The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
What did I just read? ‘The Glittering Court’ is one of the strangest books I have read in a long while. If you asked me to summarise the plot, or even put this book into an appropriate genre, I am not sure I could. It’s taken me a while to write my review for just this reason.
A lot of stuff happens in this novel, stuff that is not necessarily very well connected. It’s almost like three or four stories crammed into one. The setting changes extremely quickly, and so this book really tested my memory – especially considering how many cultures, countries and religions there are that are directly relevant to the plot (but with no map – how frustrating).
Adelaide’s personality and priorities seem to change just as quickly as the setting, and I did not always understand how or why. This novel just left me with so many questions. And not in that good “I can’t wait to see what happens next in this story” way - more in a “wait, what just happened and why?” kind of way. Indeed, our MC herself attests to this: her most overused line (repeated every time she jumps from one lifestyle to the next) is ”…it felt like a lifetime ago.” Yeah, it felt like a lifetime for all of us…
As a side note, I read the first three Vampire Academy novels, which were sinfully addictive like a fattening piece of chocolate cake or a terrible soap opera. One thing she did amazingly well in that series was create palpable chemistry between her characters. I remember almost melting at the idea of Rose and Dimitri getting together. I had hoped that, even if the rest of the novel failed, I would have some more of that delicious Mead-brand chemistry. That’s why Adelaide and Cedric were so disappointing – because I expected better. They were an okay couple, with some cute scenes, but they were certainly nothing special. They go from casual flirting to undying love way too quickly, which is one of the biggest sins of romance writing. And Mead should know better!
‘The Glittering Court’ was not all bad though. I think it made some good points about racism, classism and sexism. The discussion surrounding Mira’s ‘value’ as a woman being tied to her race was thought provoking, and the multiple mentions of misogynistic attitudes amongst the Osfridian people were relatable. Mead touched on the incredibly important issues of rape culture and slut shaming, albeit in a very light way. I hope that these issues will be fleshed out more in the coming novels. Also, the writing was good enough that I kept reading even after the plot became a bit too convoluted. Mead has a nice, easy to read style that I genuinely enjoy, especially after a long day at work.
Overall, this was an okay novel, but it was far too long with a weak romance plot and hard to follow politics. I would recommend it to someone who enjoys interclass relationships.
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