The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead #YA #BookReview

glitteringcourtTitle: The Glittering Court
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: The Glittering Court #1
Format: Digital ARC, 416 pages
Publication Details: April 5th 2016 by Razorbill
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

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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…
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Review

I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Glittering Court. I really enjoyed some of Mead’s Vampire Academy books but this sounded like a huge departure from that. It does however have a stronger fantasy element than I expected from the synopsis. 

In a nutshell, our protagonist runs away from an unwanted arranged marriage by pretending to be her servant Adelaide. Adelaide has been invited to join the Glittering Court, a kind of a finishing school / brothel where poor but pretty women are educated and polished up in order to be sold off to the growing number of noblemen in ‘The New World’. The only problem is that ‘Adelaide’ already knows everything there is to know about being a lady and mustn’t be discovered.

I like Richelle Mead’s writing a lot; it feels so effortless making it easy to get swept away, which is what happened here. In fact it was going pretty great, along with a nice potential love interest between Adelaide and Cedric – until that is – we’re hit with a whole religious angels-vs-demons-secret-heathen-backstory/infodump thing. Ugh.

I mean, the religions were touched on very briefly at the beginning and I realised that the Glittering Court wasn’t just a case of being set in the past, but in a different world,  yet it still felt very out of the blue and unnecessary to me. I thought it was a perfectly good story without trying to put a fantasy spin on it.

Overall, The Glittering Court was enjoyable, but not without its faults. The world-building wasn’t thorough enough for me and it felt confused. The fantasy elements seemed to have been dumped in at the last minute.

However, it was still fun and I’m interested to see if the companion novels shed more light on what Mead was trying to achieve here.

unicorn rating 3

 

Mr. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

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Title: Mr. Miracle
Author: Debie Macomber
Series: Angelic Intervention #10
Edition: Digital ARC, 272 pages
Publication Details: November 20th 2014 by Cornerstone
Genre(s): Romance; Christmas/Holiday
Disclosure? Yep! I received a copy from the author/publisher in exchange for an HONEST review. Many thanks to Cornerstone.

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Harry Mills is a guardian angel on a mission: help Addie Folsom to get her life back on track – and help her find love.

Creating a happy ending for Addie and her neighbour Erich doesn’t seem like much of a challenge. But soon after arriving in the town of Tacoma, Harry realises he might need some guidance. Addie and Erich can’t stand each other; growing up he was popular and outgoing, while she was rebellious and headstrong. Addie would now rather avoid Erich entirely, especially at Christmas.

Harry is going to need all the help he can get, and a bit of divine inspiration, to help Addie and Erich find their Christmas miracle.

Review

I was well and truly into my festive reads when I started on Mr. Miracle, and after reading and loving Starry Night by the same author the year before, I was looking forward to this one immensely.

I wasn’t aware that this (and a lot) of Macomber’s books are about angels, which isn’t my favourite theme, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

Mr. Miracle introduces us to Harry, an angel who is sent to earth on his first ever assignment: Addie Folsom. Harry’s ‘cover’ is that he’s a teacher and his subject, Addie, has just returned home after a failed career start to finish school which she skipped out on a few years previous.

Of course, Addie is in need of some guidance – hence the angelic intervention of Harry. She’s a bit lost. Her father died recently, her career never took off like she thought it would, she’s been pretty unlucky in love, and so she finds herself with very little to show for herself. With a heavy heart, Addie has to swallow her pride and move home.

Addie knows that the first Christmas without her father is going to be hard on her and her mother, but she’s glad they will be together….however, her mum has a different idea entirely and has booked a cruise with her neighbour in order to avoid Christmas altogether.

There’s just one problem. The neighbour’s son who happens to be a childhood enemy of Addie’s has been in an accident and can’t fend for himself. Will Addie step in and care for her school-day’s foe? Will she change he mind about him?

I’m sad to say that I was quite disappointed in this book. The story was very simple and predictable, but a lot of books in this genre are and I still end up getting sucked into the romance and silliness of them, but this one just didn’t win me over.

Addie’s initial hatred for Erich just seemed to disappear in a poof of smoke, and I didn’t find it heart-warming or very festive at all.

Some of the characters were interesting, such as the motley crew in Addie’s class, but they didn’t get enough page-space.

Maybe it’s because I enjoyed my previous festive reads so much that this one paled in comparison; I’m afraid I found it all a bit contrived.

Better luck next time, I guess!

unicorn rating 2

Mr. Miracle and other Debbie Macomber books are available in paperback from Waterstones now.