Jes is trapped in the world - not only because she is subject to the whims of Lord Gargaron, but also becuase she is of two different worlds and not really accepted by either. To the ruling Patron class she is a mule, tainted by her Efean heritage, and to the Efeans she is not to be trusted because of her Patron father. The only place that Jes feels any control over her life is on the Fives court - and even there she has no real control as she runs for the Garon stable for the glory of Lord Gargaron. Her fate seems sealed, as does that of her family, but Jes is not one to yield to mere fate.
A tour of the provinces belonging to Garon Palace is a chance for Jes to try and find the remaining part of her family, but it also exposes her to new challenges and complications. What seemed like a simple plan soon unravels as nothing is what it seems - a fact Jes should be well used to by now. As plans and schemes start falling into place Jes will finally discover what it truly means to be part of both worlds and just how dangerous change can be. In times of war people make desperate decisions, and sometimes those decisions lead to sacrifices. Jes is her fathers daughter, but she is also her mothers daughter and the time is coming when she may have to choose between them and their respective peoples. Change is coming and it may be a humble "mule" that holds the key to the future of Efea.
Poisoned blade is the second book in the Court of fives series and I am well and truly hooked on this series, not only because it is a brilliant read, but also because it fills a gap in the teen fantasy market. Too often fantasy is written for very young teens and is sugar coated, or it is written for older teens and the content can be very explicit or disturbing for younger teens - Elliott has found the perfect balance of providing a detailed and engrossing read without the sex and bloody gore that marks some of the other series (not a criticism of those series as they also have an important role to play in the teen fantasy genre).
The world of Efea was slowly unfurled for us in Court of fives, and with Poisoned blade we get to explore more of the world - both in physical geography and in terms of the people and politics. Jes has continued to grow and develop, the true mark of an epic fantasy series as she is slowly being molded and changed by her experiences. I was so absorbed in the story that at times I was surprised to see how many pages I had read on the go, and when I got to the end I was a little surprised to see there wasn't anymore because I wanted more - Elliott has left a cliff hanger style ending that was satisfying but has me eagerly awaiting the next book in the series to see what comes next!
This is a great series that blends together all the essential elements of an epic fantasy series that can easily be enjoyed by teens and adults alike.
If you like this book then try:
- Court of fives by Kate Elliott
- Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey
- The pledge by Kimberly Derting
- The Jewel by Amy Ewing
- Grave mercy by Robin LaFevers
- The girl of fire and thorns by Rae Carson
- Walk on Earth a stranger by Rae Carson
- Throne of glass by Sarah J. Maas
- Graceling by Kristin Cashore
- Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
- A court of thorns and roses by Sarah J. Maas
- Ink and bone by Rachel Caine
- Arrows of the queen by Mercedes Lackey
- The kiss of deception by Mary E. Pearson
Reviewed by Brilla