Title: Buried Heart (Court of Fives #3)
Author: Kate Elliott
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2017 (July 25)
Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Science Fiction
**I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
You know I like to always start my reviews by staring at covers…let’s do that now! (And I’ll include a little extra info from the pub):
Title: BURIED HEART (Court of Fives #3)
Author: Kate Elliott
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
“The explosive finale to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott’s captivating, New York Times bestselling young adult series
In this third book in the epic Court of Fives series, Jessamy is the crux of a revolution forged by the Commoner class hoping to overthrow their longtime Patron overlords. But enemies from foreign lands have attacked the kingdom, and Jes must find a way to unite the Commoners and Patrons to defend their home and all the people she loves. Will her status as a prominent champion athlete be enough to bring together those who have despised one another since long before her birth? Will she be able to keep her family out of the clutches of the evil Lord Gargaron? And will her relationship with Prince Kalliarkos remain strong when they find themselves on opposite sides of a war? Find all the answers in this beautifully written and exciting conclusion to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott’s debut New York Times bestselling young adult trilogy!”
I love big cover images. So beautiful. I took a picture of me holding the book and put it on my Bookstagram yesterday because though I’ve read the other two, this is the first one I actually own. And it’s gorgeous. When I met Kate at my first book signing, they actually ran out of her books, plus I had no money to spend, so I couldn’t get her to sign a copy of her second in the series, Poisoned Blade. Hopefully, she’ll come back to Michigan and I can have her sign this one, because this one is my favorite of all!
Now, Buried Heart is the final book in the Court of Fives series, and just like it has been for me and series/sequels, I will not spoil as much as I possible can, and instead will give some info about each book so that you can see how it builds to Buried Heart.
On the Fives court, everyone is equal.
And everyone is dangerous.
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.
In this imaginative escape into an enthralling new world, World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott’s first young adult novel weaves an epic story of a girl struggling to do what she loves in a society suffocated by rules of class and privilege.
Honestly, I didn’t love the first book. Jessamy is a disobedient daughter who puts her whole family at risk to run the Fives, a competition of skill and strength. When everything falls apart, she has the option to still train and become an adversary, a Fives competitor. It left a bad taste in my mouth that she would risk so much and still get rewarded by being able to compete. The story world was brilliant, I will admit, and it never left my mind, When I finished Court of Fives, I figured it was a book I wanted to continue, but I wasn’t in a hurry to follow it up.
Then my library got Poisoned Blade. Wow, I’m glad I picked that book up.
Jessamy is moving up the ranks of the Fives—the complex athletic contest favored by the lowliest Commoners and the loftiest Patrons in her embattled kingdom. 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 Jes’s traveling party puts her 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.
Now THIS book changed it all for me.
Jessamy becomes more of a sympathetic character as she tries to help her family and puts them first. She competes and becomes better in the Fives, but you also see the class conflict as it focuses on Jessamy’s mixed heritage. Born from a Patron man and Efean woman, where Efeans are a servant class, Jessamy is called a “mule,” a mixed-breed slang. The difference in the colonized versus the colonizers becomes very important, and the new focus made me root for Jess and her love for Kal, a noble Patron boy she isn’t allowed to love. Poisoned Blade got four stars from me, and I thought that was where the series would stay.
Once again, I was wrong. Elliott outdid herself again with Buried Heart.
Jessamy is actively fighting to put Kal on the throne, thinking he would be the best choice after the slaughter of the previous prince. As she reconnects with her father, the general fighting a war for Efea, Jessamy starts to wonder if she’s on the right side. As a part Patron-Efean girl, she is torn, as she does not feel even close to at home with the highborn Patrons that mock her…but she also doesn’t feel completely Efean. Though she can speak both languages, her heart tears in two, warring and trying to figure out who she should back: Kal, the man she loves but will keep the Efeans slaves, or Ro, the poet activist that tries to rally the Efean people to take back their land?
Ohhh, this book is good. The series as a whole paints a brilliant picture, and I was glued to every page. Literally glued. (Well, not literally….that would be uncomfortable and make it very hard to read)
Is It Classroom-Appropriate?
Yes, but unfortunately it’s a third book and therefore would make little sense. What I would do would be bring Court of Fives into the classroom and focus on the underlying class struggles to tease them out. Discussion guides are readily available for Poisoned Blade so a tie in could happen. This series is great because it does focus so strongly on heritage and belonging. I would want to use it, but it would be impossible to use Buried Heart alone.
So in terms of simple rating, I would give Buried Heart ★★★☆☆ for classroom use, but I would give the series ★★★★☆ as a whole.
Buried Heart has yet to be added to Lexile, so I’m going to stick with the recommendations for both books one and two. Though this book does get a little racier between Jessamy and Kal, I’m going to still go with the Lexile score of 940L for Poisoned Blade, but I’m going with the higher age range from Court of Fives. (Poisoned Blade recommends 11-13, making it aimed more for a MG audience, but Court of Fives recommends for 14-17, making it more of a YA read). So I’m going with 14 and up, though if you followed the younger age recommendation and let your MG reader read this series, there’s really no reason to have them stop just because there’s a hint of a suggestive scene or two. It would be unfair to the reader to cut them off from the last book.
I give Buried Heart ★★★★★! The series ends strong, so I can now recommend the entire series and just suggest that readers be patient with the first book: it builds to something quite grand. I don’t want to give more spoilers away….which is so hard when reviewing series books, so I’m going to keep it at that. If you use this series for educational purposes, remember that there are discussion guides for books one and two, so I’m sure this book will release some as well. Elliott really worked up a fantastic series I’m stages and it got better and better as time went on.
So here it is…Buried Heart gets…
Now…it’s time for a GIVEAWAY!! Yay!!
3 winners will receive a finished copy of BURIED HEART, US Only.
Want to enter? Of course you do!
Here’s the link to go enter for a chance ——-> Hardcover of Buried Heart – Rafflecopter Giveaway
And don’t forget to visit the other blog stops on the tour!
7/17/2017- YA Books Central – Interview
7/18/2017- The Eater of Books! – Review
7/19/2017- Novel Novice – Guest Post
7/20/2017- Just Commonly – Review
7/21/2017- Two Chicks on Books – Interview
7/24/2017- My Thoughts Literally – Review
7/25/2017- Sarcasm & Lemons – Review
7/26/2017- TeacherofYA’s Book Blog – Review
7/27/2017- PaperTrailYA – Excerpt
7/28/2017- Seeing Double In Neverland – Review
And here’s a bit about Kate, The amazing author of the series!
Kate Elliott has been writing stories since she was nine years old, which has led her to believe that writing, like breathing, keeps her alive. As a child in rural Oregon, she made up stories because she longed to escape to a world of lurid adventure fiction. She now writes fantasy, steampunk, science fiction, and YA, including recent works Black Wolves, Court of Fives, and Cold Magic.
It should come as no surprise that she met her future husband in a sword fight. When he gave up police work to study archaeology, they and their three children fell into an entirely new set of adventures amid dusty Mexican ruins and mouthwatering European pastry shops. Eventually her spouse’s work forced them to move to Hawaii, where she took up outrigger canoe paddling. With the three children out of the house, they now spoil the schnauzer.
And don’t forget the two Novellas set in the CoF world!