Court of Fives – Kate Elliott – Little, Brown Books for Young Readers – Published 18 August 2015
In this imaginative escape into an enthralling new world, World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott begins a new trilogy with her debut young adult novel, weaving an epic story of a girl struggling to do what she loves in a society suffocated by rules of class and privilege.
Jessamy’s life is a balance between acting like an upper class Patron and dreaming of the freedom of the Commoners. But at night she can be whomever she wants when she sneaks out to train for The Fives, an intricate, multi-level athletic competition that offers a chance for glory to the kingdom’s best competitors. Then Jes meets Kalliarkos, and an unlikely friendship between a girl of mixed race and a Patron boy causes heads to turn. When a scheming lord tears Jes’s family apart, she’ll have to test Kal’s loyalty and risk the vengeance of a powerful clan to save her mother and sisters from certain death.
Imagine a world that seems like a combination of Ancient Greece and Ancient Egypt, mixed with the cunning and dexterity of martial arts training in the form of a competitive game in which contestants risk death, add a dash of romance, a healthy helping of family love and sisterly rivalry and finish with a determined and strong heroine. What you end up with is Court of Fives – a clever and original novel that intrigues and delights.
Jessamy has always dreamed of running in the Fives – a game of balance and strength. But as a daughter of a Patron and a Commoner she and her three sisters are considered inferior to the imperial Patrons and yet equally not part of the Efean community. Secretly training for the Fives gives Jessamy a release from the constraints placed upon her, but the desire to compete, just once, proves too strong despite her father’s unexpected return from war as a cerebrated military strategist. As Jes’ life begins to spiral out of control she learns what she will sacrifice to rescue her family and fight for what she wants.
Court of Fives is intriguing from the start but around 100 pages in it gets really interesting, and then WOW. Kate Elliott has built a wonderful world that conjures up imagery of an ancient civilisation mixed with a strange and mysterious fantasy world. The characters are strong and the plot well written. The end is tantalising and agonising and leaves you desperate to know where book two will go. A brilliant new read for lovers of fantasy and adventure.
The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Young adult fiction
Themes: Action and adventure. Family. Survival. Politics. Social Issues.
Age guide: Ages 12 and up.
Published: 18 August 2015 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Format: Hardcover, ebook, audiobook. 448 pages.