Court of Fives by Kate Elliot

August 24, 2015     erinbook     Book review

Court of Fives by Kate Elliot

Release Date: August 18th, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
448 Pages
Received: From Trade
Format: ARC


5 NUTS!  (I know, right)
Description: 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.
Review: This book, this beautiful book. I finished it in one day, all 448 pages, and I loved every second of it. I’m completely fascinated by this world. Since I was young I’d been obsessed with ancient cultures, and that’s the feeling you get from the world in this book.
So what’s the formula to make our setting? You start with a lot of ancient Egypt. There’s the kohl around the characters’ eyes and the way they bury their dead plus much more. Then add a generous helping of ancient Rome, especially in the ways they entertain themselves. But we’ll get to that a bit more later. Then you’ll want a bit of Greek and a dash of specifically Spartan ideas, especially within their military and the way their family structures are. But it’s not a history lesson on ancient cultures, the author just takes some of dynamics and structures for them. The details are all pure high fantasy world.
When I think of the Fives I think “how cool is that”? If gladiator battles were based on intellect and strength rather than combat it would be the Fives. It’s like and Olympic race with obstacles and the chance that you might bite it with one wrong step. I love that, and each segment involving a Fives competition satisfies my action craving in this book. I love a good, strong, smart female lead.
Which brings me to there characters, and there are actually quite a lot of them. Jessamy is one of 4 sisters, then there are her parents, her love interest, his family and friends, tons of servants and side characters, the list goes on. Don’t worry, it’s still pretty controlled and nothing like George RR martin’s army of characters. But there are still quiet a few people to keep straight.
One thing I have to put out there: I do not feel bad for the father and the decision he makes. The author gives her characters plenty of justifications for why he does what he does but I just can’t bring myself to try to like him after that. For a character that other characters keep calling so strong, I think he was extremely weak willed and weak minded. Sorry dude, you don’t pass muster, you’re still an asshole.
I loved this book and I want more right meow! I could hardly put it down, I was so engrossed. A few hours later I looked at the clock and was shocked that it was already evening. Time really does fly. This book is fast paced and beautifully detailed, if that’s what you like this book and you are a perfect fit.
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