Glittering Court #1. Author: Richelle Mead.
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… (Published summary.)
The Glittering Court was trying so hard to be… something. It wasn’t. It wasn’t so definitively that I’m not even quite sure what it was trying to be. The general style of the book was foretold in the opening chapters, wherein I realized who the love interest was within the first three sentences of the heroine meeting him for the first time. Said heroine then decided to run away from an arranged marriage by means of a contract with the Glittering Court, which will give her unnecessary training, ship her across the sea, and – arrange a marriage for her.
Ada, our heroine, bravely and cleverly manages to hide her true origins as a lady in the Glittering Court by pretending to be clumsy and just barely learning her lessons. Once the tests come around and she needs to place well for certain reasons, then she can show her real knowledge. As she is noble-born, naturally she’s actually perfect at all the lady-like skills; the embroidering, the painting, the etiquette, all the musical instruments and dances, etc. No need to worry about young noblewomen struggling to learn their tasks, apparently.
But by the time the auctioning begins – excuse me, I meant courting – Ada has fallen in love with a man who’s not one of the choices. My, what a surprise. Happily, our courageous heroine is up for anything, even the trials that will result from choosing him over a wealthier man. Nothing can stop true love, not even the fact that they’re of different religions, neither plans to convert, and they admit to each other they have no idea how that will work out.
Sexual content: Girl tells another girl that the makeup she’s wearing makes her look like a prostitute. Gossiping girl says “She went to bed with him in exchange a spot here.” Girl reads a book that “Along with the particulars of pregnancy and childbirth, also included information about what led to those.” Girl tries on a dress with significantly lower neckline than she’s worn before and is a little scandalized. Two kissing prone on the ground. Another incident, young man and woman kissing, start to take of clothes – girl says she plans to remain virtuous until her wedding night, but that she has a very creative definition of virtue and plans to push the limits. (They’re interrupted before getting further.) Man and woman bathe naked together in darkness without touching beyond a kiss. Sexual intercourse between newlyweds once clearly without details, and strongly implied again later.
Language: 10 d***, 5 hell, 4 derogatory terms, 2 bloody
Violence: Two men tie another man up, punching and kicking him when he resists. Man knocks a girl down and tries to rape her; she stabs him non-fatally. Girl slashes several men with knife in self defense.