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Coming Soon: Buried Heart by Kate Elliott

July 25, 2017

Title: Buried Heart

Author: Kate Elliott

Series: Court of Fives #3

Genre: Teen Fantasy

Release Date: July 25, 2017

The Overview: In this third book in the epic Court of Fives series, Jessamy is the crux of a revolution forged by the Commoner class hoping to overthrow their longtime Patron overlords. But enemies from foreign lands have attacked the kingdom, and Jes must find a way to unite the Commoners and Patrons to defend their home and all the people she loves. Will her status as a prominent champion athlete be enough to bring together those who have despised one another since long before her birth? Will she be able to keep her family out of the clutches of the evil Lord Gargaron? And will her relationship with Prince Kalliarkos remain strong when they find themselves on opposite sides of a war?  -Goodreads

Nik’s Notes:

Court of Fives and Poisoned Blade were among some of the better YA books I read in 2016, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how this interesting trilogy ends with Buried Heart. I love the main character and her sisters, the cool American Ninja Warrior style competition, and high fantasy-ish feel. I had a couple of plausibility issues with Poisoned Blade, so I have my fingers crossed that the final installment will be a lot better. The storyline has been building a great momentum thus far and I am fully expecting a blowout ending!

Who else is excited for this one? :-)

by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliott

Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliot

Title: Poisoned Blade

Author: Kate Elliott

Series: Court of Fives

Genre: Teen Fantasy

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

The Overview: Jessamy is moving up the ranks of the Fives–the complex athletic contest favored by the lowliest Commoners and the loftiest Patrons in her embattled kingdom. 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 change 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. -Goodreads

The Review:

I’d like to start out by saying I’m a fan of this series and am really excited about Buried Heart, the conclusion to the trilogy coming out in July 2017. That said, I didn’t enjoy Poisoned Blade quite as much as Court of Fives.

What initially drew me to the series was the high-fantasy feel and element of competition. Poisoned Blade had very little focus on the games, which I found a bit disappointing. Rationally, I realize the entire plot can’t revolve around the games and still be a well-rounded story, but I was hoping for at least a little more focus on it. I also had a few plausibility issues. The main character always somehow managed to be at the right place at the right time for important moments. She was included in events and discussions well above her rank to the point where it was a little unbelievable. The movers and shakers even went as far as to tell her their grand schemes (usually treasonous and punishable by death) when I couldn’t see any logical reason for them to include her in their circle of trust. At least not to the degree that she was, anyway. I found most instances totally implausible, and it knocked my rating down a few notches.

There were still plenty of things I liked. I appreciated even more so in Poisoned Blade how well-developed and individualized all the characters were, especially Jessamy and her sisters. They really make the story complete and I can’t wait to see where their choices take them next. And, actually, I can’t wait to see where everything goes next. There are a lot of moving parts to this series, and I can tell it’s building towards something profound. Judging by how well Elliott ended each book, I’m predicting the trilogy-ender will be just as good. I still have lots of questions that need answers though.

Overall, as I mentioned in my review of Court of Fives, my new favorite trend is high fantasy authors tackling YA stories. Elliott is doing such a great job with the Court of Fives series that I plan on picking up other works by her sooner rather than later.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: Court of Fives by Kate Elliott

Court of Fives by Kate Elliott

Title: Court of Fives

Author: Kate Elliott

Series: Court of Fives

Genre: Teen Fantasy

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Overview: 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. -Goodreads

The Review:

My new favorite trend is high fantasy authors tackling YA. Mercedes Lackey dazzled me with her Hunter series, and now Kate Elliott has done the same with Court of Fives. High fantasy usually requires more expansive world building, back history, and longevity. These authors are so proficient at tackling these elements on a large scale that their YAs seems so much more robust than competitive titles. On the flipside though, YAs tends to require faster pacing and a more prominent love story – something which Elliott tackled expertly in Court of Fives.

All the basic elements were there to make Court of Fives an awesome fantasy, and on top of that it also had my favorite story component: competition! I’ve read at least half a dozen novels that gave promise of a competition only to completely glaze over it. Finally in Court of Fives, the promise of a competition was delivered on! It was like reading about American Ninja Warrior for teens – oodles of fun and easily my favorite part of the story.

Court of Fives was one of those books that seemed to get better with each chapter… at least until the halfway point. Then it took a direction I wasn’t totally on board with (but was still interesting). And actually, I was a good way into the main conflict of the story before realizing the author was going to stick with that trajectory for the remainder of the book. I still devoured it, but kept itching to get back to the competition stuff.

The book also had an interesting love story. In a market famous for Insta loves, Court of Fives offered a relationship that felt incredibly organic and natural. My only objection is that I think Elliott could have extended the romantic tension a bit longer. Other relationships in the novel were equally strong and compelling, mostly because the characters were so well developed.

Overall, Court of Fives was one of the better Young Adult books I’ve read to date. Not to mention the ending was so powerful and evoking that now I’m scrambling to get a hold of the next one.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes