24 August 2016

Review #512: Poisoned Blade (Court of Fives, #2) by Kate Elliott

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”

----Mark Twain

Kate Elliott, an award-winning American YA author, pens the next book in her series of Court of Fives called, Poisoned Blade and this time the story gets deathly, complex and extremely mind-blowingly edgy as Jes, the champion of the Fives, is caught between the war of her divided kingdom as well as the strive and the challenge to save her dear mother and her sisters, all the while being under constant supervision of a cruel ruler.


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 chance to tour the countryside and face more competitors, but then a fatal attack on Jes's traveling party puts her 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.

Jessamy has managed to move up the ranks in the highly challenging game of Fives by beating the love of her life, Prince Kal, who is now forced to take up the position of captain in the Army under the guidance of Jes's father, who is a general. That really threw the relationship between Jes and Kal under the bus, moreover, Jes gets to run the Fives under the strict supervision of Lord Gargaron, the ruler of Patrons, by going on tour through the country sides, each time the challenge and the fight being more convoluted.

Jes has managed to save her mother and her sisters from the clutches and the wrath of the devious ruler, Lord Gargaron, who is planning to overthrow the entire existence of Commoners from their kingdom of Efea, so the lord puts Jes on a constant surveillance as he knows that besides Patron's blood, Commoner's blood is also running through Jes's veins. So Jes thrives to become a champion in the Fives, as the money from winning those game will keep her hidden family afloat. But that would also cost her relationship with Kal, who is really angry towards Jes's betrayal, but when the whole kingdom is scheming to betray its people, Jes must pause and decide whose side she is actually fighting for?

Yes once again, the author masterfully captures as well as depicts the fantasy world, through solid logic and justification to convince the readers thoroughly. The author strongly captivates a fractured world divided by ideological and moral political beliefs, the scandals, the plotting and scheming of backstabbing or taking over or fighting for power sensitively, cleverly and strikingly that will make the readers think deeply about a world which is so much dependent on political agenda (meaning today's world!)

The writing style is fantastic with an engaging narrative style. The plot is woven beautifully with lots of actions and drama to keep the readers on their edges, especially when the war is schemed and plotted against one another (Patrons and Commoners). The pacing of the book changes from being steady to being very fast and finally concludes with a major cliffhanger that will give the readers a rough idea about what level of action is going to take place in the next book.

Yet once again, the characters shine like diamonds with their old yet evolved flair. So overall, the characters are all very well developed and are highlighted and layered with their flaws and stronger aspects and are also kept closer to reality. The protagonist, Jessamy, is brave, emotional yet grows a lot as she has to choose between what she wants and what the country wants her to do, yes, this time Jes is on cross roads between her family, the kingdom as well as Kal. Kalliarkos is no more that sweet, charming guy anymore, in fact, he has turned very frigid when it came to emotions and quite cautious with his mind.

This time, the author has given room to some romance almost near the end of the story, that the author has penned with lots of compassion and evocativeness that will deeply move the readers and will also make them root for their unique bond of trust, love and friendship. Jes and Kal are a distinctive pair whose understanding level is really deep, even though they realize their feelings for one another almost half way through the story.

This time the story is much more powerful and complex than the previous book and the author has included so many adrenaline rushing action scenes that will keep the readers glued to the pages of this book and with some jaw-dropping and unpredictable twists that make the story even more intriguing. So this is a must read book if you have already read the first book in the series.

Verdict: Highly absorbing, mind-blowing and riveting YA fantasy book that is a must read for all the YA lovers.

Courtesy: Thanks to the publishers for giving me an opportunity to read and review this book.

Author Info:
As a child in rural Oregon, Kate Elliott made up stories because she longed to escape to a world of lurid adventure fiction. She now writes fantasy, steampunk, and science fiction, often with a romantic edge. It should therefore come as no surprise that she met her future husband in a sword fight.
When he gave up police work to study archaeology, they and their three children fell into an entirely new set of adventures in dusty Mexican ruins and mouthwatering European pastry shops. Eventually her spouse’s work forced them to move to Hawaii, where she took up outrigger canoe paddling.
Also, there is a schnauzer.
Visit her here

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