Court of Fives
Author: Kate Elliott
Series: Court of Fives #1
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Source: ARC received from publisher at BEA
Rating: 3.5 Stars
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***I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way changed my opinion of the book. The review below is my open and honest opinion.***
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
Court of Fives introduces us to a brand new, unique fantasy world filled with oppression, racism, archaic and inhumane traditions and an exciting and dangerous game of politics. The politics are what really grabbed me with this one. I love twisty political structures. I love not knowing who to trust and I love being surprised by characters at every turn of the pages. And this book gave me all of that. I was angry at certain characters one second and then feeling bad for them the next. Every time I thought I had this world figured out, something new would be introduced and I would be shocked and confused (in a good way) all over again.
That being said, I did still have a couple issues with it. I never really connected to the main character, Jessamy. She just seemed a bit cold and distant to me and I never felt that spark I wanted to feel for her. She obviously cares a lot about her family and I loved that part of her, but I guess I never really felt those emotions if that makes sense.
The romance was also a bit lackluster. I thought it came on really quickly and almost out of nowhere. When the first kiss happened I literally had to go back and reread because I couldn’t believe the first kiss actually had just happened there. I’m the type of reader who likes a slow burn romance and this wasn’t it. I did like the romantic interest, but I just wish the relationship had time to develop a bit more.
The world-building was excellent, but at the beginning of the book it felt a bit like info-dump. This got better as you read on though. The author got better at weaving these details into the storyline and I really enjoyed it. It’s thorough and really allows you to immerse yourself into this new world. The history is very interesting and I loved hearing both sides of the story from the Patrons and from the Efeans. I loved seeing how the hate between the two races twisted the story over the years. And I always love watching an oppressed people fight for their rights. The Efeans are a strong and intelligent race of people and I can’t wait to see what they will do next.
I also really enjoyed the Fives Court and the races. I’m a big fan of competitions within books and this was something unique and fresh. I loved reading about the different sections of the Fives Courts and how Jessamy strategized each section out. She’s crazy smart and I loved seeing her in action.
Overall, this is a unique and exciting new fantasy world that I’m eager to see more of. I’m looking forward to seeing how the class structure plays out in the future books and how the Efeans fight for the freedom and rights. I’m excited to see what Jessamy will do next and how Lord Garagon will be taken down.
Have you read this book yet? What did you think?