Series Review: The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

The Glittering Court Trilogy


Synopsis for The Glittering Court (from Goodreads):
Big and sweeping, spanning from 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 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…


SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Author, Disappointment 2016
Series: The Glittering Court Trilogy
Author: Richelle Mead
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Companion
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Historical, Alternate History, Adventure
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: April 5, 2016 – June 2018
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook (#1); Audiobook (#2 & #3)


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Richelle Mead is one of my favourite authors ever. Vampire Academy and its spin-off Bloodlines are two of my favourite series ever with some of my favourite book characters every written. She writes strong females in worlds that are complex yet never overly complicated and she is pretty great at writing forbidden, loads of sexual tension romance. After the flop that was Soundless (it was ok, but didn’t blow me away)–I was really excited to see her jump into a new series and one that was almost like an historical romance.

Tip: Don’t Expect something a la Vampire Academy (High Action)

I’m adding this centralized subheading because I think it is really freakin’ important. Don’t be like me and come in with super high expectations for a fast plot because you will be disappointed. If you are familiar with Mead’s paranormal romance works, you know she always has a ton of physical and often political action to her stories. That really isn’t the case here. It’s a slower plot (as I’ll explain below) and it really is so different from her previous works. Go in with a clear mind and leave your Richelle Mead expectations at the door.

What I Liked:

–The World–

I really liked the world for this story. It mimics our own in terms of European explorers looking for the New World (North and Central America) but has brand new names and the like. If you have studied any history about this (which we do in Canada let me tell you), you’ll see all the parallels and see the political and social aspects Mead brings to life. I thought it was really smart and not overly complex and I simply loved it.

–Adelaide’s Character Development–

While I like that Adelaide is a head-strong girl, she really rubbed me the wrong way at the start. She’s a little selfish and a lot spoiled so she comes across as arrogant and stubborn. So that made it a little hard to be sympathetic to her situation at the start. BUT, she really comes a long way as the story progresses and I did warm up to her by the end.

She may not be my favourite heroine ever, but I can respect her progression as a character.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Slow Plot–

I feel like this book could have been 50 (ebook) pages shorter. I think this book kinda shoots itself in the foot because it is the first book of the series and it needs to set up the world and the other girls’ stories. But I found the first third to be pretty dry (mostly when they were at school) and then it picked up when they went to the New World. Then it weened a bit near the end but I did enjoy the last half of the book way more than the first.

The plot is also pretty linear in its progression. There isn’t a whole lot happening at once–it reminded me of an adventure story in that aspect. It read like A to B to C–when one thing “finished” another would pop up but nothing really seemed overarching when it came to Adelaide’s story besides her hidden identity. I wanted a little more substance I suppose to the plot.

–The Romance–

This was a huge disappointment for me. It felt like a love at first sight type of story because I didn’t get why they even liked each other besides some subconscious feeling. While the sexual tension in the middle of the book peaked, I found it quickly dissipated and I was left disappointed overall in the romance. Especially when the book was on the drier side, I really looked to the romance to give me some excitement.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

–The Interweaving Stories–

What I like about this series is that each book focuses on a different girl and the stories all interweave. I’m assuming the next two books will be about Mira and Tamsin since they are the only other girls we really meet but that’s just a guess. I was really intrigued by these two, especially when all this stuff happens–so I can’t wait to connect the dots.


–May 15, 2019– Book #2: The Midnight Jewel

I was hoping for a much stronger showing with Book #2 but I repeated history a bit.

There’s a lot to like here with this story’s setup. The whole companion nature of it is fabulous. It’s really cool to fill in all the gaps from the first novel; while simultaneously creating gaps for the next read. I’m sure if I read this book much closer to the first one, I would have made even more connections than what my basic notes were going into this.

Mira is a much stronger heroine I think than Adelaide as well. Her backstory is fuller; she’s independent, intelligent and driven so she’s a nice heroine to follow.

But I think her story became a little too convoluted along the way. While the plot wasn’t as linear as the first book, you still have a lot going on and I think at times that caused the book to be slower than it was. Too many things are trying to happen at once and it just gets messy.

I decided to listen to the audiobooks since it had been so long and it was so-so. Mira has an accent when she speaks to other characters, but her inner monologue lacked the accent as she narrated so it was a little odd to listen to.

–June 2, 2019– Book #3: The Emerald Sea

After a lacklustre middle novel, I went in hesitantly into this finale.

Like the previous novels, I found that the pacing was off; it just seems like an excessively long story for what happens. But I will say, it was nice to get the last few pieces of the puzzle to complete the narrative I’ve come to know over the course of the 3 novels.

Tamsin as a character gets a few bonus points from me. I loved her drive and attitude towards getting things done and taking care of herself. She’s independent in a society that doesn’t want her to be but knows how to play the society game to get herself further. She makes no apologies for herself and I could respect that. Also, her romance was also not what I expected so I liked that twist.

My Rating: 3/5

The Glittering Court 3/5 | The Midnight Jewel 2/5 | The Emerald Sea 2.5/5


This book didn’t wow me like I wanted it to. I wanted a little more passion I suppose in all aspects. BUT, I am very curious what the next story will be so I am definitely sticking with this series.

Read if You Like: slower stories, world-building, alternate histories, adventure
Avoid if You: dislike initially spoiled characters, want more romance building



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Comments 4

  • Thanks for sharing. You know, I haven’t read anything by this author yet but I think I’d like the VA series best. Sometimes a slow plot just can’t capture my attention.


    • Definitely read the VA series! It’s one of my all time faves and really where her writing skills are best on display I think 🙂

  • I thought the world was really interested as well. An alternate colonial America has a lot of potential. I agree the pace was kind of slow,though, and I don’t think I’ll be reading the rest of the series.

    • I know a lot of people will not be picking up the next book for the same reasons. It really was an underwhelming book but I’m hoping the series will wow me in the “bigger picture” when all is said and done.

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