Court of Fives

Court of Fives

4.4 8
by Kate 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 bestselling 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

Overview

A New York Times bestseller!


In this imaginative escape into enthralling new lands, World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott's first bestselling 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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
05/25/2015
Launching a YA trilogy, adult author Elliott (the Spiritwalker series) takes readers on an imaginative journey into Efea, a socially divided world of “Commoners” and “Patrons.” Jessamy, the daughter of a high-ranking Patron army captain and a Commoner mother, wants to compete in the Fives—a challenging, obstacle-like game requiring cunning and athleticism—but her father forbids it. When the lord sponsoring Jessamy’s father dies unexpectedly, tearing apart her family, she gains the opportunity to train at one of the most prestigious arenas in the kingdom, alongside a lord whose sudden attention sets her heart racing. Elliot creates an intricate and intriguing story, conjuring a world of mysticism and centuries-old customs. Jessamy’s boldness and impulsiveness make her a striking heroine in a male-dominated land. While Efea’s complicated backstory can occasionally bog down the narrative, Jessamy’s daring escapades, her budding romance with Lord Kalliarkos, and the descriptions of her Fives trials keep things exciting. Jessamy’s challenges are only just beginning, and readers will be eager to know how she fares in future books. Ages 12–up. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
A New York Times Bestseller
A NPR Best Book of 2015A Junior Library Guild Selection

* "Jes will remind readers of fearless Katniss with her skill and strategy for games. But it's the fascinating descriptions of traditions, royal interactions, and, of course, the intensities of the Fives that will enthrall readers most of all. Let the games continue!"—Booklist, starred review"

A gripping, original plot; vivid, complicated characters; and layered, convincingly detailed worldbuilding. A compelling look at racial and social identity wrapped in a page-turning adventure."—Kirkus Reviews"

An imaginative journey.... Elliott creates an intricate and intriguing story, conjuring a world of mysticism and centuries-old customs.
Jessamy's boldness and impulsiveness make her a striking heroine in a male-dominated land."—Publishers Weekly"

Sure to garner a following of adventure and suspense fans. While highly entertaining and fresh, the novel also speaks to issues of gender, class strife, and identity. Jessamy is an exciting protagonist: strong, quick witted, and smart.... This book is a winner, and readers will be clamoring for the next installment."—VOYA"

A high fantasy novel that explores race, class, and gender struggles in a patriarchal society.... Jessamy is loyal and strong female protagonist who fights against injustice. This trilogy opener will be a hit with readers who love action-packed fantasy adventures."—School Library Journal"

Full of high-stakes adventure but also heartfelt musings on identity, family and colonization, this book presents a fantasy world that is refreshingly inspired by Greco-Roman and Egyptian cultures."—NPR"

Haunting. Epic. Impassioned. Layered. Breathtaking. This isn't just a novel; it is a coup d'état of the soul. Prepare to be ravished by Kate Elliott's Court of Fives."—Ann Aguirre, New York Times bestselling author of the Razorland trilogy"

Kate Elliott's magic and mastery is better than ever. Court of Fives enchanted me from start to finish, with characters and worlds that lingered long after I turned the final page."—Marie Lu, New York Times bestselling author of the Legend series and the Young Elites series"

Fast-paced, tense, and riveting. I couldn't put it down, and you won't be able to either!"—Tamora Pierce, author of the Tortall series and the Circle of Magic series"

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

VOYA, August 2015 (Vol. 38, No. 3) - Courtney Huse Wika
Jessamy has a secret: she has been sneaking out of her home to run the Fives, a competition that promises success and fame for the best athletes. Though Jessamy is the best, she can never allow herself to win. To do so would mean unmasking herself to the kingdom and threatening the safety of her family, for she is the daughter of a well-respected Patron military man and a Commoner. Her father is rarely allowed to acknowledge his family in public and is legally banned from marrying her mother. To reveal the situation would be a betrayal of her father’s trust and would destroy what little social standing they have in the kingdom. Corrupt forces are afoot in the kingdom, however, and when Jessamy’s family is torn apart and unthinkable punishment is doled out, she will have to rely on her strength and skill—as well as her budding relationship with a fellow adversary, Prince Kalliarkos—to save them all. Court Of Fives is sure to garner a following of adventure and suspense fans. While highly entertaining and fresh, the novel also speaks to issues of gender, class strife, and identity. Jessamy is an exciting protagonist: strong, quick witted, and smart, she does not lose her independence or focus when presented with a love interest. The ending is especially compelling—she is presented with two choices, but she surprisingly does not choose the path with her prince. This book is a winner, and readers will be clamoring for the next installment. Reviewer: Courtney Huse Wika; Ages 11 to 18.
School Library Journal
05/01/2015
Gr 7–10—Set in an ancient civilization reminiscent of the Egyptians and the Mayans, this is a high fantasy novel that explores race, class, and gender struggles in a patriarchal society. Jessamy is the daughter of a Patron general and a Commoner mother. Even though her parents' union is illegal, Jessamy is brought up with the wealth and privilege of the Patron class. However, that privilege comes at the price of her own independence. The heroine cannot publicly compete in the Fives, a prestigious athletic competition, so she trains in secret. Then her father comes home unexpectedly from battle and the family is given the honor of attending a Fives game. Jessamy competes, but even masked, her identity is revealed. Her family quickly comes under the scrutiny of the deceptive Lord Gargaron who breaks apart the teen's family, even arranging a new marriage for her father. The protagonist is then sent to a Fives training camp while her pregnant mother and sisters are imprisoned. Jessamy seeks help from Lord Gargaron's nephew, a kind nobleman of Patron birth and a Fives competitor. Together, they risk their lives to save Jessamy's family. Elliott has created a world of warring kingdoms where the victors have built their civilization on the backs of the conquered. Jessamy is a loyal and strong female protagonist who fights against injustice. VERDICT This trilogy opener will be a hit with readers who love action-packed fantasy adventures.—Kimberly Garnick Giarratano, Rockaway Township Public Library, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
2015-04-15
After the death of the highly placed aristocrat whose patronage ensured their safety, Jessamy's mixed-race family is targeted by political enemies; spared thanks to her skill at the game of Fives, she must find a way to save them. Jes' father, born into the Patron class, insisted she and her three sisters adhere to strict Patron protocols. Their Commoner mother submitted gracefully but at the price of openly affirming her Efean heritage. Jes finds an outlet from suffocating social strictures by secretly training for the Fives, a complex, mysterious competition popular with both castes. No one is fooled when, in order to avoid unmasking, she lets a competitor, Lord Kalliarkos, win. Separated from her family to live and train at the stables of his uncle, Lord Gargaron, Jes quickly bonds with Kalliarkos. When she learns the fate of her mother and sisters, she enlists his help in rescuing them. During this grueling ordeal, Jes begins to realize the power Efean heritage holds and to sense that it's somehow interwoven with the game of Fives. Far more than a game, its meaning remains unclear, its history lost or forgotten. This series opener, the auspicious teen debut of a seasoned author of adult fantasy and World Fantasy Award finalist, features a gripping, original plot; vivid, complicated characters; and layered, convincingly detailed worldbuilding. A compelling look at racial and social identity wrapped in a page-turning adventure. (Fantasy. 12-18)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316364300
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
07/12/2016
Series:
Court of Fives Series , #1
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
118,168
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
12 - 18 Years

Meet the Author

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) was a World Fantasy Award finalist. Kate was born in Iowa, raised in Oregon, and now lives in Hawaii. She invites you to visit her website at kateelliott.com or follow her on Twitter @KateElliottSFF.

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Court of Fives 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very neatly well-written book. Weaving together the story of a girl battling to do what she wants in a society that restricts her with romance, mystery, and adventure that comes with competition, Court of Fives is a book that will thrill any reader.
Anonymous 5 months ago
I enjoyed it so much that I read it in 24 hours.
dibbylodd More than 1 year ago
I look forward to the rest of this series. This is a great read. Action. Intrigue. Romance. Skulduggery. Evil politics. Great sadness. Huge victories. Equally huge losses. Mysterious history. It has a flavor that reminds me of Alison Goodman's Eon and Eona books, and this is a high complement because I think those are excellent books. Powerful world building that pulls you right in. Strong characters you want to have things go right for. Perilous events. This is my kind of fantasy/fiction.
EverAfterEsther More than 1 year ago
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.
Madison-s_Library More than 1 year ago
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.
Weezled More than 1 year ago
Review originally posted on weezled.wordpress.com. How was the plot? I think this book suffers from being the first in a series as well as the author’s YA debut. Elliott started out telling the story of a girl stuck between two worlds. Jessamy, the daughter of a Patron war hero and his Efean paramour, struggles with issues of race, sex and class as she tries to find her place. That story could have been compelling. Unfortunately, the author included too much and the story lost its direction. Between the addition of political intrigue and an awkward romance, I found myself overwhelmed. I felt pulled in several directions, all while trying to get a grasp on a complex world that went largely unexplained until the end of the book. And the characters? Jessamy is a character you want to root for. She’s a strong-willed female fighter. Who doesn’t love that? Alas, she is surrounded by a supporting cast of extremely underdeveloped personalities, which led to her appearing selfish. I am not sure if this was intentional or simply a side effect of being enveloped by immature characters, but the “revelations” she had about her siblings near the end of the book made it impossible to ignore. I hope to see her grow into someone who is less self-involved in the sequel. As for the auxiliary characters, there is only one place to move, and that is up. What about the ending? The plot tug-of-war only got worse near the end of the book. Jessamy is already dealing with family issues, a diabolical General with fuzzy motives, a budding love affair, and an inappropriate desire to compete in public sporting events. Now we toss in odd mystical occurrences, dodgy conversations about religion, and the possibility of her new lover inheriting not one but two thrones. It is just too much. There was so much potential in this book. I think if the author hadn’t tried to establish so much, so fast it might have been an entertaining read. As it stands I spent most of my time trying to puzzle everything out. With the world established (sort of), my hope is that the second book will not suffer from the same pitfalls as the first. Recommended for: Readers who enjoyed The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski.
CJListro More than 1 year ago
Read more: http://www.sarcasmandlemons.com/2015/08/arc-review-court-of-fives-by-kate.html in short I thought I'd never find an equal to The Winner's Curse. I was wrong. Court of Fives is a gripping start to a remarkable fantasy saga. It follows Jes, the illegitimate, dark-skinned daughter of a Patron general and a Commoner woman. Her sisters worry that they will never be allowed to marry a high-born man because of their blood. Jes only wants to run the Fives, a competition of athletics and strategy that can exalt even a low-caste girl. Everything changes when the family's patron dies. Jes' father marries a Patron woman to save his position, leaving Jes and her family destitute. But her father's new patron has seen her skill in the Fives, and wants to use it to glorify his family. In the process, Jes befriends and falls for a highborn boy. Their romance is dangerous, but Jes' plan to save her family from the lord's wicked whims is deadly. It's a beautifully written, intricately crafted tale of intrigue, romance, and family, a tale that examines the ugly truths of an unequal society. It keeps you breathless until the final mindblowing page.
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Court of Fives by Kate Elliott Book One of the Court of Fives series Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Publication Date: August 18, 2015 Rating: 4 stars Source: ARC sent by the publisher Summary (from Goodreads): 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. What I Liked: I'm so glad I enjoyed this book! I've seen some so-so reviews, as well as some disappointment and unhappiness with this one, but I personally really liked it. To be honest, I knew next to nothing about it, other than it's fantasy. But it worked out for me! In this world of hierarchy, class, wars, and entitlement, Jess is the daughter of a Patron and a Commoner. Her father is a low-born Patron, elevated to the rank of Captain - no easy feat. Her mother is a beautiful Commoner. Commoners and Patrons do not mix, or marry. Her father cannot marry her mother, and yet, for twenty years, he has been faithful to her, and vice versa. Jess and her three sisters do not go into society, because their father forbids it. Amaya, the youngest sister, looks the most like a Patron type, and has the best chance at getting a good marriage and future. Jes just wants to run the Fives, a competition that has great rewards. The day comes when Jes's training and patience pays off - she runs the Fives. But shortly after, her father's supporter dies suddenly, and her father is forced to marry a highborn lady, abandoning Jes, her sisters, and her pregnant mother. Jes is taken by a Lord Gargaron to run the Fives, alongside the boy she beat, Lord Kalliarkos. But Jes will stop at nothing to make sure that her family alive and well, no matter the costs. The thing that struck me the most about this book is the world-building. Despite the sexism and regression of women's rights, I really enjoyed the world-building. I can see some people getting bent out of shape about how patriarchal this society is, but think Ancient Greece or something. The world-building is very well-constructed and well-written. While it is sometimes unsettling to read, the world-building is unique and intriguing. There is an Ancient Greece feel to this novel, with oracles and priests and wars and curses, etc. Jes is a strong and capable character, willful yet understanding, selfless towards her family. She is the second of four (and her mother is pregnant, so more on the way), and she is the most physically strong. Amaya, the youngest, is the most like their father in physical appearance, and has the best chance of making a match. Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)