Review: The King’s Men by Nora Sakavic

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The King’s Men by Nora Sakavic (All For the Game #3) / My rating: ★★★★☆

One sentence summary: The once disjointed Foxes are on a path to victory, and when Neil’s violent past begins winding its way back to him he finds he doesn’t want to run anymore.

“It’s always been ‘lie’ and ‘hide’ and ‘disappear.’ I’ve never belonged anywhere or had the right to call anything my own. But Coach gave me keys to the court, and you told me to stay. You gave me a key and called it home.”

Genre: Contemporary/Sports

Level: Young Adult

Plot: The plot in this book is fierce and frightening when Neil isn’t having warm, fuzzy feelings of friendship for his teammates and, particularly, for his formerly drugged and alleged sociopathic teammate Andrew, which progresses into one of the most unique romances I’ve ever read. The pacing, however, took a slight turn from the first two books. The first climax  of the plot occurs about two thirds of the way through the book, and a second takes place at the end. The scenes in between these two climaxes revert to the slower pace of the first half of the book, leaving me with the impression that this book could have benefited from being two novels. Additionally, as I’ve expressed in my reviews of the last two books, I sometimes found details vague, as if I was missing key points to the plot and characters that the author understood, but I did not, which I had hoped to find more clarity on by the time I reached the end of the story. Still, I very much enjoyed this book, and while this is the longest book in the series, I read it the fastest. I simply could not put it down- except when the violence got so intense and explicit I had to avert my eyes from the words. Despite how heartwarming the story does become, these are heavy books, and are NOT for the faint of heart. Still, it was a packed plot that I very much enjoyed.

Characters: The character development throughout the three novels is my favorite aspect of this series. It’s the mark of a great story when I start out hating a character, and by the end they have my heart. With this series, this happened with everyone. (…except, still, Kevin. Kevin does have development in this last book, but I still felt he was flat, and could have been developed miles and miles more). The highlights were most definitely Neil and Andrew Minyard, individually and within their relationship. After reading Andrew, I’ve never felt so conflicted about my affection for a character, and for that I applaud Nora Sakavic. Sakavic does a remarkable job of making her characters human and likable despite their callous tendencies.

Writing: Sakavic’s writing shone more brightly to me in The King’s Men than it did in the last two novels, mainly because I think she really has a knack for writing romance and beautifying the physicality of it. Sakavic is clearly a very talented writer, but what I said for the previous two novels still stands.

Was I satisfied? I was 90%  satisfied. The story was well rounded, but some things felt too passively resolved, and other things never came to fruition at all, such as Neil’s player picks for the future team. They were mentioned repeatedly throughout the book, but we never found out who they were, even though it seemed very important to Neil. Some characters were introduced with much potential, as if they would contribute something important that was yet to be revealed, but then were never seen much again (Jeremy, Jean, the Raven team as a whole, even Kevin). Andrew’s past felt vaguely described, and I never got a very firm grasp on it (Proust????), nor did I ever completely understand the nature of the promise between him and Aaron (why couldn’t they date people? What’s the point? Protection?).  To sum it up, the vagueness and passivity of certain plot points was my major gripe with this book and this series. However, these books were extremely entertaining, gripped my heart with both hands, and despite their violent and dark themes, they were fun to read. Finishing these books was like finishing a 10 mile race, and only when you finish the last page can you breathe easy again.

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11 thoughts on “Review: The King’s Men by Nora Sakavic

  1. I never warmed up to Keven either. He was probably the only character that I didn’t think had much growth. I think, what we did get, was more of a telling than a showing for me. You didn’t see hints of change prior to being just hit with them. I’m not sure I believed it.

    Andrew and Neil, and Andrew and Aaron were probably my favorite relationships in the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah I’m so glad you say that about Kevin! Everyone seems to love him, but I totally agree with you about telling and showing with his character. I feel like he was really significant, but he wasn’t always…present, I guess. We were definitely told me about him than what we saw of him. Which I think could easily have been fixed, since Neil had those private lessons with him. Oh well. And YES I Neil and Andrew, and Andrew and Aaron were also my favorites. Aaron especially intrigued me.

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      • I would have loved to have seem more depth between Andrew and Aaron’s healing, but with as damaged as she made those characters, maybe it’s never going to be truly healed. Maybe allowing each other to move on is as good as it gets?

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      • I don’t know that Andrew has that ability. He’s only grabby with Neil, he’s not even really warm to him.

        No, I didn’t know! Now you’ve given me a new obsession, haha.

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      • That’s what I’m doing now, for the rest of my work day. Like, I just died a little reading when Andrew realized Neil was ‘it’ for him. Makes me want to their scenes in King’s Men.

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      • Me too, I just finished it and I trying not to go back and reread. I think it’s just really strange that I’m so consumed with it when I really did think the actual plot was pretty silly.

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      • Haha, I’d definitely say it’s the characters. I love reading the stuff that expands on their relationships and their lives. I do think these books could potentially stand to get a rewrite, because I feel like the author just has SO MUCH that doesn’t all get wrapped up in the actual books, and obviously she has a lot more that she hasn’t even written. That, and the plot could definitely get cleaned up a bit, I sometimes got lost in all the stuff about Neil’s past.

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