Saturday, September 2, 2017

Buried heart by Kate Elliott

Buried heart is the final book in the Court of fives trilogy and this series needs to be read in order for the most enjoyment!  This review contains ***SPOILERS*** if you have not read the first two books in the series so read Court of fives and Poisoned blade before you read anymore of this review (you have been warned).

Jessamy thought she knew what it meant to live in two worlds, but she is starting to realise that she never really knew either world.  Her father is part of the Patron class and has risen to the rank of General, something he always dreamed of but it meant leaving behind his Commoner wife and the daughters they raised together.  Despite everything that has happened Jessamy strives to find a place in Patron society, even if the only way she can do that is to run in the Fives, a game she suspects has its roots in the beliefs of her mothers people - the Commoners that have been suppressed and oppressed by the Patron class for centuries.  The only bright spark in her life is her secret relationship with Prince Kalliarkos - but even that is not a real safe haven in these uncertain times.

When a foreign force threatens the people of Efea no one is safe, Patrons and Commoners alike are in danger from the invading force and the forces fighting for control from within.  With every passing day Jessamy finds her eyes opened by the corruption and greed that drives the Patron class, and with each day she finds herself drawn into the Commoner rebellion that is growing in strength.  A time is coming when Jessamy will need to choose a side, and it will be a difficult and heart wrenching decision to make.  On one hand she has the chance to free her mothers people and save her country from corruption before the new king is corrupted - but that would mean turning against her father and her love.  On the other hand if she sides with her father and the new king then her mothers people will suffer for centuries to come - except for those killed for their part in the uprising.  What path will Jessamy follow - and what will it cost her?

I was surprised by just how much I enjoyed the Court of fives trilogy, partly because so many fantasy series aimed at teenagers seem so focused on being clever and original that they seem to miss the point - that their stories need to be readable, and that their worlds need to be believable.  I loved, loved Jessamy and her world, partly because she was flawed and made bad decisions.  It was also clear that she was having to work through the story, figuring things out for herself rather than having the answers dropped in her lap in a neat package.  It was also somewhat heartening that although Kate Elliott did tone down some of the violence and depravity of war, she didn't entirely shelter her teen audience, and you get a real sense of the loss and the death that is involved in a tricky and twisted story such as this.

There is a strong mythology that underlies this trilogy, and while magic isn't an all powerful force that saves the day, it does lay a solid and believable foundation on which this story is built.  In our not so distant past it was not uncommon for contries to invade each other and take control, burying the indigenous culture under their own.  This is also true of hundreds of years of religious 'conversion' where indigenous cultures were converted from their own belief systems so they could be saved.  I may be wrong, but there is a distinct feeling that the world of Efea has a middle Eastern feel, or maybe from Egypt.  I didn't get a chance to read the novella that goes with the series, but this is a highly recommended series and I hope that Elliott writes more series aimed at teenagers because she created a world and characters that I came to care about and that is a rare thing these days. 

The best part is that I read the series as an adult and found plenty to enjoy so this is one of those unique series that adults and teenagers can enjoy together.

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

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