Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliott. Although Kate Elliott has been one of my favorite fantasy authors for years, I had no idea she had begun a YA fantasy series.
The book is sort of "epic lite" in the very best way and is perfect for its target audience...and obviously, for me as well. It is not as long or as densely layered as some Elliott's other fantasy series, but characters, plot, tension, and action kept me riveted.
Poisoned Blade is the second in the series, but I didn't realize that when NetGalley offered it. I will have to go back and pick up Court of Fives.
Elliott creates complex characters and places them is situations that require decisions that test their characters. Jessamy, a skilled athlete whose initial goal is to become an Illustrious on the Court of Fives, finds that her role as the daughter of a Patron and a Commoner gives both advantages and disadvantages and that she is an outsider in both categories. Her entire belief system is shattered when a powerful Patron tears her family apart.
Jessamy must come to terms with both halves of herself and decide what is right in a number of challenging situations and do her best to save her family. Even though I have not yet read the first book in the series, I can see that Jess' character develops from an immature and slightly annoying girl at the beginning of Poisoned Blade to a young woman who must face some hard facts about herself and her world by the end.
I'm often drawn to secondary characters, and I have a special fondness for Amaya, Jess' sister whose character is remarkably vibrant and compelling. I want to know more about Amaya; her personality and courage make her especially intriguing.
NetGalley/Little Brown Books for Young Readers
YA Fantasy. Aug. 16, 2016. Print length: 481 pages.