I recently finished Court of Fives by Kate Elliott and figured it was as good as time as any to start writing reviews again. At the moment I don’t have a set plan of whether or not I’ll write a set amount of reviews on a monthly basis, do it for each book I finish or as the mood strikes me. So until I figure that out, I don’t really know when or what my next review will be.
I’ll still be posting TBR Pile posts, Book Haul posts and other book related things (as well as my other content) but just how frequently I’ll do reviews remains to be seen.
Still, here’s the first one of 2017 and the first one written for this blog!
I should note that I’ve also posted this review on GoodReads here.
Court of Fives was my first venture into reading anything by Kate Elliott, an author I’ve been meaning to get to for quite some time. It’s been on my list of things to read and I finally got around to reading it.
In an effort to help myself out, I’ll split this up by listing the good and the bad parts of the book and then offer up my final thoughts at the end.
So, what did I think?
- I love the world this is set it, although I will say I wish the author would have taken some time to explain/show us how a few things work, because at times it does get rather confusing and I do feel like I missed a pamphlet or something with vital information.
- I like Jes’ sisters, in fact, I frequently find myself liking them more than her and they do seem a little more fleshed out with motivations and inner lives. Jes does get some of that eventually, but she starts out with a pretty bad case of tunnel vision.
- I quite like some of the other side characters that are introduced later and the culture that comes with them. I do sort of wish we had someone else as our protagonist (*cough* Maraya *cough*) who’d appreciate and actually listen to what they have to say.
- Jes. I do like her, in a kind of love/hate or like/dislike kind of way. If she’s meant to be a flawed character with a case of tunnel vision (who must enter the Fives at any cost but I really want to know why, with somewhat of a bad temper, a stubborn streak that makes her tune out anything that doesn’t go with her version of the world and who tends to put herself first and underestimates those around her because she doesn’t “get” them or consider what they do to be important.
- I wish Elliott would have taken a little more time to explain both why the Fives Games matter, both to Jes, but also to the world she lives in. The game itself is very interesting, but I never felt fully satisfied as to why Jes had to go against everything to compete in them. It just seems like there’s something missing here, although I guess you could say it shows some character flaws in Jes; her desires and wants trumps the safety of others, at least to begin with, her tunnel vision makes her blind to the challenges of others, not to mention dangers, her stubbornness puts her and others in situations that probably wouldn’t have happened if she’d just stopped to think and let go of her own desires. However, while that might sound bad, I do think they could also be considered strengths, I’m just not sure if the author portrayed that part well enough.
- The romance feels a bit flat, and to be honest, I’m pretty sure I’ve read this tale before. I do hope it’ll go in a different direction, but I do feel like I’ve read this before.
- The characters do feel a bit flat, however part of that is Jes’ inability to see anything but potential risks, downsides and annoyances in others. She is our protagonist and one of her greatest flaws – to me – is that she frequently misjudges and has prejudice towards most of the people she meets that don’t adhere to her standards or follow her “rules”.
- Jes frequently seems negative and has a really tough time listening to anyone that’s not Kal (and even then she doesn’t always listen) sometimes missing information that (probably) will be crucial later and that she’ll probably learn from them (I did say I felt like I’d read this before and that’s because it’s pretty formulaic).
Overall I did enjoy the book, even if I didn’t quite feel like I was reading anything that new. I wish we saw more of her sisters and their lives, because I quite liked them, even Bett! I’m hoping that they’ll continue to be a presence, because if I do continue this series, it’ll be for them more so than Jes at this point.
Maybe the next book will show different sides of her, but I sort of feel like I know how it’s going to go based on the formula used in this book. I do hope to be wrong though and to be surprised in the next one, because this felt a little underwhelming and quite formulaic.