Goodreads: Poisoned Blade
Series: Court of Fives #2
Published: August 16, 2016
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.
Poison Blade picks up right where Court of Fives left off, a somewhat rare event in YA series these days. Because there was no time lapse between the books, I was able to get immersed in the story immediately and quickly recall the major events from the first installment. Jessamy’s determination and scrappy attitude drew me in as she continued on her quest to save her family.
Admittedly, the pacing slows in the middle, and there were places I was tempted to skim. I’m not one to always be interested in long, drawn-out descriptions of fights, for instance, when what happens in the fight itself turns out to be irrelevant, and only the actual outcome matters to plot or character development. I think this book could have been shorter and conveyed the same amount of information. However, I was interested in the overall plot, especially as the stakes continue to get higher for Jessamy and her family.
There’s also just a hint of character development for many of the characters, main and side, which I would love to see more of in book three. Jessamy’s father’s new wife is particularly interesting to me, though Elliott focuses a bit more on Jessamy’s sisters. (Who, honestly, are still squabbling a bit more than I find charming. Sisterly fights are of course realistic, but I seriously wonder if these girls even like each other at times.) I understand that Elliott might be trying to differentiate them and show that Jessamy doesn’t speak for them all, but there are also characters I find more complex and engaging, and I want to see what they do with the revolution that seems to be coming.
Poisoned Blade has its flaws, but I’ve been giving up on so many series recently, that I think any series that keeps my attention is doing something right. I look forward to seeing what Jessamy gets up to next.