The Fives Court is treacherous.
The world outside is far worse.
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.
This picks up moments after the first book ends, and usually I don’t like that, but this did a good job to create enough of a division between the action of the end of the first book and when action again picks up here. There are also good recaps for the major points dispersed throughout, which I appreciated since usually we get a big info dump recap at the start of companion stories.
Carrying on from the first book, it took me a long time to get into the language of this book. I find it difficult to hear the distinct voices of each character until I have again familiarized myself with the unique writing style of Elliott. I still felt the exclamation points were excessive, but I learn to see past them.
This had a much more political feel to it, and I really enjoyed that aspect. Jes finds herself having to negotiate the power struggle between her boss and her family, flesh out who she is loyal to, look beyond the class struggle of her country, and ultimately decide how to forge her own path while still protecting those she cares for.
One of the aspects I enjoy most about this series is the familial relationships in Jes’ family. She and her sisters are all so different, but they all provide strengths in the struggle to keep her family hidden and safe. I especially love watching Jes and her father interact, they are so similar, but because of Jes’ mixed heritage, all of their interactions are always laden with political and social ramifications. Jes and Kals relationship has also matured a lot, with the maturation of Kal specifically. I am however worried about a potential love triangle in future books.