Author: Kate Elliott
Series: Court of Fives (Book 2)
Publication: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (August 16, 2016)
Description: In this thrilling sequel to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott's captivating young adult debut, a girl immersed in high-stakes competition holds the fate of a kingdom in her hands.
Now a Challenger, Jessamy is moving up the ranks of the Fives--the complex athletic contest favored by the lowliest Commoners and the loftiest Patrons alike. Pitted against far more formidable adversaries, success is Jes's only option, as her prize money is essential to keeping her hidden family alive. She leaps at the chance to tour the countryside and face more competitors, but then a fatal attack on her traveling party puts Jes at the center of the war that Lord Kalliarkos--the prince she still loves--is fighting against their country's enemies. With a sinister overlord watching her every move and Kal's life on the line, Jes must now become more than a Fives champion.... She must become a warrior.
My Thoughts: In this second book in the Court of Fives series, Jessamy finds herself in a mix of conspiracies. She is hiding her mother, two sisters, and their household servants from Lord Gargaron who thinks that they are dead. She is searching for her third sister. She is still under his control as an athlete who is making a name for herself in the Fives.
Meanwhile, she has been split from her love Lord Kalliarkos by the contrivance of Lord Gargaron who has his own plans for Kal. Kal is off with Jes's father General Esladas who is trying to keep invaders from the country and losing the fight.
The Patron Royals are conspiring one against the other and Jes has no idea which side she should support. Since she is the mixed blood child of a Patron father and an Efean mother, her loyalties have always been split. Being a star in the Fives, makes her a popular figure with the Patrons and Commoners but doesn't really make her accepted by either group.
This whole story, beyond the battles and in-fighting, was all about loyalty. The Efeans are quietly setting up their revolution when the country is invaded at the invitation of one of the Royals who has planned a coup. Lord Gargaron had his own plans for replacing the current king and queen with Lord Kalliarkos and his sister dashed with this other Royal family member got his coup in first. Jes is stuck in the middle.
This was an engaging epic fantasy with a great setting and interesting, well-developed characters.
As our feet crunch on the surface of the road and dust spits into our faces, I feel a peculiar sort of peace. For all that I struggle with who I am and where I belong, my parents did their best to make a space for us girls in the world. They gave me the gift of wanting me, and my sisters, and maybe it is only now that I can recognize how much that means.I received this eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your copy here.