by Richelle Mead
Series: The Glittering Court #2
Published on June 27, 2017 by Razorbill
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
In MIDNIGHT JEWEL, Richelle Mead goes beyond the glitz and glamour of the Glittering Court, delving into the dark, political underbelly of Cape Triumph through the eyes of one girl who dares to fight for her freedom.
A refugee of war, Mira was cast out of her home country and thrust into another, where the conditions were inhospitable at best. In a life-altering twist of fate, she is given the chance to escape once more, and she takes it, joining 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. There, Mira finds herself subjected to persecution, not only from her fellow Glittering Court jewels, but from her suitors, as well—men she would potentially be expected to give her life to.
By day, she goes through the motions, learning the etiquette and customs that will help to earn her anonymity, even making a couple true friends in the process, the forthright ladies’ maid Adelaide and the ambitious laundress Tamsin. But by night, Mira hatches a different plan entirely—one that, if exposed, could get her hanged in the highest court of Adoria.
MIDNIGHT JEWEL is the extraordinary story of a girl with few options who courageously forges a new path, finding love, passion, lifelong friendships, and maybe even a way to freedom.
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Reading this book made me sigh in relief. The series can be redeemed!
I had…issues…with The Glittering Court. And I was honestly worried that the sequel would take a similar turn, especially when I heard that it’s more of a companion, telling the same timeline of the story but from another character’s perspective. But I’m happy to report that not only was Midnight Jewel an improvement on the first book, it was a fantastic read all around.
One of my biggest issues with The Glittering Court was the fact that Adelaide’s decisions made no sense. She ran off to avoid a marriage only to join the Glittering Court where she’d be all but auctioned off to the highest paying suitor in a different place. There was no logic to it. But in Midnight Jewel, you learn of Mira’s reasons for joining the Court and they DO make sense. Well, enough to satisfy me. She has a plan and being one of the jewels in the Court is just a means to an end. I really liked her dedication to her goal and how far she was willing to go to reach it.
Mira is not only selfless but strong. She doesn’t stand by to wait for options to appear — she makes her own options when none present themselves. This is the protagonist I want to read about. And Mira reminded me a lot of Rose from the Vampire Academy series. Someone who goes the distance for her loved ones, who can be a bit reckless at times but means well, who has this sense of justice she can’t help but act on. Her character was a lot more fun to follow, and just generally more interesting.
The romance got better too. Instead of a rush job, Mira and her man were making eyes at each other for quite some time before anything happened, and the story needed that build-up. Grant knows where he stands in life and I loved seeing his view on that change by being around Mira, as well as her own view on allowing herself happiness amidst the chaos.
I loved the world she’s thrown into. Midnight Jewel is darker. Not everyone is on the right side of the law and justice isn’t always served by officials. The colony of Cape Triumph is still new and everyone is looking for their place in the world. I think a good part of this story is Mira finding hers and it wasn’t what I expected (but in a good way).
It’s amazing that a story told from a new perspective can be more interesting but it was. No simpering brides-to-be here. Mira is involved in a case that she shouldn’t be on, or even know about, yet has been allowed to join because she’s good at what she does. Gathering information, sneaking around, it provided an action-packed story that moved at a much faster pace. There are several time jumps, some short, some long, throughout the book so despite my thoughts on book 1, it’s worth the read so you can fill in the blanks and give yourself a fuller picture of what’s happening.
This book reminded me of what I love about Mead’s writing. The combination of action and mystery and romance tied in with a fabulous heroine and interesting cast of characters. I missed that last time but glad to see it return in Midnight Jewel. I’m interested to see how the next book plays out with Tamsin’s account during the same time period, especially since she’s hardly with Mira and Adelaide once they finish their training as ladies.