Kate Elliott is one of those authors that I will always pick up her books. I have had Court of Fives sitting on my bookshelf for awhile, and finally picked it up. I then of course read Poisoned Blade right away. These are interesting young adult stories and I can’t wait for the last book in the series.
Court of Fives review
Goodreads summary of Court of Fives
On the Fives court, everyone is equal.
And everyone is dangerous.
Jessamy’s life is a balance between acting like an upper-class Patron and dreaming of the freedom of the Commoners. But away from her family, she can be whomever she wants when she sneaks out to train for the Fives, an intricate, multilevel athletic competition that offers a chance for glory to the kingdom’s best competitors.
Then Jes meets Kalliarkos, and an improbable friendship between the two Fives competitors—one of mixed race and the other a Patron boy—causes heads to turn. When Kal’s powerful, scheming uncle tears Jes’s family apart, she’ll have to test her new friend’s loyalty and risk the vengeance of a royal clan to save her mother and sisters from certain death.
In this imaginative escape into an enthralling new world, World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott’s first young adult novel weaves an epic story of a girl struggling to do what she loves in a society suffocated by rules of class and privilege.
One of the major themes in Court of Fives is class. The main character, Jes, and her sisters fall within an odd in-between. Their father is a Patron-born (ruling class) highly decorated man in the military. Their mother is a Commoner. This is unheard of in this land. A Commoner concubine? Sure. But not as a significant other. So Jes grows up pretending to be a Patron. But she doesn’t fit in their world as she looks like a Commoner, but she doesn’t fit as a Commoner as she acts like a Patron. The only place Jes feels at home is on the Fives Court, where it doesn’t matter who you are, as long as you are good. And she is. When her father’s “sponsor” dies, their entire world is thrown into turmoil and the family is ripped apart.
Throughout the rest of the book, Jes struggles to figure out where she fits into the new world she has been thrust into. How an she continue to help her family while living on the Patron side? Can she truly be friends with Kal? Can she ever forgive her father for what happened? At the end, her decision will effect not only her, but nearly everyone that she loves. Which way will she go?
Poisoned Blade review
Goodreads summary of Poisoned Blade
Jessamy is moving up the ranks of the Fives—the complex athletic contest favored by the lowliest Commoners and the loftiest Patrons in her embattled kingdom. Pitted against far more formidable adversaries, success is Jes’s only option, as her prize money is essential to keeping her hidden family alive. She leaps at the chance to tour the countryside and face more competitors, but then a fatal attack on Jes’s traveling party puts her at the center of the war that Lord Kalliarkos—the prince she still loves—is fighting against their country’s enemies. With a sinister overlord watching her every move and Kal’s life on the line, Jes must now become more than a Fives champion…She must become a warrior.
Poisoned Blade picks up right after Court of Fives. Jes is living with the decisions that she made in the past. As she goes on a tour of the countryside, she is thrust again into a much larger fight than her little space. Once again, her decisions have repercussions that ripple throughout not only the people in her life, but much farther.
We also see how her relationships change with others. Jes’s views on others are slowly changes as well as she continues to see more of the world around her and meets more people. She then has to make the decision of what side she is going to fall in with.
Overall review of Court of Fives and Poisoned Blade
These are fantastic books. Pick them up if you enjoy political intrigue and see how decisions have consequences, not matter what the choice.
4 out of 5 stars (for both)
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