Are You Ready For The Race - Court Of Fives (ARC Review)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Court Of Fives by Kate Elliot

Title: Court of Fives (Court of Fives #1)
Author: Kate Elliott
Release Date: August 18th, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

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“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.”

My Review

I'll admit it, the premise of Court of Fives wasn't what caught my eye. The cover was. 

All those pretty little markings and details? Lured me in.

So I had no idea what to expect when I started reading the book. 

Court of Fives followed Jessamy, a young girl of mixed heritage who struggled to be the proper daughter her father demanded her to be and the young woman who needed the freedom of the Court of Fives to flourish. 

And when I say mixed race, I mean the powerful conquerors came and subdued the native race. Dalliances were fine, but marriages were illegal and any children produced considered to be worthless and many degraded them by calling them "mules" or worse.

Court of Fives started off very rocky. 

I couldn't figure out if it was the character, the writing, or me, but I just did not get it. It was like watching a fuzzy movie underwater. I just could not submerse myself in this world. 

I almost gave up.

But then I started checking out what friends were rating it and I saw several mention the start was off but it ended really well, so I kept going.

At some point, and I really cannot tell you when, the book changed and all of a sudden I was invested in the story. 

I wanted the characters to succeed with their goals. I wanted the duo to fall in love because I am a hopeless romantic. I wanted all the answers to what this Court of Fives is, all details of the political power plays happening before and behind the screen. Everyone seemed to know tons more than Jessamy and no one was sharing with me. 

Jessamy was one of those characters you love and hate. 

All the girls in her family were highly selfish and self-centered in their own little world of isolation. Jessamy was going to risk everything, her reputation, her sister's, her mother's, and her father's just for a chance to run a race she knows she cannot win. Her father was the only reason she had a comfortable life. So I could sympathize with her need to be free but I couldn't accept her stupid, reckless actions. Especially since she felt this need to protect everyone. 

As time went on, she did grow up some and I loved watching her try and strategize for the games and other trials she faced.

Words To Live By

"Words cannot humiliate us unless we let them."

"Even when you face defeat, he told us, you must not falter."

"My life means nothing if I do nothing."


After a rocky start, Court of Fives quickly became fun and interesting. By the time I reached the last page, I wasn't ready for it to end. 

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