The Glittering Court hits a lot of parallels to our own modern times and the issues we continue to have, but also brings in some unique characters and an interesting storyline.
You have to hand it to Richelle Mead. You never know what she’ll come up with next. After having read her Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series, you might automatically think that’ll be what she’ll write about for years to come. But then I read Soundless, and although it had that fantasy element in it, it was mystical in a different way than that of the Dhampir. So, when I got The Glittering Court, I wasn’t exactly sure what kind of story to expect.
Save for the made-up locations, The Glittering Court is very much like historical fiction with Elizabethan and Western Frontier elements mixed in as we see this world through the eyes of Adelaide, a young lady who decides to run away from her privileged and try for an adventure across the sea into New World territory.
You’ll find that what Adelaide experiences is very much in line with what was experienced back when the U.S. was still a bunch of colonies and people were trying to find freedom from the strict religious ways of the European world.
However, Adelaide does it in a way that is not something that I expected when it comes to creating a strong female character. Be that as it may, every strong female character is developed differently and has different trials and challenges to overcome. In the case of Adelaide, the road that she takes to make a new life is something people of this day and age may find degrading, maybe even unbelievable, and you often have to remind yourself that this takes place at a time that is very similar to our history and women who were not already born into royalty, were treated much like property. Albeit, a special kind of property, but property nonetheless.
With that said, women had to find subtle ways of standing up for themselves and being independent in their sort of way. In a way, it seems it would make the story harder to develop as compared to creating a story in modern times where women definitely have more freedom to do things independently and fall in love more freely. So, I admire Richelle Mead’s attempt at do so using world history and yet creating something a bit unique.
As I stated, we see things through Adelaide’s eyes. And although I can’t say that I can relate to her situation, I could empathize with her and her reasoning for doing what she does. She’s a headstrong lady, of course, sometimes too headstrong, sometimes too indifferent, and definitely too confident. She’s not the most likable character, but I appreciated her in the end. The two main supporting female characters are interesting enough. One of them is clearly meant to translate to a woman of color, and in this story’s period, women of color were definitely treated very inferior. She became a favorite character of mine not only because of that, but because of her actions throughout the story. The other is one of those characters that you’re just not sure about but you find her interesting.
Cedric is the love interest for our Adelaide, but holds a secret. Through him is where the author brings to light another parallel to our own world. I don’t want to outright say what it is, but I found it controversial in its own right, especially in our world. But there’s no doubt that Richelle meant for it to speak to the reader and get them thinking about their own beliefs of what should and shouldn’t be tolerated.
Because of that, Cedric has his own uniqueness to him. As much as I’d like to say I really enjoyed all these characters, I don’t feel that I’ve learned as much about them as I’d expected, or maybe wanted to, even if it’s the first book in a series.
But one thing that Richelle tends to do is take her time telling the story and revealing the characters bit by bit, so it’s no surprise that you’d want more after the end of the book. With that said, I appreciate her ability to give the book a close before moving onto the next part of the story. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t do cliffhangers, but there’s a book for that, and it’s usually not the first one.
Overall, I found the story a bit slow for my taste, and I’m also not a big fan of historical fiction anyway, but Richelle does manage to give an exciting ending with characters I want to know more about, and something to look forward to in the upcoming books.
The Glittering Court is now available in bookstores, or order your copy on Amazon now.