The intro is part Game of Thrones, Shakespeare, and mystery – sign me up!
Five sisters, one of which is Jessamy, a strong willed daughter who seeks adventure and freedom, are prim and proper born to a family rising in power and expected to behave as the highborn. Since her father was born poor, but whose status has elevated due to his career and her mother is a commoner (who her father cannot marry!) the daughters are constantly insulted and considered commoner’s in their family’s new elevated status. They are not the same as highborn, yet they are not commoners. If this wasn’t challenging enough, Jessamy is a free spirit who wants to compete in the games of the Court of Fives.
The Fives is part gladiator games and part Ninja Warrior with alternating challenges of strength and flexibility. The contestants can be anyone who can afford the entry fee and they are masked so identities are unknown. Jessamy finds a way to enter, but she knows she must lose for winning would bring shame to her father and family – and they already have enough obstacles against them. Once her secret is discovered, by a fellow highborn contender, her life gets even more complicated. As Jessamy struggles with her want to compete, she must fight the urge of The Fives, but also with the want to see the boy she cannot.
When a death causes a life twist to Jessamy and her sisters, she both gets what she’s always wanted and also what she’s always feared – how does she choose between her dream and her personal freedom or her devotion to her family?
This is action, entertainment, character growth, and facing how allegiances made from the strangest of partners can be the strongest of partners [see, Shakespearean]. The writing is both old fashioned and beautiful, similarly as Jane Austen or other period pieces. I have a new insult: “Your argument is a sieve that cannot hold water”
There are plenty of twists, dangers to overcome, but mostly Jess learns that decisions aren’t always clear and even after made, sometimes there was no choice at all, but an unfortunate ending to those who do not control their own lives.
Series continues with: Poisoned Blade and a 3rd untitled.