Jes runs the game of Fives for ruthless Lord Gargaron, the Patron responsible for tearing her family apart; her winnings support her mother and sisters in hiding—but at the price of beating Kal, whom she loves.
The kinky-haired, dark-brown–skinned girl successfully navigates palace intrigues that threaten the safety of both her own family and golden-skinned Kal, but competing in the provinces, on tour for Gargaron, raises the stakes. Reunion with her twin, Bettany, and their sister, Amaya, brings both joy and horrifically unforeseen consequences. For a century, Commoners like their mother have been forced to serve the ruling Patrons, like their general father. Unrest is growing. Taking advantage of the Patrons’ brutal, internecine war for power and an imminent invasion from outside, Commoners see an opportunity to overthrow their oppressors. Jes must decide where she stands: with Patrons, like Kal and her humbly born father, fighting to repel a new Saroese invasion, or with her mother’s people, the long-dominated Efeans, led by handsome poet Ro-emnu, who has a thing for Jes? She’s a pawn in events beyond her control, but she’s also smart and strategically placed, with allies, a mission, and the will to succeed. With strong characters and vivid worldbuilding that refuses to oversimplify individuals, cultures, and the opposing forces they represent, this sequel to Court of Fives (2015) blends emotional intelligence, passionate idealism, and realpolitik in a plot ending at the cliff’s edge of revolutionary change.
At once nuanced and thrilling—a worthy sequel. (Fantasy. 12-18)