Monday, September 28, 2015

ARC Review: Court Of Fives by Kate Elliott

Court Of Fives

 Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Published: August 18th, 2015

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.

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 whoever 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.


COURT OF FIVES was not the book I expected it to be. I thought it was going to be a battle to the death type game that the competitors were competing in. So you can imagine my surprise when I finally realized it was nothing more then a fun competition among adversaries, but a deadly competition among Lords and sponsors. I was at first let down by this unexpected turn of events, but by then I was already caught up in the plot to be able to put it down. And by the end I was glad I didn't give up on it.

A few things I disliked about COURT OF FIVES is one being the lengthy length of this novel. And though I enjoyed a lot of this book I still found some parts dragging and outright boring. This book could of been a lot shorter and still made the same point and impression. Another thing I disliked was Jes's sister Amaya. She was sooooo annoying and the way Jessamy coddled and babied her just made me hate her even more. Even when Amaya's life was on the line, this little brat was whinnying about her living arrangements and what she looked like. She was spoiled, selfish, and most of the time felt cold and uncaring. I hated her and hated that Jes was so easily woven in her web. Another issue I had was the lack of action and adventure. And though it did have some minor adventure, I still found that boring and unnecessary. And again made the plot feel dull and boring. I wanted more of a thrill from this novel and more confrontation between the main character and the "Villain" then what we got. But I'm hoping that in the next book we'll get more of all that.

What I really enjoyed about COURT OF FIVES was the fierce and driven determination in Jessamy's heart that kept her going. The unstoppable rage and desire that fueled her. And her compassionate and forgiving manner consumed her. And her capabilities to find love in the midst of a horrifying and deadly tangle of webs and deceit. I really enjoyed Jessamy's character and the trials she'd overcome. She's a strong and fierce character that I admired.

I also liked the world building and setting of the novel. It was set in a time of war, sexism, and inequality of women's rights as high Patron's rule over the lesser Commoners. And also with a touch of Ancient Greece where Oracles are still believed to hold the further in the palm of their hands, and used as a means of sacrifice. This world had a dark undertone, but was set in a light setting with undarkened features and goals. I REALLY liked this world, even with all it's negativity, unfairness, and cruelty.


Jessamy has been living a lie since she was born. She's considered a mule, a mutt, a half bread in her world where upper class Patron's are gods, and lowly Commoners have no say and hardly any rights. But for Jes, she's stuck somewhere in between. With a Patron father and a Commoner mother, Jes is ridiculed and berated for her mixed heritage. But that's never stopped Jes from fighting for her dream, and it's not going to start now...

Jes has always wanted to run in The Fives, an athletic competition that offers fame and glory as being one of the kingdoms finest competitors. But theirs just one problem, her father would never allow it. But with a fierce desire to reach for her destiny, Jessamy secretly trains for The Fives for the chance to compete. But when her father returns home early from the war and announces for the first time he's taking his family out in public, but not just to anywhere, but to The Fives competition, Jes's world comes crashing down around her, and her hopes become a labyrinth of shattered dreams.

But with a burning desire and determination in her heart, Jes secretly competes in The Fives competition, even with her father unknowingly watching. And Jes inadequately sets off a chain of horrific events that doom her family and world she once knew...

With no hope in helping her family, Jes is forced to compete in The Fives tournament, but this time she's not fighting for fun, this time she's fighting for her life, and the life of those she loves. With her fathers abandonment, her mothers broken heart, and her sisters shattered dreams, Jes is determined to beat this evil lord that shattered her world and broken her family, and best him at his vicious game, or die trying...

I'm very curious as to where this book will go next, and if Jessamy will finally get the revenge she seeks. And if Jessamy and Kalliarkos have any chance at progressing their relationship after the broken bond and violated trust they endured. Oops, I may of gave away too much away! ;)

Overall, COURT OF FIVES had many good qualities that I enjoyed and appreciated. Even with some of my dislikes, COURT OF FIVES was still a pretty engaging book that I enjoyed. I would definitely recommend COURT OF FIVES to any fantasy fan out there looking for a different kinda read, COURT OF FIVES just may surprise you! :)

NOTE: I received a physical ARC from Little Brown Books for reviewing purposes! All opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced in any way!


Kate ElliottAs a child in rural Oregon, Kate Elliott made up stories because she longed to escape to a world of lurid adventure fiction. She now writes fantasy, steampunk, and science fiction, often with a romantic edge. It should therefore come as no surprise that she met her future husband in a sword fight.

When he gave up police work to study archaeology, they and their three children fell into an entirely new set of adventures in dusty Mexican ruins and mouthwatering European pastry shops. Eventually her spouse’s work forced them to move to Hawaii, where she took up outrigger canoe paddling.

Also, there is a schnauzer.


  1. yikes, sorry this dragged a bit!

  2. I have gone back and forth about whether I want to read this one, or not.. The length doesn't bother me too bad, but if the pace isn't dead on, I will get bored. And the unlikable sister is annoying me already. I just don't know with this one...

  3. I may read this soon, but I haven't heard a lot about it. It sounds interesting enough.


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