Jessamy is frustrated with her life. She is the daughter of a Patron father who is a soldier on the rise and she is expected to act as a proper Patron girl who is barely seen and whose only job is to make a suitable match which in her case is impossible because her mother is a Commoner which makes her a mule and unfit to be the wife of a Patron. Add to this that she is restless and her only desire is to run the Fives, a series of intricate physical trials that is a pathway to glory, even for Commoners. She has convinced her sisters to lie for her so she can run in a real Fives challenge even if she must lose at the end to avoid being unmasked and risking her father's wrath. On the course, she meets Killiarkos, a noble Patron who is having family difficulties of his own and an unlikely friendship strikes up between them. However the forces that are trying to control Killiarkos's life have now decided to meddle with Jessamy's family as well. Now they must work together if either is to have any hope of controlling their lives.
An interesting world where you are dealing with racial tensions between a conquering and conquered peoples but we are seeing it mainly from the point of view of a young teenage girl who straddles both sides and thus is claimed by neither. It works well especially as she is dealing with her own turbulent emotions inside and a world that is crumbling around her on the outside. It was well paced with engaging, believable characters and my only issue with it was that as Jessamy has been being strong and brave for the entire book, along comes a scene where all of sudden for no really good reason she has to fall apart so Killiarkos can step in to rescue her. I felt that it was out of character for her and was done just to have her rescued by the "prince" at the very end which seemed disingenuous. I am looking forward to the second book coming out in a few months.
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