Friday, February 5, 2016

Foxhole Court (All for the Game #1)

Posted by A Drop of Romeo at 2:00 PM
The Foxhole Courby Nora Sakavic

Age: Young Adult / Adult
Category: Contemporary, LGTQIA+
Rating: 5 stars

Rosie Thinks: To put this review in a little bit of context, I'm writing this after waiting two years for the final book in this series to come out, and that book has sky-rocketed this series into becoming one of my favourites of all time. Within the first few chapters of reading the third book, I knew I could reread it straight away after finishing it and still love it just as much (and let me tell you, I NEVER feel like that). But let's rewind to the first book!

These books revolve around the made-up sport of Exy - a mix of ice hockey and lacrosse - and focuses on Neil Josten. Neil has just been scouted for the Palmetto State University Foxes, an Exy team famous for signing players from broken homes. As the runaway son of a violent criminal, he knows he can't afford his face to be in the spotlight, but his obsession with Exy doesn't allow him to turn the opportunity down. Not only does he have to battle his own inner demons, but the other Foxes are straightaway suspicious and wary of him. A lot of the conflict comes from this, but one of the other strong plot lines is that of the Foxes being the underdogs of the Exy world, and their fierce and brutal rivalry with the top-ranked Ravens.

I went into these books thinking they'd be your everyday sports m/m romance that I've read a million times before, with the addition of traumatised characters (nothing gets me better than a bit of angst). But it was so much more! Despite me labelling this slash, there's no romance in the first book at all, and the character I thought would be the love interest wasn't (which, in hindsight, THANK GOD). Don't let that put you off! What you get instead is an incredible story with an insane cast of characters. I would be hard-pressed to think of another book with characterisation as individual and perfect as in this. Each of them had their own past and set of problems, no more so than the psychotic, insane Andrew. He is one of the most complex characters I've ever read about and even at the end of three books, I still shocked as to how Sakavic even created and wrote someone like him. I think it was a risk to write a character like him, that could so easily come off as unrealistic or too violent, but the risk paid off.

And Neil. Our darling MC with all the secrets and lies he tells not only to the other characters, but to reader themselves. He's smart and strong, but also so lost and terrified. These novels show his growth as he incrementally opens himself up to the Foxes and learns that there are other ways to live than being on the run. And it's not just him that develops and progresses as a character - a lot of the others do as well.

Even though this technically revolves around sport, I would recommend to everyone even if they didn't like sports stories. It doesn't get too technical and complex and bogged down in the theory of the sport. Instead, the sport scenes are used to further the plot and the character development. First and foremost, I found this to be a character-based story, with all their dark and twisted histories and personalities as they learnt to interact with each other. It was quite hard to write this review, as these books contain so much and my love for them is out of this world, but I hope I've done them justice!

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