Court of Fives

448p. (The Fives: Bk. 1). Little, Brown. Aug. 2015. Tr $18. ISBN 9780316364195; ebk. $9.99. ISBN 9780316364249.
Gr 7–10—Set in an ancient civilization reminiscent of the Egyptians and the Mayans, this is a high fantasy novel that explores race, class, and gender struggles in a patriarchal society. Jessamy is the daughter of a Patron general and a Commoner mother. Even though her parents' union is illegal, Jessamy is brought up with the wealth and privilege of the Patron class. However, that privilege comes at the price of her own independence. The heroine cannot publicly compete in the Fives, a prestigious athletic competition, so she trains in secret. Then her father comes home unexpectedly from battle and the family is given the honor of attending a Fives game. Jessamy competes, but even masked, her identity is revealed. Her family quickly comes under the scrutiny of the deceptive Lord Gargaron who breaks apart the teen's family, even arranging a new marriage for her father. The protagonist is then sent to a Fives training camp while her pregnant mother and sisters are imprisoned. Jessamy seeks help from Lord Gargaron's nephew, a kind nobleman of Patron birth and a Fives competitor. Together, they risk their lives to save Jessamy's family. Elliott has created a world of warring kingdoms where the victors have built their civilization on the backs of the conquered. Jessamy is a loyal and strong female protagonist who fights against injustice.
VERDICT This trilogy opener will be a hit with readers who love action-packed fantasy adventures.

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