cover image The Glittering Court

The Glittering Court

Richelle Mead. Razorbill, $19.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-59514-841-4

A 17-year-old countess trades Elizabethan luxury for frontier life in this absorbing fantasy. Lady Elizabeth Witmore is intrigued when Cedric Thorn arrives at her home, recruiting for the Glittering Court. After maidservant Ada is offered a place in the court but is hesitant to leave, Lady Witmore poses as Ada for the chance to make a new life on the frontier of Adoria, across the Sunset Sea. There’s a catch: in the Glittering Court, she will be groomed to marry a man of “new nobility” who is able to pay a price for her hand, but when she falls for Cedric, the future looks even more uncertain. Writing from “Ada’s” sharp-witted perspective, Mead (Soundless) delivers an enjoyable fish-out-of-water tale that plays gritty frontier adventure against the finery of the Glittering Court. The uncomfortable notion of “ladies for sale” is balanced by Ada’s indomitable spirit, and although the worldbuilding is somewhat scant, Ada’s friendships with roommates Tamsin and Mira are well-realized, and themes of religious freedom and racism are woven smoothly into the exciting narrative. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Apr.)