Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliott

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Court of Fives book 2. Little, Brown and Company, 2017. ISBN 9780316344388
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Fantasy. 2017 Locus Awards nominee. An exciting sequel to Court of fives by World Fantasy Award finalist Kate sees Jes now moving up the ladder as she competes in the The Fives, the difficult athletic contest that she loves. She goes to the countryside with Lord Gargaron's entourage, competing against others on the way and gaining good experience while earning enough to help her family. At the same time, she gets caught up in the political machinations that are happening in the country. An attack on her party finds Jes caught up in a battle and meeting up with Lord Kalliarkos once more.
In Poisoned Blade, Jes once more proves that not only is she an outstanding athlete, she has the capacity to think things through and to see the patterns in the events that surround her. She also has to prove herself as a warrior, taking on the enemy that is trying to slaughter the army her father leads.
This is a thrilling story with much to recommend it. Jes is a wonderful main character, her personality and bravery shine throughout the story. Her relationships with her family are complex and the reader gets to know her sisters better as they begin to take on important roles in the story. Her feelings for Kalliarkos remain strong even though it appears that this romance should be doomed because of her position as a Commoner.
Themes of class, race, belonging and power permeate the story and make it a fabulous read. It is however ideal to have read the first in the series, Court of Fives to gain the best understanding of the setting and plot.
Pat Pledger