Court Of Fives

Paperback | July 12, 2016

byKate Elliott

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A New York Times bestseller!

In this imaginative escape into enthralling new lands, 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 away from her family she can be whoever 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 contenders. Then Jes meets Kalliarkos, and an unlikely friendship between 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.

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From the Publisher

A New York Times bestseller!In this imaginative escape into enthralling new lands, 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 Pat...

Kate Elliott is the author of more than twenty novels, including New York Times bestselling Court of Fives, the Spiritwalker trilogy, the Novels of the Jaran, and the Crossroads trilogy. King's Dragon, the first novel in the Crown of Stars series, was a Nebula Award finalist, and The Golden Key (with Melanie Rawn and Jennifer Roberson)...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:464 pages, 8.38 × 5.5 × 1.25 inPublished:July 12, 2016Publisher:Little, Brown Books for Young ReadersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0316364304

ISBN - 13:9780316364300

Customer Reviews of Court Of Fives

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Review from Esther's Ever After Court of Fives is an exciting fantasy book, inspired in part by some characteristics of the Roman Empire. And not only is it an engaging story, but it tackles some issues which aren't often addressed in mainstream YA books - specifically, I was impressed by the inclusion of a biracial character. All together, Court of Fives is one of my favourite books this year: a rich fantasy book with complex characters and a story I was drawn into. Reasons to Read 1. The thought-provoking depiction of a class system: The class system in Court of Fives is particularly intriguing because it is also clearly based on race. Jessamy's father is a Patron and her mother is a Commoner (terms used to describe the two main classes). These two classes also have different features so it's physically obvious to which class you belong. So in Jessamy's case, it's obvious to both groups that she shares features from both. The problem for her is that she never feels like she fully belongs to either group - this is highlighted by the many incidents in which she's isolated from one or both groups. Few books have written a character like this with struggles like this, and I can say that from experience, it is an accurate portrayal of the struggle to belong. It's an important aspect of diversity in books and I'm glad to see it depicted here. 2. Complicated characters: There are a lot of characters in Court of Fives, but I was pleased to see how developed they were in one sense; they all felt like independent characters, with their own ambitions and fears. And while in some respects this is frustrating, it's nice to read about characters who feel realistic and human. The villains aren't as simple as being pure evil, nor are our heroes all good. 3. Strong world-building: Fantasy done well should include a well-developed world for the story to take place in. Kate Elliott does this successfully in Court of Fives by including a number of areas to assist in developing the world she created; religion and customs are addressed, as is the class system within society. And furthermore, there are expectations and duties, which Jessamy struggles to reconcile. As much as I enjoyed the bulk of this book, it also features one of my biggest pet peeves. Too often books that I read force a character to make a choice; the problem is, that I often find that choice to feel too much like a plot device in order to add some angst and drama to the story. It's a fine line, because yes, hard choices must be made at times. But there are many times when I read this and I can think of a handful of other options available to the character, so their choice just feels like unnecessary conflict. It detracts from the story rather than enhancing it as it should. Court of Fives is one of the richest fantasy worlds I've encountered lately, and it stands out from many others, particularly with its Roman Empire inspiration. It's a charming tale with a wonderful heroine, and engaging story. ARC received from HBG Canada for review; no other compensation was received.
Date published: 2015-09-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Review from This is the Story of My(Reading) Life Jes has a complicated family dynamic. In a society where class is everything her family is different. Jes's father is a general from good standing, who is able to provide for his family and live like the upper class. There's something holding him back from advancing and that's his family. Although Jes and her sisters live with their parents, they aren't married. As her mom is a commoner. So it makes for a very interesting situation. It makes it difficult for Jes and her sisters to fit in to society. Especially when for the most part they're hidden away. That leads Jes to train for The Fives in what she thinks is secret. After her first competition, where she meets what is to become an unlikely alley, disaster befalls the family. Jes's father is forced to give up his family. Shocked and let down by him, Jes has no idea what will happen to her mother and sisters well Jes is taken to the court training camp. Jes finds herself falling for a prince(Kal), keeping her head in the game and thinking of a way to rescue her mother and sisters. There was unfortunately quite a bit about Court of Fives that just turned out to not be my cup of tea. Being a historical fantasy where the world centers a lot around class and privilege the language of the book reflects that and that's not really my thing. I'm not a classics reader; nor have I been able to get through a Jane Austin novel. Court of Fives seems perfect for those readers and fans. It adds a bit of action and more intrigue with a fantastical world as the setting to a book that reads like a classic. I really didn't find the world and the history of the world to be flushed out. I was confused that I was missing something for half the book. Than all the sudden the history of the world, the court politics were introduced in more of the info dumping kind of way. It was like Jes realized she didn't know anything about her kingdom so a few characters pop up just to spew a bunch of names and different kingdoms to her and it was a whole bunch of confusing. The gist I got was that it was a whole bunch of extended family fighting each other. I guess that makes sense to this fantastical world but it was to much all at once. Especially with the long names that all look the same. I know the finished book will have a map, which will help some, but a royal family tree would make a huge difference as well. Even with the switching between full names and nicknames for her sisters throwing me off, I just wasn't having any luck keep track of the many characters. What I did really enjoy was The Fives. When Jes is sent to the courts training camp, where she's to train and thus meets other trainees it was fun. And I thought it would become a bigger more important part of the story as it's introduced right at the start of the book as Jes's passion and secret. So now that she's expected to eventually compete at a higher level it should be a more central plot point. But yet the training was rushed over. The bits that were shown were not only fun, but showed how strong of a competitor Jes was. And there was a great rapport between her friends(and frenemies) at the camp. The pacing was really off when it would go from intense yet amusing training sessions and hanging around with the trainees to long, very drawn out planning to save her sisters and mother scenes. Neither was unimportant, just not paced out well. Jes was a good character. I had my reservations with her naivete and lack of knowledge. But she showed she was smart enough to adapt to her surroundings. Jes's love for her sisters and mother was her strongest trait. Jes's need to protect them even when she wasn't with them showed her perseverance in the face of the difficulty that fell upon them. Achieving success through The Fives could provide for them. She's doing what her father failed to do; keep them safe. Kal could have easily been another arrogant prince. Thankfully he wasn't. Which was refreshing. With all his horrible family around him it was clear to him that he would never be like them. Kal was kind, friendly and sweet. Although very very naive. Kal's thinking that all he wants to do is compete in The Fives is far from realistic considering who he really is. Obviously he didn't want to face what his future holds. I foresee the sequel seeing some really good character growth for Kal. As much as I enjoyed him in Court of Fives, where his character can go intrigues me. Jes's and Kal's relationship was a bit quick. Thankfully there was no declaration of love. It was more instant attraction and trust that brought them together. And from there they were able to work together in a solid way. Their relationship wasn't so much forbidden as unrealistic seeing as Jes was a commoner. And I liked that the romance was not the main focus of the book. The ending was well done and what will make me read the sequel. Obviously with my mixed feelings that might be somewhat surprising. But I eventually got use to the language, and I can force myself to overlook my confusion over the court names and family connections because Jes ended on a strong note. She didn't give up herself or her family for what I would have deemed a stupid decision. So that was a good surprise and I was unsure she would be strong enough to realize the right way to go in to pretty tough situation. I have hopes that I'll enjoy the sequel a lot more if Jes can keep on the right path. I guess it goes to show that a mediocre book can turn it all around with a strong ending and leave me wanting more.
Date published: 2015-08-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Suspenseful YA Fantasy Debut In Kate Elliott's YA debut novel Court of Fives, we're introduced to a fantasy world rigidly divided by class and privilege. The Patrons, descendants of the old empire of Saro, consider themselves vastly superior to the Commoners, the native people of Efea who are viewed as nothing more than lowly servants. Born of mixed race, Jessamy and her three sisters hold a precarious standing in society. It is illegal for Patrons and Commoners to marry, yet their lowborn Patron father defied convention and remained devoted to their beautiful Commoner mother. No one speaks of what the future will hold for Jessamy and her sister—everyone knows their prospects are slim. Their father may be a respected Captain in the army, his victories in battle well-renowned, but his career can never advance without an advantageous marriage to a Patron woman nor male heirs. Jes, her sisters, and her mother can only devote themselves to the ways of the Patrons, very aware they can't afford to make any mistakes when their family is already looked down upon. For Jessamy, her looks more closely resemble her mother, making it even more difficult for her to mingle in Patron society. Although she and her sisters have grown up sheltered within the protective walls of their modest home, Jessamy has never been able to avoid the hurtful insults about her Commoner background. More often than not, she's mistaken as a servant. Not accepted as a Patron, but not really a Commoner either, Jes doesn't fit in anywhere. The only place Jessamy feels a sense of belonging is running the Fives, an athletic competition that tests competitors both physically and mentally. Unlike her sisters, Jessamy is tired of the monotomy of her life, of always having to act beyond reproach because she's of mixed race. She is determined to compete and prove her skill, but if she ever won a competition, it wouldn't bring honour and glory to her name, it would only shame her father. When Jessamy dares to finally chase her dreams, the powerful and wealthy Lord Gargaron rips her family apart to further his own ambitions. A complex game of thrones is being played among the Patron nobility and Jes has unwillingly become a pawn in their constant quest for power. If Jessamy ever hopes to be reunited with her sisters again, she'll have to gather her courage and outsmart her enemies. The odds are against her, but giving up isn't an option. Kate Elliott's Court of Fives will definitely appeal to fans of Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen and Kristin Cashore's Graceling Realm series! Betrayal. Schemes for power. Deadly competitions. Fighting racial and gender oppression. What's not to love about Court of Fives? When you're not wishing Lord Gargaron a slow, excruciating death, you'll be cheering for Jessamy to succeed each step of the way. Faced with so many impossible choices, Jes is bound to make mistakes, but it's when she picks herself up and carries on that you can't help admiring her strength. I'm already eager to find out what happens next in the sequel!
Date published: 2015-08-18

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Editorial Reviews

"This book is amazing. Kate Elliott combines everything I love best in a YA novel. Jes is a killer protagonist, tough and capable, but also lost in her upbringing and faced with impossible choices that test her character and her beliefs.... This book will not fail you."-Gail Carriger, New York Times bestselling author of the Parasol Protectorate series and the Finishing School series