of violence and uprising in another land; character tries shooting another character with a gun; character is shot and injured by an arrow.
Sex/Nudity: Brief mention that a son may not me legitimate; many (20+) where male and female kiss either on the hand, lips, cheek, or forehead, hold hands, and/or embrace; character uses sexual reference to imply that the improper actions took place between an unmarried male and female; female intentionally implies she’s romantically involved with male character; extended scene (about ½ page) female characters talk about what is expected from them on their wedding night, rumor of a girl who gave away her virtue too soon; females receive unwanted catcalls; extended scene (about ¼ page) male and female kiss + caress passionately, lay down next to each other to watch the sky; male and female character are found in what is believed a compromising position; female is given an herbal contraceptive; extended scene (about 1 page) male and female kiss and caress and begin to remove one another’s outer clothing; female proclaims her virginity; female character recounts being married to another female stating it’s not unorthodox in her culture; male and female cuddle at night sleeping next to each other; male and female enter water nude not looking at each other, trying to keep proper distance as they kiss; male and female cuddle; extended scene (about ½ page) married male and female remove clothes and engage non-explicit sexual relations; implication of sexual relations between married couple; male pins female character and attempts to rape her (non-graphic), character inquires if their friend is a homosexual; implication of sexual activity as married couple lay in bed together; married couple engage in brief non-explicit sexual relations; few (5+) occasions where characters talk about sexual relations without using the word sex.
Mature Subject Matter:
Racial and religious discrimination, sexual relations, financial troubles, arranged marriage, attempted rape, apostate religion, socioeconomic segregation.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Few (no more than 10) remarks of adults drinking various alcoholic beverages at social occasions; character is somewhat intoxicated.