House Hornbolt is hosting the tournament and the family is about to go through some major changes. The oldest son will be fighting in the tournament and is favored to win, the second born son will be taking an oath to be a priest in the name of Arwin which he actually wants no part of and the eldest daughter will be married off to one of the eligible suitors competing in the joust. There’s a lot riding on the results of this joust and there are forces at work behind the scenes that’s affecting everyone involved. The only thing we know for sure is that the world will never be the same when the winner of the tournament is crowned.
The description I just gave for Be Careful What You Joust For by Ryan Hauge and Ivy Smoak isn’t a very good one. There is a lot going on in this book and if I wanted to mention everything about the plot this review would be 10,000 words. This book has a complex plot set in a complex fantasy world and no matter what kind of story you like to read you will find something in this tale that you’ll like. A story about love, power, religion, politics, family, tradition and loyalty, it’s all in this book. I love how the beginning of this epic adventure hooks you by stating that each respectable joust should have at least three deaths.
My favorite part of this book is how members of the Hornbolt family seem to be playing roles in society but in reality are something different. Isoloda is the wife to Garrion and unknown to anyone else she is also a crime lord going by the name Lady Marsilia. Her son Terric is being forced into the priesthood while he really wants to be like his brother Marcus and become a knight. We also have Garrion who has a secret and unbeknownst to him his wife suspects him of a murder and a theft that could change the whole kingdom. The Hornbolt family all have secrets they are keeping from each other and they are still trying to stick to their traditions. Beneath the surface they don’t fully embrace those traditions but despite that they still love each other.
If I had any complaint about this book it would be that it’s a little light on action. That being said I was so into everyone’s story and enjoying the fantasy world that Ryan and Ivy built that the lack of action was easily overlooked. I also loved the fact that the story didn’t go where I thought it would go. The characters are not black and white, at times they act like heroes and at other times they act like villains and that’s what makes this book so entertaining. That’s also what makes this fantasy feel like reality, no person is always good and no person is always bad. The ending of this book is left open and I’m anxiously awaiting the sequel.