All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The King’s Men by Nora Sakavic

on November 27, 2019

The King’s Men (All For The Game #3)
Nora Sakavic
Self-published
2014, 556p
Purchased personal copy via iBooks

Blurb {from Goodreads.com}:

Neil Josten is out of time. He knew when he came to PSU he wouldn’t survive the year, but with his death right around the corner he’s got more reasons than ever to live.

Befriending the Foxes was inadvisable. Kissing one is unthinkable. Neil should know better than to get involved with anyone this close to the end, but Andrew’s never been the easiest person to walk away from. If they both say it doesn’t mean anything, maybe Neil won’t regret losing it, but the one person Neil can’t lie to is himself.

He’s got promises to keep and a team to get to championships if he can just outrun Riko a little longer, but Riko’s not the only monster in Neil’s life. The truth might get them all killed—or be Neil’s one shot at getting out of this alive.

And so here we are. The end of this trilogy and I have to say – this was by far the best book, both writing and plot wise.

I think because for the most part, most of what the reader needs to know has been revealed and now it’s more about whether or not Neil can successfully dodge the speeding trains coming at him from both directions. It’s less about the made up game, although that is still a presence in the books as the Foxes steamroll their way to finals and focus on beating the Ravens and taking them down once and for all. But that’s more like background noise. The games aren’t described play by play, it doesn’t dominate the ins and outs of the story.

Neil is recovering from the vicious three weeks he spent at Castle Evermore, the home of the Ravens, because Neil is an idiot and constantly does stupid things. He’s benched by Abby, much to his chagrin, forced to watch the Foxes train from the sidelines. But Neil has to heal, lest he do himself even more damage and end up being ruled out for longer and miss more games. They are at the important end of the season now, the Foxes are looking better and more cohesive than they ever have before. For the first time they are an actual force to be reckoned with and everyone who bet against them is starting to rue the day. Only Riko and the Ravens remain disbelieving.

This book is by far the most violent – in the previous two, most of the violence, the real violence, has occurred off page. Neil’s stay at the Ravens, the abuse of Andrew etc, hasn’t been explicitly described. However when something comes home to roost for Neil, it’s brutal, it’s explicit and it is shocking to read. Because even though this series has been violent, most of it has been quite brief or implied. This is prolonged, sustained torture, things done to hurt someone enormously but not in a way that will significantly damage them. In fact, the opposite. It will hurt a lot and it’s something that will be able to be kept up for quite a long time. It definitely wasn’t easy to read and it’s a scary thought that there probably are people like that out in the world.

In my review of the first book, I mentioned that there was an eventual romance in this series and I wanted to keep reading to find out how that came about. Well, I kept reading and I’m still not really any the wiser how it happens? It just….kind of does. Sort of. In that it’s not really a romance in the traditional sense, what I’m used to. Because both of these people are not your typical college kids, both have had messed up lives, both definitely have trust issues, one has physical touching issues and barely appears to flicker with emotion at all. So it’s weird in a way, because it’s very understated and very subtle, especially the lead up. And there are definitely no deep and meaningful discussions – there are barely words. There’s some kissing, but little else. I have mixed feelings about it. In some ways it sort of works. There’s some hints beforehand, there’s definitely other people that figure it out and use it in order to get one of them to do what they want. But it didn’t feel like the payoff was something to slog through 3 books and over a thousand pages for! I was hoping for more, I’m not going to deny that….but perhaps ‘more’ wouldn’t have worked for those two and the tone that the books have set. Nothing about it was easy and I suppose it wouldn’t have suited the books to have this grand love story.

This series felt very slapdash in the first book, a mishmash of ideas that the author had and didn’t know what to do with. It was like she threw in every single thing that popped into her head and then had to use book 2 and 3 to sort through the mess of tangled storylines and to her credit, it eventually works. There are still things that I feel were tossed in for little or no reason and things came together in ways that felt quite neat but something was always going to have to give in a miracle fashion if Neil wasn’t going to end up riddled with bullets or chopped up into small pieces. There were some things that I wanted to happen and one of them most definitely did in this book and it was equally satisfying as it was horrifying.

I think what I enjoyed the most was the evolution of the Foxes. By the time we get to the end of this book, they’re a team in pretty much every sense of the word. They have come together time and time again to protect each other and support each other in the best ways that they know how, sometimes the only ways in which some of them will allow themselves to be protected and supported – on the court. But off it too, especially for Neil, who has lied to them and lied to them, over and over again, they continue to show up for him, to hear him out, to forgive him his transgressions. And for that he brings them together and makes them a cohesive unit, which is something that no one has been able to do before. In some ways, some of the players will never have standard, stereotypical friendships. What we think about in terms of being friends with someone. But they’ll have each other’s backs and defend each other until the end. And a bunch of misfits went all the way. So that was fun.

I found this one a satisfying end to the trilogy and even though I had my issues with it, I enjoyed this one enough to be glad I read it. It’s still weird. There’s still a bunch of stuff that doesn’t make sense. But it was entertaining.

7/10

Book #197 of 2019

 


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