Series Review: All for the Game

Hahahaha nope. Me and this series are in a fight.

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.

Honestly, if you'd have told me in January that by the time the summer came around in all it's thundery glory I would be fully invested in a cast of utterly unlikeable characters and obsessed with a made-up game that's like a really angry kind of lacrosse then....I would have totally believed you. I am very self-aware.


Let me talk to you about this trilogy of books I read by Nora Sakavic. The series as a whole is known as All for the Game and is made up of The Foxhole Court, The Raven King, and The King's Men and I have a lot of feelings about it because it wandered around casually ticking so many of my boxes.

Basically (although wow there is no basically about these books at all ever) they're about a university Exy team - Exy is a made up game, think lacrosse but with fighting and a game which I am obsessed with now so thanks for that Sakavic; I am so tempted to get myself a Foxes jersey - who have these really really complicated lives and it's just super duper intense.

The writing is so addictive, which is weird actually because if I'm being brutally honest, I don't think these are the best books ever written; some of the dialogue for example is just. so. clumpy and there is defo such a thing as too much description, but I think that there's just so much going on and so much drama and so much that has you either face-palming or wincing in shock that I just got totally drawn in and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. I read the first two books back to back, because I couldn't think about anything else and then I forced myself to take a breath before the third and basically I just loved it in that 'I'm not sure why I love this but I absolutely do' kind of a way.

I think part of the issue is the way that I am just always here for all the anti-heroes and all the idiots making the most questionable choices and all the toxic relationships. I love me a morally questionable, probably needs some kind of counselling kind of a character and that's pretty much every single person in these books. Some of them are just idiots, some of them could possibly described as morally toxic and I am obsessed with them all.

I also love a slow burn enemies to lovers thing and YES THIS SERIES HAS THAT TOO. Like actually, the slowest of all the slow burns.

There's gang violence and abuse - so many trigger warnings with this, actually - and teenagers on the run too afraid to stand still and trust anybody and so many many attitude problems. Sometimes it gets really dark and then sometimes from nowhere it made my heart melt or my own laugh catch me by surprise. It's chock full of feelings this series and sometimes it's really hard to organise them into any kind of an order. It's a lot.

The character development from book one to book three is pretty outstanding  - Andrew especially, just let me put him in my pocket for always please - and that is a thing that I love - give me all the character driven stories please. These books made me feel things, probably more so because I was so invested in these kids who were all so complex and fascinating; by the end I was genuinely not sure how much more I could take because, and I'll say it again, this book goes to some super dark places and makes itself comfortable there but I felt like it handled most things really well - the whole theme of consent, in book three especially, is so so so well done. I felt like doing actual clapping. It's just that I  loved all of these idiots and I just really needed some good stuff to start happening to them. If you want hearts and flowers and typical happy endings, walk away now because these are not the books for you.

It's a ridiculous series full of broken kids that all deserve so much more and it made me feel all the things and I feel like I might never be over it and I am not ok about it. It's actually funny how I've just read this review back and realised that I am making these books sound awful, but you're just going to have to trust me on this - this series is so so far from awful.

Also there is so much Foxhole Court merch available that my bank balance is crying.