cover image Court of Fives

Court of Fives

Kate Elliott. Little, Brown, $18 (448p) ISBN 978-0-316-36419-5

Launching a YA trilogy, adult author Elliott (the Spiritwalker series) takes readers on an imaginative journey into Efea, a socially divided world of “Commoners” and “Patrons.” Jessamy, the daughter of a high-ranking Patron army captain and a Commoner mother, wants to compete in the Fives—a challenging, obstacle-like game requiring cunning and athleticism—but her father forbids it. When the lord sponsoring Jessamy’s father dies unexpectedly, tearing apart her family, she gains the opportunity to train at one of the most prestigious arenas in the kingdom, alongside a lord whose sudden attention sets her heart racing. Elliott creates an intricate and intriguing story, conjuring a world of mysticism and centuries-old customs. Jessamy’s boldness and impulsiveness make her a striking heroine in a male-dominated land. While Efea’s complicated backstory can occasionally bog down the narrative, Jessamy’s daring escapades, her budding romance with Lord Kalliarkos, and the descriptions of her Fives trials keep things exciting. Jessamy’s challenges are only just beginning, and readers will be eager to know how she fares in future books. Ages 12–up. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency. (Aug.)