Thursday, 27 August 2015

Court Of Fives

Court Of Fives
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!

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 whomever 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 competitors.

Then Jes meets Kalliarkos, and an improbable friendship between the 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.

The plot of the book is what drew me in, is what made me want to read it so I was excited to receive a copy of the book to review for the publisher. As I started to read I will admit, I was thinking "okay....not too sure I'm going to like this". I'm not sure what it was about that first chapter or the few after but I wasn't really feeling it and I wasn't really feeling Jes and her family's interactions, I think. I really don't know why I found myself thinking I'd made a terrible mistake in wanting to read this. But I'm glad I persevered and finished. It's safe to say that I wasn't sure how this book was going to go, but while I wasn't all that enthused at the beginning, the characters didn't...jump out at me I suppose, and I didn't get in to it right away, it reached a point where I was hooked. 

It took me a good few chapters to warm up to Jes, the same can't be said for her siblings, I didn't start to like one in particular at all, I actually find her very annoying. The others I didn't really feel like I got to know properly in that brief beginning. Either way, in a few chapters I'd warmed up to Jes. Why?  Because I'd started to understand her, what her life is like, why she's doing this and so on, whereas before I was a bit like "whaaaat? What is your problem?". Once I started to get to know her better and understand her, I found myself connecting to her until I was firmly on her side in all matters and rooting for her as she went about her shenanigans shall we say, so as not to spoil! She's brave, she's got some insane brain where she can map out all of this stuff at super speed, she's kind of a badass. Girls got balls, I'll give her that! Gargaron doesn't know what he's gotten himself in to. I'd say "poor sod" but I just watched Order of the Phoenix and was reminded that I must not tell lies. 

Kal I was never quite sure of for most of the book, it's only when Jes started to get to know him that I came to like him and be on his side. The synopsis on the book cover is different to the GoodReads one and says the he tears Jes's family apart so as I was reading and meeting him I was kind of looking at him like how you'd look at a snake. Waiting for it to strike. I wasn't at all sure of him until certain events happened. Then I kind of thought he was a bit of a pansy like not standing up to his Uncle and just doing as he's told, but over the course of the book he really changes and I came to like him more and more as he revealed more of himself and what he's like and if certain things do occur over the next however many books....I mean...there could be worse people to fill the post right? But actually coming to quite like him, and he being one of my favourite characters made the ending of the book so brutal and heartbreaking. I mean....I'm actually worried for him and everything because things probably won't end well. 

There's a supporting cast of characters the majority of which I feel like we didn't get to know enough, I want to know them better! Bettany we saw briefly and I'm hoping for more of her in the future. Amaya is said character I never warmed up to, she annoyed me the majority of the book and then at the end surprised me and now I'm not sure what to make of her, like out of nowhere she stopped whimpering and was like "Yep..I'll go first down this dark hole in to the water....s'all good". She did spark my curiosity though with her love interest. Consider me well thrown off the scent. My romance radar is usually spot on! I got the wrong sister! Maraya is another interesting character because of how she's treated by society and I'm thinking now she can come in to her own and it'll be interesting to see more of her and get to really know her. She was kind of me though, knowing all the historical facts and such. There's a couple of other characters like Thynos and the other adversaries who I'm very intrigued by and can't wait to see more of. 

There's such a large and colourful cast of characters, I mean Gargaron is literally full villain, and he's the best kind even though I hate to admit it. You really do hate him. I already can't wait for him to get his comeuppance. *refrains from quoting The Mummy*. Each character has flaws, that makes them more believable and realistic. Some characters are more developed than others I would say, I mean the other sisters clearly have more going on than they appear, but as yet we don't know much about them other than what Jes knows and it's clear she's a bit of a Jon Snow in that area. The characters that are mainly in this first instalment have plenty of depth and layers to their characters, it's just a case of waiting for the other characters to get their time to shine. 

Having said that, while individually I'm not too sure about Jes's sisters, altogether they where so much fun to read about. In the beginning I was a bit like "Woah okay who are you lot?" but there's a specific sequences of events at the end where you see all of them together, and they're relationship with each other was so well written. Not to mention with their mother, that these scenes where fantastic to read as they all work together and come together to save themselves. They really do stand strong together and have each others backs. I want to see more of their mother to be honest, because in the beginning she didn't come across too well I don't think, with Jes's observation planting thoughts. But as the book goes on you see the dignity she has, the way she can keep going out to these events and being scorned by most but still holding her head high, and helping Jes without her knowing it. Amazing. 

I found the book to be quite emotional, quite frankly. I mean, being on Jes's side and connecting to her, I really came to feel what she felt. There where so many scenes that made me so angry as I was reading that I kind of wanted to throw the book. Then there where the sad, heartbreaking scenes when I was just kind of sitting there, listlessly, like that can't have just happened! Among these emotions, there where happier scenes as well, that made me smile along with the characters, that made me laugh. I am confused with my feelings towards some characters, I was initially fairly angry at a couple but I'm not sure if I feel that same anger now that I've finished the book. Either way you'll feel some feels. 

While I found the book slow to start and a bit difficult to get in to, once the book got going I was hooked and to be fair, it had a fairly snappy pace from the start. I did find myself reading longer than I should at one or two points because of plot twists and the need for answers. There where a fair few plot twists, some I did see coming, but some I did not and was genuinely surprised or dismayed depending on what was happening. There's one final plot twist that I didn't see coming. Like I saw the mini twist before it, but then it was like BHAM have another one and I was like....oh no. NO. This large plot twist has definitely set up some drama and action for the next book. I do not like it one bit! 

There's some romance in the book, in case you hadn't guessed. It starts out quite slow and subtle, then develops in to an actual romance but it's not going to be an easy one by any means. There's so many laws in the world the characters inhabit that it's fairly impossible, but then things can change so we'll see. It was cute though. Like really cute. Although at times I'm kinda like "Jes is going to eat him alive". There's an opportunity for an interesting love triangle I think. Just saying. Let me know if you work out who I'm talking about! *wink wink* 

I enjoyed reading all about the history of the world of the book and the game of Fives and it's rules and how it works and pretty much everything. The book has a very rich history to it, which would normally be a good thing, and it is, and I did enjoy reading about it, it's just that it's so tangled I got so confused multiple times and couldn't remember what was what. I'm thinking that it might be too overcomplicated, but maybe it just needs more explaining. The politics where explained a bit better though and I had a faint understanding of those. I got even more confused when there was a scene explaining who Kal is related to and even the characters summary didn't help! I did wonder once or twice if the authors main focus was all on the Fives and explaining the rules of it and so on. The plot was very nicely done though. It was complex, intricate, there where all these threads coming together and you're trying to work out what this piece of the puzzle has to do with that, as you're getting dropped new pieces all the time. Then at the end you see the bigger picture come together and you're like...of course! There's definitely more to the world of the book and some secrets to it's history, which could be why it seemed so garbled and confused. 

I think my favourite parts where the Fives themselves, and the scenes where Jes as running in them and reading about how her brain works it out, and her interactions with the other adversaries, it was all very well done. There was a tension and suspense in the atmosphere of those scenes that really brought them to life. The one at the end in particular was electric and the final sentence gave me chills! 

All in all, this was an intriguing start to a new series, and despite the few things I had an issue with, I'll definitely be picking up the next book in the series! I do so love a book that I can get lost in and practically taste the atmosphere in! 

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