Poisoned Blade (Court of Fives #2) by Kate Elliott
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Goodreads Summary: In this thrilling sequel to World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott's captivating young adult debut, a girl immersed in high-stakes competition holds the fate of a kingdom in her hands.

Now a Challenger, Jessamy is moving up the ranks of the Fives--the complex athletic contest favored by the lowliest Commoners and the loftiest Patrons alike. 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 her traveling party puts Jes 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.
Rating: 4 Stars
Jessamy must fight a war in order to rescue those she loves. However, she is playing a dangerous game where one misstep could make her lose everything. As she balances a double life, she must also decide who she is and what she stands for. Saroese, Efean... or neither? When you're backed into a corner, how do you choose your own path?

Poisoned Blade follows Jes as our beloved heroine climbs up the Fives ladder gaining popularity and status. Using her public image she is able to overhear many secret conversations and takes off on her own, but sometimes what is disguised as the truth are only misleading lies.

Prince Kalliarkos reappears in the second half of the book too, but his relationship with Jessamy is still frayed; it doesn't help that Jes's father General Esladas has forbidden it. They both must forgive and forget their anger in order to trust each other again.

Many risks are taken as Jes hopes for a good end result. Her dangerous missions often resulted in a victory on her part, and I would've liked Poisoned Blade more if Kate Elliott put her characters through some more difficult situations. Jessamy is reunited with her family, but the situation is very different. I want to see more of Esladas and Bettany, I think their characters are a crucial part of this series and they should get more spotlight.

I absolutely loved reading the action parts of this book, but didn't like the court intrigue and gossip side of it so much. There is something missing, and I can't quite put my finger on what exactly it is but I know I was searching for it while reading those scenes. Kate Elliott is fluent in the customs and language of her fantasy universe and I am happy she constantly explained some of the differences between Efean and Saroese plus the distinctions of each.
Purchase Location: Borrowed From Library
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"The only person I can rely on is myself." —Jessamy Garon, Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliott
Recommended for: Fans of high fantasy and adventure.