Review #1-3 of All for the Game Series

The King's Men - Nora Sakavic

I finished this series a few days ago, and I don't really know what to write in a review. This series have filled me with such conflicting emotions.

 

The story had me intrigued, interested, curious, shocked, irritated, frustrated, sad, emotional, bored, annoyed, terrified, exhilarated, cheering, face palmed, shocked again, disappointed, confused, hopeful, glad, gleeful, sorrow, and basically just a general feeling of WTF throughout the series, both positive and negative.

 

I'm choosing to write a joint review of the series, and not the individual books, #1 The Foxhole Court, #2 The Raven King, and #3 The King's Men, because you really don't get the full picture until you've finished the series.

 

The story in very simplified, and short terms is about Neil Josten, who has been on the run from his crazy murderous mobster of a father for the last eight years. Neil decides to stop running since he's out of options, and joins a team who plays Exy (a made up game that's kinda like lacross in a way, I think). At the Palmetto University he finds a "team" of fucked up individuals, all with their own issues. I say "team" in loose terms, because they really don't function as a team as all, and have been on the bottom of the rankings for ages. The series follow Neil and his team as they train and play Exy, and develops as a team, but also as individuals. At the same time having deadly enemy rivals like one opposing team, and their captain, in addition to crime syndicates. 

 

There is so much stuff happening in these books, it really is impossible to sum it up. It just needs to be read and experienced.

 

I'm choosing to give this series as a whole 4 stars. I can't honestly say I enjoyed all of it, since I raged and rolled my eyes through a lot of the events. At the same time, though, a lot of it was great. See list of emotions above. I liked getting to know the characters and the story. I couldn't wait to find out what happened and how it all would end. I didn't feel exactly happy finishing, I felt mostly relief. Also, shocked, because that epilogue! Aren't epilogues supposed to leave you with a smile on your face, and not a horrified grimace?

 

Anyway, these books are not a romance, and shouldn't be read as such either. It's a story about making complicated pieces of a puzzle fitting together when an outside force threatens with you with violence and death. AKA a group of individuals trying to work together as a team playing a game they love. It's literally ALL FOR THE GAME in every way. There are violence and deaths (yes, plural) in the story. They are not an easy read. In the last book there is also a romance blossoming. I felt it was a very non-romantic romance.There wasn't a lot of sweetness described. But that doesn't mean it wasn't important. It was grand and very emotional, so subtle, at the same time all consuming. 

 

The author has done a fabulous job writing this book. The writing is brilliant, and she doesn't hold your hand with the story. You need to put things together yourself, which may leave you confused and exhausted, until they are revealed or hinted at later. Hence, I think a re-read of the series will make several scenes and happenings make more sense. I think I will definitely appreciate everything more reading it again, when my shock factor isn't as huge as it was reading it the first time.

 

Kudos to Nora Sakavic, who not only wrote a series, but made a Foxhole universe. She introduced me to the crazy, fucked up characters who lives there, whom I was mostly frustrated with, but couldn't help caring for.

 

"Yes or no?"

"It's always yes with you."