Court of Fives
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In this imaginative escape into enthralling new lands, 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.
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 whoever 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 contenders. Then Jes meets Kalliarkos, and an unlikely friendship between 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.
Without meaning to, I touch fingers to my lips. The cook chuckles as she trundles past, her assistants trailing like cowed goslings. Mis, Gira, and Shorty are standing at the entrance to the baths, mouths agape. Talon waits apart from them. Even she has eyebrows raised in that princely style she affects without its seeming an act. Abruptly I wonder if she is related to him. “A good wakening to you, Spider,” calls Tana from the shelter, with a false cheer that warns me she isn’t pleased,
the corners of her eyes. By the fixed intensity of her gaze I can tell she is furious. I stare at her, wordlessly promising that we will endure this. Words cannot humiliate us unless we let them. We have seen our mother accept much worse and smile graciously. “Daughters?” Lord Gargaron professes innocence as he glances at Amaya. “Have you more than one? An expense that surprises me, given your humble origins. I believe you are a baker’s son, are you not? Come to Efea to make your fortune?” “I
the foot in public.” I admire Maraya for the way she reminds him of her deformity to make him uncomfortable enough to actually listen to her. She never shows the least sign of resentment. “No suitable man can offer to marry me. A position as an Archivist at the Royal Archives would be both respectable and secure.” “True enough. You have studied diligently, Maraya. I will think about it.” With that, she wins the first round. He moves a step on to kiss me, his lips dry against my forehead.
into the slack rope. The bridges and traps are so simple that I am a little irked when I cross the resting platform and charge for Pillars. In a training maze, hanging canvas walls can be easily moved into new configurations. When I was sitting up on the terrace in the morning I charted this Pillars course and memorized its turns. Did the trainers change it while we napped? Given the number of footprints smearing and smudging the sprinkling of sand I decide that if they haven’t even raked it
“There’s not so few children born to Patron men and Commoner women,” I object. “Nor should it be shameful. That’s why I don’t like that word.” “Heh. I don’t like it either. Is your mother here in Saryenia?” “Yes. She raised us.” I glance at my hands but unlike Kalliarkos he doesn’t notice anything odd in my expression. “Good fortune for you! In my village not only was I the only one, but my mother and grandmother are both dead. I’d no mother’s shield to protect me. I had only my uncle and he’s