Monday, August 17, 2015

ARC Review: Court of Fives by Kate Elliott

Title: Court of Fives
Series: Court of Fives #1
Author: Kate Elliott
Published: August 18, 2015 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Hachette) 
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: 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.

**** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ****

When I finished this book I was at a loss for words. For like the first time in my life. Kidding, but in all seriousness me being speechless is pretty rare. I an opinionated person. I mean I have this blog so that I can express my opinions. But one thing I know for sure is that this book was fantastic!

My favorite thing about Court of Fives was the characters. When I had first learned about this book I had seen it compared to Little Women. I was kind of nervous about that comparison, as a big Little Women fan, but it did kind of work. It isn't a total retelling or even reimagining, it just has the same kind of spirit of Little Women. It's about the daughter of a military man with a tight-knit family of sisters and a loving mother. She is caught between what she wants and society wants for her. Jessamy was a fantastic heroine for one thing. She may seem a little cliche with elements from some of our favorite kickass female protagonists but she was still really complex and has some great character development. What I liked most about Jes is that she cared so much about her family. The heart of this story is really the connection between the family. Her sisters were not always very likable at times but you knew they all loved and cared about one another. It was a great dynamic and when Jes did what she did for them I wanted her to succeed.

But what really captivated me about this book is the world that Kate Elliott has created. Kate is a veteran fantasy author and that definitely shows in the world that she has crafted here in Court of Fives. It's not overly complex, which is nice. At the beginning it sort of lulls you into a subtle understanding of not only what is going in the world of the Fives but also the larger society. The Fives is an elite contest that is run by people for celebration and entertainment. It's like gladiators meets American Ninja Warrior. Throughout the book we learn a lot about the Fives and I found it both confusing and fascinating. But what I really liked was the larger society. It's a world ruled by class. The Patrons stifle the Commoners who are essentially treated as slaves. I wasn't entirely clear on this relationship but one thing was clear, our MC being of both classes made things challenging for her. But her unique position allowed for us to explore the world from different angles and see it's strengths as well as it's flaws. It made for an interesting dynamic. But it's also a world at war where cunning and power is valued. It had elements of some ancient civilizations but it was all creative and something all it's own.

The two separate parts of the world both made for really interesting plot development as well. The first half of the book was all about the Fives and the main character's desire to run them. But then as things developed all of that was dwarfed by some way more serious happenings in her life. Everything really built to a thrilling conclusion with tons of action along the way. But what impressed me the most was how well-plotted it was. To be entirely honest there were moments where I didn't think everything would have any connection but they did. It all really came full circle but there is so much more to learn and explore.

Court of Fives was a fast and thrilling read that I absolutely loved despite a few things that left me a little confused. Kate Elliott has created a fascinating world I'm excited to explore more and complex characters that you will love reading about. It's a great read.

I give Court of Fives by Kate Elliott 9 out of 10

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. Fans of dystopia or fantasy that focus a lot on the political intrigue will definitely love this book. It had so many great elements tand will have you on the edge of your seat and turning pages long into the night.

Have you read Court of Fives? What did you think? Thank for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. You had me at "sisters". I added this book to my TBR list. I think I'll wait for the second book to be out though. I've started two series recently that only have one book out. I hate waiting!

    1. I hope you like it Kate, The family dynamic is fantastic. I hate waiting too. I usually try binging series but since I started blogging I also want to read the books when they first come out. It's a fine balance.

  2. Ahhh! So glad you loved it! Awesome review! I never heard about the Little Women comparison, but it TOTALLY makes sense now that I think about it. I wonder how those relationships are going to play out in the second book...

    1. YAY! Thanks Christina. I heard the Little Women comparison only briefly but I think it works. I usually hate those comparisons but it doesn't feel like it copied it's just influenced by it.

  3. I've seen this one around a lot lately, but I really hadn't even stopped to read the synopsis! I had no idea what it was about before your review and now you've basically sold me on it! I am NOT a fan of Little Women (I just never read it) so I don't know much about that aspect of it, but overall this sounds right up my alley! I love great characters and great world building. Those are really deal breakers for me, so it's great to hear this book has those things going for it! I'm adding it to my TBR! Great review! :D

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

    1. You're not a fan of Little Women? *drops jaw* Is this revenge for not being Team Phantom! I hope you like it Tracy. It does have great world building and characters.

  4. Great review! I totally agree. Kate does such a great job of painting a cool fantasy world without info dumping or resorting solely to cliches. I didn't realize she wasn't a deb. Is her other stuff adult?

    Sarcasm & Lemons

    1. It's not officially a debut, her other stuff is adult. I've heard good things about her Spiritwalker series. But I definitely want to read them as well not. Especially because of the world-building.