I was very excited to read this book, as the premise sounded very intriguing- a rich runaway who joins a mysterious court to escape a future she doesn’t want, only to get caught up in a more dangerous, secretive society than the one she left. And honestly, I did enjoy this book, but all of its originality quickly seeped away when I realized it was just a story about the colonization of the Americas with different names, and an utterly uninspiring story. This book, while enjoyable, fell short- the plot didn’t really go anywhere, and probably could have been wrapped up 100-150 pages earlier, skipping a whole lot of boring nonsense that Mead undoubtedly threw in to increase the page count.
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.