The Glittering Court Series, Book 1
Description (taken from Richelle Mead's website):
Big and sweeping, spanning the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, 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 capable of arranging 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 later, 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. . . .
Okay, okay, so I didn't delve right into the synopsis and put two and two together. I read Glittering Court; that's a title for fairies, right? Yeah, my bad... I didn't realize what I was going to get was a fantasy telling of a masculine people from a well-established society moving into a new world and searching for gold.
Adelaide is a sheltered countess on the brink of bankruptcy when her grandma announces a match to solve their problems. But Adelaide doesn't want this. Instead she escapes to a finishing school that eventually takes its women to the new world and sells them as wives to the highest bidder (irony, right?). But somehow Adelaide makes the most of it and finds an unlikely friend in Cedric, the business owner's son. And soon enough, Adelaide finds herself in the middle of controversy while trying to be her own person.
I really need to get something off my chest. Richelle Mead is one of my favorite (if not favorite) authors, and I have kind of fallen flat with the last two novels of hers I've read. But back to the story and my thoughts. To me, it wasn't executed well. The romance between the two characters was cute. But I couldn't really get over the whole premise of running away from an arranged marriage into the hands of another arranged marriage. That idea kind of bothered me. And the back stories surrounding the side characters: it was left in mystery and not well-explained which left me with plot holes. I don't like plot holes. I want a perfectly executed story that has thought of every little detail and how it makes the whole story make even more sense.
Gah, I just can't. And I found out it's a series. A series? Why? Maybe to tell us more about those side characters? I'm not sure I can continue though. (I would suggest reading other reviews for this one.)