Buried Heart (Court of Fives, #3)
The explosive finale to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott's captivating, New York Times bestselling young adult seriesIn 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!

Buried Heart (Court of Fives, #3) Details

TitleBuried Heart (Court of Fives, #3)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 25th, 2017
PublisherLittle, Brown Books for Young Readers
ISBN-139780316344418
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Young Adult Fantasy, Fiction

Buried Heart (Court of Fives, #3) Review

  • Alyssa
    January 1, 1970
    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***Buried Heart by Kate ElliottBook Three of the Court of Fives seriesPublisher: Little, Brown Books for Young ReadersPublication Date: July 25, 2017Rating: 4 starsSource: Review copy sent by the publisherSummary (from Goodreads):The explosive finale to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott's captivating, New York Times bestselling young adult seriesIn this third book in the epic Court of Fives series, Jessamy is the crux of a revolution forged by ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***Buried Heart by Kate ElliottBook Three of the Court of Fives seriesPublisher: Little, Brown Books for Young ReadersPublication Date: July 25, 2017Rating: 4 starsSource: Review copy sent by the publisherSummary (from Goodreads):The explosive finale to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott's captivating, New York Times bestselling young adult seriesIn 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!What I Liked:***SPOILER-FREE REVIEW***When Court of Fives appeared on the YA scene in 2015, there were mixed reactions and mixed reviews. I wasn't sure I wanted to read the book, but I decided to go for it when I received a copy for review. I was pleased when I found that I enjoyed the book, and the next year, I really liked Poisoned Blade. Kate Elliott's storytelling has been solid and consistent throughout this trilogy - as one would expect from such a talented and successful author. I'm glad I took a chance on each book.This conclusion novel begins with Jessamy, Kal, and others seeking safety from Nikonos, who has declared himself King. A revolution has been set in motion, and sides must be chosen. Kal finds himself in a position he never wanted - claiming the throne as king - and Jes finds herself looking for ways to unite Commoners and Patrons, Saroese and Efeans. Old prejudices and hatred die hard, and danger for both Jes and Kal is everywhere. Forced apart, can they unite under the same goals? Or will the war tear them apart as they fight on opposing sides? Everything comes to a halt in this conclusion novel, with a finale you won't see coming.I'm going to try to be as vague as possible so I won't spoil anything for fellow fans of the series! In short, this book was action-packed, a little angst-ridden and heartbreaking, and in the end, very uplifting. Elliott took me through a full range of emotions, whether I liked it or not.I'll start with the romance since it's fresh in my mind and it is a big part of the story. I was worried, because the synopsis makes it seem like there won't be a good ending for Kal and Jes. It makes it seem like they will grow apart. I will say that Kal and Jes do get separated in this book, in the physical sense. Emotionally, however, they are always close and love each other. It hurt to see them doubt each other and doubt the strength of their relationship, but politics and safety are what drive them apart (physically). This is the root of the angst that I mentioned.Still, I liked the romance, as weird as that will sound from me. Kal and Jes needed that time apart to realize that they don't want to be apart. Kal had to make difficult choices, and Jes had to consider her options. In the end, both make the right choices and there is a positive ending for each of them (and both of them). A touch bittersweet, but extremely positive (I promise!). In terms of their relationship, they get closer physically, and emotionally too. I liked that they took things to another level and even with the distance between them, they never grew out of love.Jes is as sturdy and strong as an anchor, in this book. She is a kickbutt heroine with a lot of punch that she is packing, and she is not afraid to charge forward without asking permission. She is fearless and selfless, a dangerous combination but one that makes her strong. She frustrated me a few times, but I understood her.I adored Kal, even when he also frustrated me. Kal hated being put in the position of claiming the throne, and part of him blamed Jes. Kal grows into the role, but it's always clear that he doesn't want it. Kal had so many tough decisions to make, and none of them involved a happy ending for him, but I liked how the author made it work for him. Kal does get a happy ending, after all of the suffering he has gone through in this series, and that makes me happy. He is a good guy with a good heart and a strong set of morals.This last piece of the story is incredibly action-packed and does not lack high stakes, tension, and uncertainty. A lot of time passes in this book - months at a time, weeks at a time, etc. Jes's sister Maraya is pregnant in the beginning of the story, and she has her baby towards the end of the story, so that gives you an idea of how much time passes. It's a long book with a lot of time passing but it doesn't feel like a long book. I flew through this one!There are a lot of complexities to this story, like the topic of race, the politics surrounding race, family bonds, and even some magic. Family is a big part of the story - Jes's family is a little dysfunctional, but she loves her parents and her siblings. The magic in this series has always been a little mysterious, but it has its purposes and I'm glad for its existence. If there is one thing about this series that makes it stand out in YA lit, it is the world-building. I've not read any YA series quite like this one. Yes, many YA fantasy series tend to sound the same after a while. This series impressed me from the start, with the world-building. This world is one full of sexism and the regression of women's rights, as well as racism and its obvious impact on politics and the law. There is some Ancient Greece influence in this setting. Even though Jes won the Fives in book one, the Fives races come up in the subsequent books. This series' world is incredibly unique and thought-provoking and very well-constructed. I'm trying to be vague, but in terms of the ending - it's a good ending. It's better than I expected, because I was expecting something really heartbreaking. The ending is uplifting and sweet, with a tough of bittersweet. I'm glad Elliott chose this ending and not another less liked type of ending. Otherwise, you'd probably see a 1- or 2-star rating from me. No matter how good the majority of the book is, if the ending is poor (for a conclusion novel especially), my rating of the book plummets.Overall, I was pleased with this finale. The plot worked for me, the pacing as great, the romance was a little angst-ridden but very realistic and swoony at times. I thoroughly enjoyed the series!What I Did Not Like:I would have loved for the romance to be completely angst- and drama-free. There isn't much drama, but a tiny bit is there, and there is a lot of angst (with Kal and Jes being separated by a great distance, and for quite a bit of time). No love triangle, though there is an annoying boy who is infatuated with Jes (don't worry, no love triangle). I would have loved more swoons and kisses and whatnot between Kal and Jes, but I also see why the author had them separated in this book. It made sense. But still.Would I Recommend It:I liked this conclusion novel a lot and definitely recommend it if you have read the previous books. This is a series worth finishing (something I struggle to do at times). I've not read any of Elliott's adult fiction books but I'm sure fans of her adult work would enjoy this YA series. This trilogy is one of the more unique series in YA that I've read - you've got to experience the world-building for yourself, to know what I mean. It's a great series to binge-read!Rating:4 stars. If the romance had been a little more swoony and less angst-ridden, I would have given this book 5 stars. It was a thrilling conclusion, with plenty of action, lives lost, and sacrifices made. Not to mention some swoon between Kal and Jes. Kate Elliott gave this series an excellent ending and I'm glad I finished this series.Pre-read squees:OMG! A title! Buried Heart AND A COVER!!!How I love it so.
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  • Justine
    January 1, 1970
    A very solid and complex feeling finish to the series. The mixed heritage of the main character Jes is always in issue no matter the circumstances, but I liked the way it was handled in this book. Jes has always felt that she could never deny either her Efean or her Saroese parentage, both of which she wears plainly on her face. But neither does she want to. The whole question of racial identity is so complicated, and it never felt lightly treated in this book. Even by the end, when the outcome A very solid and complex feeling finish to the series. The mixed heritage of the main character Jes is always in issue no matter the circumstances, but I liked the way it was handled in this book. Jes has always felt that she could never deny either her Efean or her Saroese parentage, both of which she wears plainly on her face. But neither does she want to. The whole question of racial identity is so complicated, and it never felt lightly treated in this book. Even by the end, when the outcome of the political revolution has been effectively settled, it is clear that the dust of the accompanying social evolution will still take many years to settle.Overall I thought this was an exciting series, with interesting worldbuilding and characters, which by the end felt quite rich and satisfying.
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  • Veronique
    January 1, 1970
    4.5After the dramatic events of the previous book, and the call to arms of "Efea Will Rise!", I did wonder how Elliott was going to bring all these threads to an adequate and satisfying conclusion.The Efean rebellion is growing but still far from strong enough to face the Saroese head on and claim their land and indeed lives back. Add to this the threat from the outside on several fronts, and the situation becomes nearly impossible to sort out. And yet... The author carries on spinning her compl 4.5After the dramatic events of the previous book, and the call to arms of "Efea Will Rise!", I did wonder how Elliott was going to bring all these threads to an adequate and satisfying conclusion.The Efean rebellion is growing but still far from strong enough to face the Saroese head on and claim their land and indeed lives back. Add to this the threat from the outside on several fronts, and the situation becomes nearly impossible to sort out. And yet... The author carries on spinning her complex tale in intelligent and logical steps. Some points might be questionable, such as the hold of the Saroese in just 100 years, but it is not impossible. Apart from these little 'niggles', the world building is engrossing and intricate. In the same way as the rest of the trilogy, Elliott doesn't shy away from gruelling topics and events, such as the realities of war and of a race under the heel of another, with all the horrors this implies. Jes matures quite a bit in this novel, and this is perhaps because she is robbed of the one thing she always took for granted - her physical strength. Her personality is still quite a bit reckless but more often than not she uses this to plot, resembling her father more and more as a strategist, and tries to find a way of reuniting both sides of her heritage. All characters in fact face tough questions. I was especially impressed by Kal, a naturally decent person placed by birth in the middle of political manipulations, who has to finally confront the cruelty of his family and everything he has been taught throughout his life, as well as the lure of power. Jes's parents were also a revelation to me. I guess in YA and Children's stories, parents are 'pushed' to the side to allow our main characters to shine, but here Elliott has given them their own breathtaking story, both their own persons following their dramatic narrative. Kiya doesn't die but strives; she fights in her own way, not with brute physical strength, but 'flowing' around obstacles. She offers us a totally different way of seeing things, combining all that is female with bravery, resilience, spirit, and indeed strength, into a different way of governing (the use of the masks for ruling positions for instance is one that I found particularly fascinating). It is as if the Efeans represent the female while the Saroese are all that is male, or rather all the negatives from masculinity. Esladas is also more than just the absent and ambitious father. Yes, he has made mistakes, but he faces them and learns, not just on the battle field and the royal court, but also through his daughters. All this reflects the author's refusal to go for the 'easy' options in both character development and plot. Yes, I very much enjoyed Buried Heart, even with my few quibbles, and the whole Court of Fives series. All I want now is find out what other worlds Elliott has crafted.
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  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars. Terrific conclusion to a series I really enjoyed. I'll miss Jes and Kal.
  • Holly
    January 1, 1970
    Kind of disappointing. I felt like this whole series was a lot of 1 step forward, 2 steps back. The story kind of grinds on you in an exhausting way. And I found myself too often turned off by both the MC and many of the supporting characters. The story is filled with a lot of huge egos and got unnecessarily angsty at times. Very overly dramatic. I found myself oddly not into the love story. The ending was odd with a ton of loose ends.
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  • Shelley
    January 1, 1970
    *Source* Library*Genre* Young Adult, Fantasy*Rating* 3.5-4*My Thoughts*Buried Heart, by author Kate Elliott, is the third and final installment in the author's Court of Fives trilogy. For those who may be new to this series, the series is a high-fantasy adventure with a heroine who captures the imagination of fans from Sarah J. Maas, Rae Carson, and Victoria Aveyard. Set in the very Greek like setting of Efea, Half Saroese, half Efean Jessamy aka Spider has come a long way from the first install *Source* Library*Genre* Young Adult, Fantasy*Rating* 3.5-4*My Thoughts*Buried Heart, by author Kate Elliott, is the third and final installment in the author's Court of Fives trilogy. For those who may be new to this series, the series is a high-fantasy adventure with a heroine who captures the imagination of fans from Sarah J. Maas, Rae Carson, and Victoria Aveyard. Set in the very Greek like setting of Efea, Half Saroese, half Efean Jessamy aka Spider has come a long way from the first installment. She's gone from being a nobody with the dream of becoming one of the finest Court of Fives contestants ever, to being a guiding light in a dark world that has been divided into Commoners, and Patrons.*Full Review Posted @ Gizmos Reviews*http://gizmosreviews.blogspot.com/201...
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  • Melissa McShane
    January 1, 1970
    This may well be my favorite book of the year.This conclusion to the Court of Fives trilogy is outstanding in its execution, in the pacing, in the bold characterization, and in the powerful story. I loved how well everything was wrapped up and how Jes's journey went beyond its simple beginnings to places she could never have imagined. The ending was perfect, and I think my favorite part about it is I had no idea which way Elliott was going to go. Totally satisfying.For once, the tagline is appro This may well be my favorite book of the year.This conclusion to the Court of Fives trilogy is outstanding in its execution, in the pacing, in the bold characterization, and in the powerful story. I loved how well everything was wrapped up and how Jes's journey went beyond its simple beginnings to places she could never have imagined. The ending was perfect, and I think my favorite part about it is I had no idea which way Elliott was going to go. Totally satisfying.For once, the tagline is appropriate: Jes has to pick a side in this conflict between Saro and Efea. Half Saroese, half Efean, she's been drawn to her Saroese heritage because of her love for her father and for Prince Kalliarkos. but as the book progresses, she's increasingly aware that Saroese culture is corrupt enough that even Kal as ruler may not be able to turn things around. It's here that I have one of my two reservations about the book: (view spoiler)[I don't quite buy that Saro is so utterly vile, while Efea is noble and just. It's too pat. And there are too many evil practices to be reasonable, to the point that I felt Elliott was stacking the deck unnecessarily. Though the moment when Kal orders the imprisoned women to be released from Eternity Temple, and the Patrons in the crowd get angry with him for "desecrating" the temple, works well to highlight the problems with trying to simply reform Saroese culture. (hide spoiler)] Jes is, as always, brash and somewhat impetuous, and I realized my irritation with her occasional acts of brashness is that they put other people, innocent people, in jeopardy. But in trying to decide where she belongs, she finally grows into a woman who can help lead a rebellion.Some things were not a surprise, i.e. (view spoiler)[the fact that Jes's mother became Custodian of Efea, because really, who else is there? (hide spoiler)], but for the most part, I had no idea how things would play out other than the general sense that I would be satisfied with the ending, whatever it was. I did have a problem with (view spoiler)["learning" (that is, I'm sure this was revealed in the earlier books, but I'd forgotten) that it's been a hundred years since Saro conquered Efea. That is just too short a time to lose an entire society's memory of its own sacred traditions. The Saroese killed all the priests and banned the Efean religion, but that only pushes the problem back a step: if the institutional memory is that tied up in the priesthood, a society runs the risk of corruption, and as I've mentioned, the Efeans are presented as noble and good. So I'm not convinced. (hide spoiler)] But aside from that, I liked the way the social upheaval was handled.And I loved how Jes and Kal's relationship was resolved. I've said before that my money was on Ro-emnu, not because I liked him better but because their shared cultural heritage is a more likely thing to build a romance on. This, by the way, is how a love triangle ought to be handled. The ones in which the girl dithers between two hot guys and is drawn to both of them equally are just stupid and make the girl look weak. Here, Jes's feelings for Kal never waver, despite some pretty serious challenges (view spoiler)[the scene where he tells her to leave and never come back comes to mind (hide spoiler)], but it's acknowledged that Ro is still a viable option and I think if Elliott had wanted to, she could have made either relationship work. But I'm really glad with the way things worked out. Because (view spoiler)[Kal's "death" and subsequent reappearance were devastating. I think he needed to die to resolve his feelings about the evil things he'd done, killing Nikonos and effectively killing Serenissima, and he got the second chance he needed, in the way he needed it. What's interesting is that he got the ending he wanted in the first book, and I wonder if he realized he had to lose in the first book in order to achieve a true resolution in the end. (hide spoiler)].My only other (very slight) disappointment was (view spoiler)[I felt Bettany's storyline wasn't adequately resolved. I see now that we're meant to accept her betrayal as a permanent separation, but that event (in the second book) didn't feel as if Jes confronted her effectively. (hide spoiler)], but that's slight. In all other respects, this was an excellent book, and I can't recommend the series highly enough.
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  • Robyn
    January 1, 1970
    Really satisfying conclusion to this series!
  • ☆Stephanie☆
    January 1, 1970
    Title: Buried Heart (Court of Fives #3)Author: Kate ElliottPublisher: 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**This review can be found on my Blog, TeacherofYA's Tumblr, or my Goodreads pageMy 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):"The explosive finale Title: Buried Heart (Court of Fives #3)Author: Kate ElliottPublisher: 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**This review can be found on my Blog, TeacherofYA's Tumblr, or my Goodreads pageMy 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):"The explosive finale to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott's captivating, New York Times bestselling young adult seriesIn 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 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. For the entire series in the classroom Age RangeBuried 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. End Result: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. It's been a good book week for me! 😍😍😍😍😍And don't forget the two Novellas set in the CoF world!
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  • Leseparatist
    January 1, 1970
    It was an utter page turner, and while at first I had some problems re-immersing myself in Jes's headspace, I was ultimately drawn in. I guess I'm beginning to think clearly I have strange/unusual textual preferences. I read all the advice about how characters should have agency and influence action, and how important it is for readers to see the emotion and feelings characters experience and then I read a book and I think - I'd like it better if the character's feelings were less obvious, becau It was an utter page turner, and while at first I had some problems re-immersing myself in Jes's headspace, I was ultimately drawn in. I guess I'm beginning to think clearly I have strange/unusual textual preferences. I read all the advice about how characters should have agency and influence action, and how important it is for readers to see the emotion and feelings characters experience and then I read a book and I think - I'd like it better if the character's feelings were less obvious, because either her emotions are too extreme for me (and I like angry protagonists! It's just that she keeps telling me and showing me she's angry, and being angry at the wrong person) or the book is clubbing me over the head with them, as though I can't understand after being told once. The agency the protagonist has feels excessive - I think she shouldn't have this many clever ideas, this much say, this extent of influence on the outcome. Maybe I need a break from genre fiction ;)But that was mainly the beginning of the volume. Later on, the book was really great about showing consequences, bodily trauma, complexities of politics and culture. I even quite liked how sports fit in with the themes and mysteries, although I found the way they figured into the plot less interesting. I am that reader who died of boredom reading Quidditch in Harry Potter; I'm not into sports. I'd rather watch a progress bar on a computer doing drive defragmentation.Some quibbles: I found the coyness with which the two canonical (I guess) queer couples are shown to be annoying. I'm not sure if it was meant to reflect Jes's blithe lack of interest or be a bawdlerisation that makes this book more teen-friendly (if you don't want to see / remember about queerness, we won't make it too apparent!), but it came off queer-baity. (view spoiler)[All it would have taken is Jes taking two-three sentences to think more closely about Denya's relationship with Amaya or how fortunate it was who loved Inarsis. (hide spoiler)]I had problems with Kiya's plotline. It felt a little too convenient and the entire Kiya-as-Efea imagery has bad connotations for me. That said, the book was significantly better than the previous volume. Really well-paced and gripping. I wish mythology and dynastic scheming had been given more space, and I could have used less military enthusiasm (Jes's descriptions of the army in particular read like propaganda-lite), and less teen romance (view spoiler)[I find the ending utterly unbelievable in that while Kalliarkos might have a hope of escaping recognition as a soldier in the army, I think that might disappear if he's seen in public with Jes, who is known to have been the king's mistress (hide spoiler)]. The ending is almost too neat, but the moment in the narrative at around 1/3 of the book, when the protagonist changes her path, was really well-played. And there's some very real emotion in the relationships between the characters, particularly Maraya and Jes. (view spoiler)[That moment when Maraya tells Jes about the trip the family took years ago and about how Jes took father's side believing him to be the one with power - I found it very believable but also the reason I found Jes so difficult to root for at times. I hate it when female characters side with fathers against their mothers. It is ultimately reversed here, and written in a very believable way, but it's a thing I find difficult to read about or even to comprehend more viscerally. (hide spoiler)]A strong 3.5 stars and now I hope Elliott can finish the Black Wolves continuation next ;)
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  • Jesse Nicholas
    January 1, 1970
    Buried Heart by Kate Elliott is the finale to the Court of Fives Trilogy. I can’t begin to tell you how amazing this series was and that you should go pick it up right away! I was blown away with the world Elliott built and expanded on over the course of this journey.For the third book, the story picks up with the political turmoil between the Saroese and the Efean people. Jessamy our main protagonist is on the run with her family to escape the grasp of Lord Gargaron. Safety is a major priority Buried Heart by Kate Elliott is the finale to the Court of Fives Trilogy. I can’t begin to tell you how amazing this series was and that you should go pick it up right away! I was blown away with the world Elliott built and expanded on over the course of this journey.For the third book, the story picks up with the political turmoil between the Saroese and the Efean people. Jessamy our main protagonist is on the run with her family to escape the grasp of Lord Gargaron. Safety is a major priority as things begin to fall to pieces for the royal family and Jessamy leading the rebellion!Elliott weaves a masterful tale filled with drama, political strife, war, and intricate plot-lines. War is heavy in this one. I felt like there was a battle to be won or conquered in almost every chapter.Jessamy still goes down as one of my favorite heroines! She is so head strong, confidant and smart. The way she carries herself throughout the whole story was amazing to read. Even when she is knocked down to the dirtiest mines of Efea, she still manages to keep her spirits up. She breathes hope into her people and gives them the strength to fight back.The ending was so satisfying. Things will never be perfect and the bigger story is far from over. Though the trilogy is over, the characters will live on and still fight for their rights and privileges. Buried Heart was everything I could have asked for!
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  • Jaime (Two Chicks on Books)
    January 1, 1970
    I am so sad this series is over!!! It was the perfect finale though even it it was a bit bittersweet.
  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    My objections aren't anything new: I think the writing is sloppy (can you be "shackled by silken rope"?) and the plot an exercise in moving pieces to get a desired result; I don't see any thematic consistency or the basic acknowledgement that history is written by the victors (the Efeans are way, way too good to be believed); and Jessamy's conflict between her two heritages feels entirely too obvious a metaphor - and is too easily resolved by circumstance. It's the lack of thematic consistency t My objections aren't anything new: I think the writing is sloppy (can you be "shackled by silken rope"?) and the plot an exercise in moving pieces to get a desired result; I don't see any thematic consistency or the basic acknowledgement that history is written by the victors (the Efeans are way, way too good to be believed); and Jessamy's conflict between her two heritages feels entirely too obvious a metaphor - and is too easily resolved by circumstance. It's the lack of thematic consistency that bothers me most, though. Because of that, this story never convinces me of its importance. It never makes me care. It stays a by-the-numbers political story where movement, impetuosity, and luck are prioritized over nuance.
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  • Renay
    January 1, 1970
    This has a cover now and it's SO PRETTY (even with the spider).
  • Christina Pilkington
    January 1, 1970
    An ok ending to an ok series for me. This third book was definitely a more enjoyable read for me than the second book in the series, although the first third of this book also dragged for me. My main complaints were that once again, certain story elements that were brought up were never fully explored or explained. The revolution that took place seemed way too easy and was over way too quickly. I know this is YA, but I've read several other YA books tackling the same type of plot where it's hand An ok ending to an ok series for me. This third book was definitely a more enjoyable read for me than the second book in the series, although the first third of this book also dragged for me. My main complaints were that once again, certain story elements that were brought up were never fully explored or explained. The revolution that took place seemed way too easy and was over way too quickly. I know this is YA, but I've read several other YA books tackling the same type of plot where it's handled more realistically. I just wanted more from this book and series. I wanted more depth to the characters, instead of having endless discussions about the revolution. I wanted to have more descriptions of the setting and atmosphere of the world. I wanted a more complex plot and subplots. I also wanted more magic. This book is categorized as YA fantasy, and there is hardly any magic or fantastical elements at all in this series. Besides the "sparks," nothing else stands out, and even the idea of "spark" is only discussed on a surface level. I will say the book did a pretty good job of discussing what it might feel to be a biracial person. The main character has to constantly balance between two worlds, never truly being a part of either. I also appreciated the rage and injustice the Efayan people experienced having their land be overtaken and their way of life destroyed. Those emotions came across and authentic and genuine. So, overall this was a borderline 3 star series read for me. I'd recommend it if you want to read about a biracial character, or like reading books with an element of competition.
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  • Joseph
    January 1, 1970
    My first question remains: Why did it take me so long to finally get around to reading Kate Elliott?So. All is not well. Tensions between the native Efeans and the occupying Saroese (to be fair, they've been ruling the country for several generations now) have reached the boiling point; and the Saroese themselves are reft by war and rebellion and more than their fair share of palace intrigue; and our narrator Jessamy (daughter of a Saroese general and his Efean lover; and Jessamy herself has an My first question remains: Why did it take me so long to finally get around to reading Kate Elliott?So. All is not well. Tensions between the native Efeans and the occupying Saroese (to be fair, they've been ruling the country for several generations now) have reached the boiling point; and the Saroese themselves are reft by war and rebellion and more than their fair share of palace intrigue; and our narrator Jessamy (daughter of a Saroese general and his Efean lover; and Jessamy herself has an ... interesting relationship with one of the Saroese contenders for the crown) has to navigate war and imprisonment and plots all just as intricate as the Courts of Fives (the traditional game/obstacle course at which she's become a famous contender, much to her parents' chagrin) that she finds herself running.Engaging, fast-paced writing; great, relatable characters; and just a soupçon of spirit magic binding things together. Highly recommended.
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  • Todd Ross
    January 1, 1970
    Last night I finished the final novel in the Court of Fives series by Kate Elliott. To be honest, I think was a little disappointed. Kate Elliott is one of my favorite authors, but I just didn't feel like this book had the conclusion and impact I was hoping for. I feel like it should have probably been split into 2 books. It felt a little rushed with seemingly very little conflict that wasn't addressed or resolved far too quickly. I would have liked to have seen more about how the Saroese reacte Last night I finished the final novel in the Court of Fives series by Kate Elliott. To be honest, I think was a little disappointed. Kate Elliott is one of my favorite authors, but I just didn't feel like this book had the conclusion and impact I was hoping for. I feel like it should have probably been split into 2 books. It felt a little rushed with seemingly very little conflict that wasn't addressed or resolved far too quickly. I would have liked to have seen more about how the Saroese reacted to an Efean takeover from more viewpoints. I would have liked a little more struggle. Other than short stint in the mines which could have been longer, everything just felt a little too easy for all the characters.I'd love a novella or story about the Tonor/Wenru baby as he grows up though, that is rife for some interesting stories.Hopefully now that this book is complete Kate Elliott will finish the 2nd Black Wolves novel. Her epic fantasy is fantastic!
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  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    3.5
  • D.F. Haley
    January 1, 1970
    I'm a huge fan of Kate Elliott, but this series didn't really do much for me. I loved the concept of the national (Roman-like) games around acrobatics and puzzles as a metaphor for political and strategic thinking. The first book in the series was great, and something my young daughter would have liked.But by the third novel, I expected more. The heroine remained a spoiled brat throughout, despite her other admirable skills and intermittent compassion for others. I thought after she suffered tra I'm a huge fan of Kate Elliott, but this series didn't really do much for me. I loved the concept of the national (Roman-like) games around acrobatics and puzzles as a metaphor for political and strategic thinking. The first book in the series was great, and something my young daughter would have liked.But by the third novel, I expected more. The heroine remained a spoiled brat throughout, despite her other admirable skills and intermittent compassion for others. I thought after she suffered travails, saw the real world, spent time in the mines, etc. that she'd evolve a bit more positively. I loved her compulsive resistance to authority -- tell her what to do and expect the opposite (how teen-like is that).We did have a solid bad guy who dominated and controlled our heroine -- shades of Liath's nemisis Hugh from the Crown of Stars -- although he never achieved the same delicious evil seen in some of Ms. Elliott's other books. But having our heroine essentially buried alive was a good start... At least he achieved a somewhat satisfying and appropriate end at the conclusion.The romance was boring in the extreme, with the noble prince seeming too good to be true, and something of a pansy as well. Hard to fathom after Jaran, or Sanglant in Prince of Dogs, etc. I liked the overall plotting and the somewhat haphazard revolution, but hated the two competing cultures equally: Feminine Gaia vs. Masculine Military/Monarchy, yetch. The Etrean/Babylonian model and somewhat middle-eastern foundation never really clicked for me. By the end, I was hoping to kill off a lot more of the characters, such was my ennui.
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  • Krista
    January 1, 1970
    A perfect conclusion to a fantastic series.
  • The Library Ladies
    January 1, 1970
    (Full review here at the thelibraryladies.com.)This review is a long time in coming given how much I enjoyed the first two books in the trilogy since we’re coming up fast on a years since it’s been out! But I will blame my audiobook library queue. I had this one almost finished months ago, and then had to return it to the library and had to wait in line patiently to get it back. Yes, yes, I could have just read a physical copy or done any number of things to get it sooner. But my dedication to o (Full review here at the thelibraryladies.com.)This review is a long time in coming given how much I enjoyed the first two books in the trilogy since we’re coming up fast on a years since it’s been out! But I will blame my audiobook library queue. I had this one almost finished months ago, and then had to return it to the library and had to wait in line patiently to get it back. Yes, yes, I could have just read a physical copy or done any number of things to get it sooner. But my dedication to one format and the library knows no bounds! Even if that leads me to nonsensical places like writing a review months later and then dedicating an entire paragraph to these very trials and tribulations. Anyways, on to the review!Things are coming to a head in the fight for the future of Jes’s homeland. And not only are her parents on opposing sides of this battle, but her beloved Prince Kal is finding himself more and more likely to be called upon as a leader in these trying times. While Jes’s prowess as an athlete and the star-power she has won for herself there has gotten her this far, what role will she play as events greater than she ever imagined begin to unfurl?The story picks up immediately following the events of “Poisoned Blade.” I always like books that could be read as one, continuous story, but coming after a long break between reads, it did prove a bit challenging for me to fall back into this world. There is just so much here! After two books already, Elliott has set up not only a complex and believable world, but one that is peopled and driven by two different cultures with very different outlooks on life, and, importantly, history. That’s not to mention the ever growing cast of characters, all of whom have been slowly revealed to have their own motives in the ongoing conflict. Once I caught myself up again, all of these details fell neatly into place and this same complexity reestablished itself as firmly a plus for the series.Especially the history aspect of the book. Throughout the series, Elliott has done a thorough deep-dive into what it really looks like to have a history that has only been told by the winners. Through all three books we have begun to see just how thoroughly retold and rewashed events of the past have been, and how now, in the third book, people are trying to reclaim these lost bits of history. This also was carefully crafted and presented. There are no easy pathways and correct decisions that can be made to right the wrongs of the past. And Elliott explores how the choices made in the present will continue to play into this narrative as the future of these two peoples continues to unfold.Jes, as always, is a great character through whom to view this conflict. As a girl from both worlds, we are given front row seats to her own harsh realizations about what actual change would entail. Throughout the first two books and a large portion of this one, Jes’s outlook on the future has been, frankly, pretty naive. Here she is forced to truly confront her own ignorance of the political powers at play and the limitations that exist for even rulers themselves.The action takes a swing away from the excitement of the court of fives games that has made up much of the other books. With stakes as high as these, there simply isn’t room for these type of trials as often. However, even with that being the case, I was impressed by how neatly Elliott was able to tie this aspect of the story into the greater conflict as a hole. Don’t get me wrong, Jes’s skill as a competitor is still important and relevant to this book, and the few races we saw all had incredibly high stakes and were just as thrilling as always.However, the real action came back to the conflict itself. We saw more battles, more personal struggles in Jes’s ongoing conflict with Lord Gargaron, and a epic resolution to the entire chain of events that was both heartbreaking and incredibly satisfying. Elliott doesn’t back away from the ugliness that would take place in an overthrow of this kind, even with the most benevolent and wise of leaders at its head. Further, Jes and Kal’s romance does not get the “magic wand” treatment and they, too, much confront the challenges of any future they may have together.I thoroughly enjoyed this final installment in the trilogy. I did knock it down one point from the previous two, simply because there were portions in the beginning and middle of the book where the pacing seemed off (events would move quickly, only to suddenly lag for several pages). This book had to fit a lot into one story and there were times where I felt like it had a few missteps simply due to the challenges of getting it all in there. But that said, this was still a thoroughly enjoyable read and very gratifying end to a solid fantasy trilogy.Rating 8: An epic conclusion to a high stakes fantasy trilogy, full of action, heartbreak, and an introspection on what it means for a nation to rediscover its history and reclaim its future.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    This morning I finished up Buried Heart by Kate Elliott, the final book in her YA Fantasy series Court of Fives. Oh, what a great end to a great series. I’m only angry at myself for not reading these sooner.In Buried Heart Jessamy has found herself at a crossroads. She’s always been of two worlds due to her heritage and upbringing, but now she’s caught between a revolution against all of Patron rule and wanting to save those she cares about, Kal and her father, who are fighting the current regim This morning I finished up Buried Heart by Kate Elliott, the final book in her YA Fantasy series Court of Fives. Oh, what a great end to a great series. I’m only angry at myself for not reading these sooner.In Buried Heart Jessamy has found herself at a crossroads. She’s always been of two worlds due to her heritage and upbringing, but now she’s caught between a revolution against all of Patron rule and wanting to save those she cares about, Kal and her father, who are fighting the current regime and outside armies to take back control of the government under their own leadership. But maybe it’s Jes, who lives in both worlds, that can somehow think of a solution for all of them. Used to running the Fives courts, and always thinking several moves ahead, will her strategic plays work out or will they cost her everything she’s ever loved?This book hits the ground running and the pace never lets up. There’s a lot going on and no time for idleness. There is a lot of political and battle strategy throughout the entire book, and I loved it. I also loved that the battles and war are described pretty realistically, nothing is watered down for the readers.I like how much Jes contributed to the various battle plans and that it’s shown how she is always thinking of possible outcomes–the traits that have made her a good adversary on the Fives courts have also made her a good strategist. Of course, this only works when she has enough information, and correct information, and it doesn’t stop her from questioning if she’s made the right decisions. Even though Jes very much wants to win, she has the ultimate competitive spirit in all things she does, she has also begun to think about the consequences of her actions more. She’s still the same bold Jessamy, but she is thinking more and applying those thoughts before she acts. She’s no longer quite as reckless and I enjoyed seeing this character growth.Kal’s character arc was great to see as well. He started out pretty arrogant and, after many trials and tribulations, having a huge responsibility foisted on him, and having to give up the one thing he’s come to love, becomes a much humbler man. You see the weight of everything on him in this book, threatening to crush him. But, having no choice but to play this part, he decides to do it his way and learns that in order to be the person he wants to be he’ll have to give up even more of his old life. That’s a pretty hard lesson to learn.Other characters were great in this series as well. Jes’ sisters each are very distinct, as well as her parents. I’ll be honest and say sometimes I didn’t care for Jessamy’s mother much, not that she was a badly written character, but that she was just a very strong woman who wanted what she thought was best for her daughter and that often conflicted with Jessamy’s own aspirations. But one of the great appeals of this book is that it’s about a family. Sure, a complex family, but a family. So much of fantasy is made up of orphans or families plotting to kill each other over power (and, well, we do get some of that with Kal’s family) so Jessamy’s family was a great change of pace.I loved that her and Kal’s relationship was an echo of her mother and father’s relationship and that she realized if her and Kal were going to be together then everything in society would have to change. But then, realizing that if they made that change happen, because of who they were in particular, everything was over for them. It wasn’t so much about them, and their love, as it was about the future of everyone like them, giving them the right to be equals so they wouldn’t have to make those same decisions and live in agony like her and Kal, or her parents. Giving people the right to take back their lives, their country, and their customs. Letting them love who they choose.The setting in this book was also great and it served well to explore themes of cultural erasure, race, and class structure within a society that has been colonized by another. The influence of Ptolemaic Egypt is there with the names of the characters and other touches in the world-building. Besides crafting great characters, world-building is a huge strength of Kate Elliott’s. I love the way she takes different influences and somehow makes them work together into something new and interesting.Overall, I had a lot of fun reading this series and feel like this, Buried Heart, was the ending the characters deserved.For more reviews visit my blog www.waytoofantasy.com
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  • Robyn White
    January 1, 1970
    This is one of those series that get better with each book. Granted that is because the first book had issues. It had a lot of typical YA fantasy tropes. It drew comparisons to series like The Hungar Games and The Winner's Curse. (It is much more like the later than the former, imo.) There were probably a lot of people who read the first book who never came back for the rest of the series. And that's really too bad because as I said before, each book in this series is better than the last. I was This is one of those series that get better with each book. Granted that is because the first book had issues. It had a lot of typical YA fantasy tropes. It drew comparisons to series like The Hungar Games and The Winner's Curse. (It is much more like the later than the former, imo.) There were probably a lot of people who read the first book who never came back for the rest of the series. And that's really too bad because as I said before, each book in this series is better than the last. I was in actual tears at the end of this series.What I find different about this series is how compelling the protagonist's internal struggle is. In most books of this nature, the protagonist is either from the poor/downtrodden lower class who must overcome prejudice or she is from the upper class and must get past her own prejudices (usually by falling for someone from the lower class.) However, the Court of Fives series manages to be all of these things at once. Because, the protagonist is bi-racial. At the beginning of the series, her lower-upper class father refuses to abandon his lover and children despite social pressure, his ambitions as a very talent military strategist, and the fact that they are not legally allowed to marry. And so Jessamy and her 3 sisters are raised in a strange limbo which can't possibly stand through the growing racial tensions and political intrigues. Jessamy is neither here nor there and you can feel that struggle intensify throughout the series. She does come off as pretty oblivious at the beginning of the series, not being able to see what doesn't directly affect her and so focused on her own goals. But she does a lot of growing in the following books.There is a romantic plot (with all that usually includes) but it is tempered by the strong-yet-strained family dynamics.A note of warning. It is written is 1st person present. Though, I found that I hardly noticed once I got into the story.
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  • Ricky
    January 1, 1970
    The Court of Fives trilogy concludes in this long but tense and terrific novel, bringing the whole series full circle, especially where its ongoing themes of colonialism and racism are concerned. Truly, Efea will rise, but it'll be a long and difficult road for Jes and her people to get there, and they'll need a few allies among the Saroese first. Kal, perhaps? Of course, first he has to make himself overcome his natural inclination to uphold the corrupt institutions of his people, purely to kee The Court of Fives trilogy concludes in this long but tense and terrific novel, bringing the whole series full circle, especially where its ongoing themes of colonialism and racism are concerned. Truly, Efea will rise, but it'll be a long and difficult road for Jes and her people to get there, and they'll need a few allies among the Saroese first. Kal, perhaps? Of course, first he has to make himself overcome his natural inclination to uphold the corrupt institutions of his people, purely to keep his own power and social standing, tenuous though it may be. A little heavy these themes get at times, but like most examples of literary allegories for social justice, it's not exactly meant to be a comfortable read. Best of all, though, the series makes it clear that mercy is a better route than vengeance and blood (I'm paraphrasing here, but at least it makes for a better ending than the - also paraphrased - line about a tree being too diseased at the root to cure implied for the future of Efeans and Saroese alike.) I'm actually more than a bit surprised that this series hasn't been called out all over the place for Kate Elliott writing outside her lane in terms of race, but I'm very glad that there's at least one other case (like, say, the works of Corinne Duyvis) to serve as proof that it's perfectly okay to do so, provided it's done with sensitivity of course, and that maybe people shouldn't be asking writers of color these kinds of unnecessary questions? I'm thinking Elliott did write pretty sensitively, especially given that Justina Ireland gets herself a space in the acknowledgments as a beta reader.To the Court of Fives, I now say vas ir...anoshe, and now I find myself needing to read a few more of Kate Elliott's books.
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  • Kathy Martin
    January 1, 1970
    BURIED HEART was a good conclusion to the Court of Fives trilogy. Jessamy is torn between her Seroese father and her Afean mother in a culture ruled by the Seroese. As a mixed blood person, she is not accepted in the Seroese culture except that she is an excellent player in the game of fives which obsesses Patron and Commoner alike. She is also beloved of Kalliarkos who is very closely related the the rulers of the country which doesn't endear her to either group of people.She needs to decide wh BURIED HEART was a good conclusion to the Court of Fives trilogy. Jessamy is torn between her Seroese father and her Afean mother in a culture ruled by the Seroese. As a mixed blood person, she is not accepted in the Seroese culture except that she is an excellent player in the game of fives which obsesses Patron and Commoner alike. She is also beloved of Kalliarkos who is very closely related the the rulers of the country which doesn't endear her to either group of people.She needs to decide where her loyalties lie since she knows that there is a revolution brewing among the Commoners and lots of intrigue among the Patrons will have an impact on Kalliarkos. Since she was instrumental in freeing her mother, her siblings, and their servants from being entombed alive with a dead Patron by Lord Gargaron, she is in extreme danger. When Lord Gargaron captures her and stuffs her in a barrel (which hits just about all of my panic buttons), he forces her to help him woo armies from other countries that he wants to help him take control of the country. He puts Jessamy in a isolated mining prison to keep her until he needs her again. This is where she really becomes a revolutionary for Efea as she coordinates a prison takeover and escape. The story has interesting revelations, lots of battles, lots of plotting, and a nice romance. Fans of epic fantasy will enjoy this whole trilogy.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    Well, well, well. I've devoured this trilogy, that, months ago, I disdained as typical.I.... really enjoyed this series. It is still hitting all the usual tropes of dystopia/fantasy YA, but boy, Kate Elliott's writing is so enjoyable to read. I love her varied and many female characters, I love that she has same gender couples, and I love her progressive gender politics. This trilogy deals with colonialization, where the oppressed eventually rise up and reclaim their land.But what caught my atte Well, well, well. I've devoured this trilogy, that, months ago, I disdained as typical.I.... really enjoyed this series. It is still hitting all the usual tropes of dystopia/fantasy YA, but boy, Kate Elliott's writing is so enjoyable to read. I love her varied and many female characters, I love that she has same gender couples, and I love her progressive gender politics. This trilogy deals with colonialization, where the oppressed eventually rise up and reclaim their land.But what caught my attention was the way Elliott treated Elsadas and Kiya, Jessamy's father and mother. It's nuanced and complex and I very much enjoyed Jessamy's conflicted feelings and loyalties to the two of them. One of my favorite things in this trilogy is her relationship with her father. I wish for her sake that he hadn't died, but there's no place for him in the new world.I like Jessamy a lot. I loved her relationship with her love interest, Kal, and their moments of intimacy and sweetness are a good balance to the emotional turmoil that Jessamy faces. Jessamy reminds me of a mix of Katniss Everdeen and Tris Prior, but I related to her more than the other two. Restless, goal-oriented, reckless, bold, ambitious, resourceful, tough. She makes things happen as much as the plot forces things onto her; in plot terms, she's such a firecracker. It was awesome reading about her taking risk after risk as she seeks to grasp the victory she wants for herself.Pretty great YA trilogy, although it does follow a few predictable beats.
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  • Bunny McFoo
    January 1, 1970
    Ugh. What a disappointment. 1.5 stars, rounded up because I'm just that nice.No resolution with Bett - her parents don't even seem to really care what happened to her? Everyone just sort of accepts that there's an old man's spirit trapped in a baby's body. Jes leads Ro on until literally the last chapter before ending up with Kal - so, you know, going with the romance with no chemistry and the most dull male romantic lead possibly ever and ditching the character that the author seems to have acc Ugh. What a disappointment. 1.5 stars, rounded up because I'm just that nice.No resolution with Bett - her parents don't even seem to really care what happened to her? Everyone just sort of accepts that there's an old man's spirit trapped in a baby's body. Jes leads Ro on until literally the last chapter before ending up with Kal - so, you know, going with the romance with no chemistry and the most dull male romantic lead possibly ever and ditching the character that the author seems to have accidentally written her heroine having chemistry with. Jes continues to be the most god awful Mary Sue (she's the best EVAR at Fives! despite having no formal training she has the BEST EVAR grasp of military tactics! she can pilot a spider, lead a small revolution at the mines AND mastermind the ultimate coup of the larger revolution - but she still can't manage to have a fleshed out personality!)On the bright side, I liked the two of Jes's sisters who were permitted to actually appear in the book - they both had more well rounded personalities than Jes did - and I adored her dad. Who died, of course.
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  • Emma Rose Ribbons
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this very much! It's pure war and political intrigue, which I love and it's got very subversive, feminist-friendly elements. The reason why I'm not giving it five stars is because I don't know if I'll ever reread this. I loved the worldbuilding and the characters (the female characters in particular) but this installment felt very cold and ruthless. A bit too much suffering for me. It wasn't as cosy as the ones before, even the description of life once the fighting's over was incredibl I enjoyed this very much! It's pure war and political intrigue, which I love and it's got very subversive, feminist-friendly elements. The reason why I'm not giving it five stars is because I don't know if I'll ever reread this. I loved the worldbuilding and the characters (the female characters in particular) but this installment felt very cold and ruthless. A bit too much suffering for me. It wasn't as cosy as the ones before, even the description of life once the fighting's over was incredibly short so I had trouble rebonding with the characters. Still, it was really good and a terrific ending to a great series.
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  • Milly
    January 1, 1970
    Loved this series and so happy how with how it concluded! I kept wondering what the resolution could be for Kal and Spider's relationship, the raging war and who will end up on top, and if it's going to be a happy ending! I've always loved Spider and her kickass skills on the Fives court! She's so bad ass that she is even better than the male contenders! I love how she has this special relationship with her father and how they both have the same interests and skills in strategy. It made me miss Loved this series and so happy how with how it concluded! I kept wondering what the resolution could be for Kal and Spider's relationship, the raging war and who will end up on top, and if it's going to be a happy ending! I've always loved Spider and her kickass skills on the Fives court! She's so bad ass that she is even better than the male contenders! I love how she has this special relationship with her father and how they both have the same interests and skills in strategy. It made me miss my Dad! Love their courage and their integrity! I especially loved the action and adventure, the idea of the Fives, and the spiders and how they can be animated with someone's soul!
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  • Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 starsI’m simultaneously going to say that Buried Heart was a pretty satisfying series conclusion and also that it wasn’t. The thing is that, for what this series actually is, Buried Heart is consistent to what’s come before, and it doesn’t drop all the balls. Mostly, this series feels like a jongleur came out and tossed up ten balls, dropped half of them, but then successfully juggled the remaining five for the duration of the series.There’s a lot of action throughout the series, so I was ne 2.5 starsI’m simultaneously going to say that Buried Heart was a pretty satisfying series conclusion and also that it wasn’t. The thing is that, for what this series actually is, Buried Heart is consistent to what’s come before, and it doesn’t drop all the balls. Mostly, this series feels like a jongleur came out and tossed up ten balls, dropped half of them, but then successfully juggled the remaining five for the duration of the series.There’s a lot of action throughout the series, so I was never bored. I was only minimally engaged with any of the characters, but just enough to keep my attention. Kal was probably my favorite overall. Jes is cool. I like Amaya and Denya and Maraya, though I wish I’d gotten to see more of them. Actually, I wonder if the problem is largely the fact that Jes is very focused on herself and the Fives, so you really don’t get to know anyone else that well, even the people to whom she is closest. The whole thing comes at you from a distance, like you’re sitting in the cheap seats watching the Fives tournament.There are so many dropped balls, plot lines that started in book one but just never ever culminated in anything. Wenru and Bettany are MASSIVELY UNDERUTILIZED. Wenru’s this creepy baby inhabited by a spirit that is fluent in Saroese, and I expected some fucked up shit. (view spoiler)[But nah, he’s just Lord Ottonor, and he’s able to testify against Gargaron’s treachery. (hide spoiler)] Bettany betrays her family in Poisoned Blade, and that could have had a huge emotional resonance. It’s so obvious that there should be another interaction, but, nope, she’s just gone. Realistic? Sure. Good fiction? Nah.Speaking of underutilized characters, Ro, for all that he’s massively important actually, doesn’t really serve any role in the series except to be the pining second love interest. There’s no chemistry really, and it’s just so awkward. I kept expecting the ship to flip at some point, because otherwise WHY would there be two books of love triangle drama, but it’s just there to serve as a metaphor for how Jes feels torn between her Saroese and Efean halves. Listen, the whole series is already about that very overtly, so the love triangle really doesn’t help at all.The timeframe also seems very short for all of this war to get neatly resolved, but I don’t know that much about military history, so maybe it can happen in a matter of months during a perfect storm of events. I do really like the bloodiness of the series; important characters die and Jes sustains injuries that will be with her forever.One of my favorite aspects of the series, though, again it could have been done more compellingly, is Jes’ mother’s development. Kiya starts out as an entirely passive character. She does everything that Jes’ dad says. When he abandons her, she descends into misery (partially due to childbirth in the absolute worst of circumstances). But, after that, while still not being a physical person and defaulting more to mild, she ends up helping to lead a revolution. That’s pretty cool.I enjoyed this series all the way through, but I doubt I’ll read it again. Mostly, I wish that I could have seen it done by someone like Sharon Shinn. I’d recommend Elemental Blessings or Summers at Castle Auburn over Court of Fives. I’d also recommend Elliott’s Spiritwalker trilogy over this one, because it has excellent character building; it’s still sloppy in terms of world building, but it’s much stronger overall.
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