All for the Game – Nora Sakavic

Summary:  Neil Josten is the newest addition to the Palmetto State University Exy team. He’s short, he’s fast, he’s got a ton of potential—and he’s the runaway son of the murderous crime lord known as The Butcher.

Signing a contract with the PSU Foxes is the last thing a guy like Neil should do. The team is high profile and he doesn’t need sports crews broadcasting pictures of his face around the nation. His lies will hold up only so long under this kind of scrutiny and the truth will get him killed.

But Neil’s not the only one with secrets on the team. One of Neil’s new teammates is a friend from his old life, and Neil can’t walk away from him a second time. Neil has survived the last eight years by running. Maybe he’s finally found someone and something worth fighting for. (From Goodreads)

I’m going to be honest; I don’t know how I really feel about this series. I think this stems mostly from the fact that I spent three books suspending my disbelief like it had cut class too many times.

This story is interesting. I truly enjoyed the fictional co-ed sport of Exy. Violent like hockey, but played similar to lacrosse? Lmao sign me UP. The problem is that this series can’t decide if it wants to be a sports anime or a mobster film, so it doesn’t deliver on either. The violent criminal aspect seems to appear for pure shock value, while the sports sequences seemed inconsequential to the fact that people are literally being murdered.

Then there’s the romance. Okay, I have to get something off my chest: there’s a difference between slow burn and NO BURN. The internet spoiled the Neil/Andrew relationship about halfway through the first book, so I spent the entire first part of the series trying to see when this slow burn was going to start. And it just… didn’t? It didn’t even seem like they cared about each other at all? When they finally did start kissing in the third book, it appeared to be a little forced and not??? Fun??? Somewhere in the second half of the third book, their relationship seemed to become more natural and believable, but I was left wondering where all those feelings had been in the previous parts of the story.

Now back to the whole suspending my disbelief thing. There were several things where I had to put the book down and be like, “Okay well I guess it works for the story.” Andrew’s perfectly timed withdrawal symptoms? Openly actual organized crime? A sports teams of only nine people? BELLS RINGING TO SIGNAL THE END OF A COLLEGE CLASS?

But whatever. I finished the series, so there was something that kept me until the very end. Still up for debate if it was worth it.

Series Rating:  ★★☆☆☆ (really more like two and a half though) 

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