Court of Fives is yet another book with a self-absorbed female protagonist centered around a bread and circuses competition – this one somewhat similar to the challenges in American Gladiator with 5 changing obstacles testing agility, balance and strength – released in the years immediately following the success of Hunger Games. Rather than a dystopia, the games occur in a world of relative prosperity, yet with endlessly feuding, intermarried, nobility.
Perhaps it’s just that I picked this up immediately after reading N.K Jemison, but something just felt “off” about the conflict between the conquering, higher-status Patrons (with their straight black hair and pale golden complexion) and the native-born Commoners (who are people of color with coily hair, dark skin, and differently shaped eyes). The constant emphasis on how our protagonist’s mixed-race limited her options, and the racist epithets throughout just grated.
I don’t want to say too much for fear of spoilers, but while I didn't predict it in advance, the connection between the Court of Fives competition and the remnant native religion, just seemed trite. But despite these flaws, I found myself draw in to the world and staying up late to binge-finish.