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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Buried Heart by Kate Elliott

Buried Heart by Kate Elliott

Book Stats:  

Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: High fantasy
Hardcover: 467 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release date: July 25, 2017

Series: Court of Fives, #3

Source: Library

Reviewed by: Kara

Order: Amazon | Book Depository

Choose between your parents.
Choose between your friends.
Choose between your lovers.
Choose who you are.
On the run from the murderous King Nikonos, Jessamy must find a way for her beloved Kalliarkos to take his rightful place on the throne. Only then can he end the oppression of the Commoners by their long time Patron overlords. But Kal's rise to power is fraught with manipulation and shocking decisions that make Jes question everything they promised each other. As their relationship frays and Jes's family and friends beg her for help, will she cast Kal and her Patron heritage aside? Will she finally join--even lead--the rebellion that had been burning among the Commoners for years?
This explosive finale of World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott's Court of Five series forces Jessamy to confront an inescapable truth: with or without her, the revolution has begun.

If you recall, my earlier reviews noted how hard it is to continue this book as a standalone. I recommend reading the series all at once due to the complicated political and familial nuances that are hard to grasp from one book to the next. This final novel in the Court of Fives series has allowed Jessamy and Kal to both come into their own forms of leadership, Kal's obviously because of his birthright, but Jessamy too for her parents' leadership positions and her own cunning reputation as Spider. The tensions between the Efeans and the Saroese are high, and Kalliarkos and his allies plus Jessamy and the Efean rebellion are all treading treacherous ground in evading Prince Nikonos's forces and then Lord Gargaron's own house. The game for the Efean throne has a lot of players and everyone Jessamy loves seems to be on different sides. Jessamy herself has more inner conflict to resolve as she's still trying to understand what parts of her are Saroese and what are Efean and even, what make up neither that is uniquely her.

"Heartbreak is the wine of poets."

As foreshadowed earlier in the series, Jessamy's status as half-Efean presents a big relationship gap between her and Kal, and with his Kingship and Jessamy's position as his lover, her race and gender make her easier to be pushed aside as illegitimate by Lord Gargaron or even at risk of assassination. Though Kal would insist she be legitimate rather than his mistress, Jessamy will never command the respect due a queen, neither would the people embrace a "mule" heir. Jessamy must face humiliation and the obvious machinations to seduce Kal despite their affections, but even with the threat of being a pawn against Kal, Jessamy shows her courage and talent as a Fives strategist. Her strength of cunning is what pushes this book to its powerful conclusion.

I loved this book and this series. The conflicts of gender, race, class, family, and morality are so well-drawn and real. The best things in this series, though, are Jessamy and Kal. Both challenge all the stereotypes of their world and use their actions to change the game, change their worlds. Jessamy's parents are atypical YA parents because they have strong relationships with her and show they love her and want the best for her and to keep her safe, but Jessamy shows she's ready for more adult power in rebelling against them when they treat her like a child. Most of the time, she makes the difference in keeping her family alive, even if she actually just doesn't understand their reasoning. It's a really beautiful coming-of-age story with a fierceness of love, loyalty and sacrifice. There are some epic twists at the end, and despite these minor heartattacks, the finale is ultimately satisfying. If you've been missing out on this subtle but powerful fantasy series, what are you waiting for?


Kara is a teen librarian living in the southeastern US with her husband (who listens to books), young daughter (who sleeps with books), and dog (who tastes the books). She loves all sorts of books, but mostly YA, and will never catch up to all of the wonderful things to read.

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