In this thrilling sequel to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott's captivating young adult debut, a girl immersed in high-stakes competition holds the fate of a kingdom in her hands.
Now a Challenger, Jessamy is moving up the ranks of the Fives--the complex athletic contest favored by the lowliest Commoners and the loftiest Patrons alike. 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 her traveling party puts Jes 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.
POISONED BLADE picks up right after where Court of Fives left off. If you were a fan of the first book, then you will love this one ever more. For those new to the series, the best way I can describe it is ‘American Ninja Warrior meets Little Women, with lots of court intrigue and political unrest.’ And if that doesn’t sell you on the series then I don’t know what will.
I really enjoyed this second installment in the Court of Fives series. It had great, consistent pacing that kept me interested through the last page. I in no way predicted where things were going, which is something I really appreciate when so many books these days feel predictable and too similar.
This book was definitely not perfect, as much as I loved it. Most of the faults I found are really just personal preferences, so I feel like many readers might not even find fault with the same things. I found myself frustrated with the main character on multiple occasions. She would go from adamant and conceited to questioning and insecure in just a few sentences. I also really wanted this book to take a more fantasy-filled turn, as the first one had hints of magic, which felt right for a first installment. Poisoned Blade didn’t delve into the fantasy aspects very much more than Court of Fives, so I’m hoping that maybe book three will finally give us a much larger look into the magic of this world.
Overall, the good in this story outweighed the bad by far. I loved the unpredictability so much. The characters that I had just begun to know in Court of Fives are definitely more fleshed out in Poisoned Blade, making them easier to finally fall in love with. And the story itself has gone in a really intriguing direction, with some really fantastic moments at the very end of the book. I’ll definitely be eagerly awaiting book three and I can’t wait to see where the story goes from here!