NOTE: This is not a review, because I didn’t finish the book. Instead, these are my notes. Thanks to Penguin Teen Australia for providing me with a copy.
The Glittering Court
Penguin Razorbill (US, CA, & AU: 5th April 2016)
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I’ve followed Richelle Mead’s career since the days of the Fangs, Fur, & Fey LiveJournal community, which was in action from 2006 through to 2011. (Yes, I’m old.) I bought her books, and they stayed in my TBR piles because I prioritise reading library copies.
When the announcement came of the author’s first, and so far only, official visit to Australia (to promote Blood Promise in 2009 – pics or it didn’t happen), I began catching up. Succubus Blues: 4 stars. Vampire Academy: 5 stars. And after her visit, I also read and enjoyed Gameboard of the Gods (4 stars) and Frostbite (5 stars).
But things took a turn with the author’s stand-alone, Soundless. “It’s diverse – lots of deaf characters,” I heard. So it was disappointing when I actually read the book, which is told from the point of view of a girl…who can HEAR. Which is pretty much the default for fiction, anyway. All these deaf characters, but the story is about the only person in the village who can hear. Think I gave Soundless 3 stars in the end.
Which brings me to the only Richelle Mead book that I’ve started but haven’t finished: The Glittering Court. Fantasy set in made-up lands – not really my thing. Supposedly inspired by Elizabethan times and the “frontier world” (early white days of the USA) – historicals aren’t my thing, either. Then the reviews came in from fellow readers I trust – all about dresses and romance. The dread built, yet I still tried the book.
And on the very first page – yes, Page 1 – of The Glittering Court is…a racial slur. I didn’t expect that; hadn’t been warned about it. And because I’d heard this was inspired by the “New World”, I figured this made-up land’s native people are POC, so calling them that slur…
I was already angry, but when the same slur turned up TWICE on Page 17 (said by the love interest, no less) I skimmed until circa page 40, when my library books arrived. I haven’t picked up the book since.
Not tempted to, either. Natalia and Rose both read much further, and their comprehensive reviews basically confirm all the bad impressions I had: that the novel is pro-colonialism and there’s racism aplenty, towards the native people of the land the white people are invading, and towards a refugee at the finishing school.
Oh, and there are reportedly problems with the world-building, plotting, and characters, too.
I’m all for authors starting new series in new worlds. But I think I’ll catch up on Richelle Mead’s backlist, rather than continue with The Glittering Court and its companion novels.