The Foxhole Court (All for the Game #1)


The Foxhole Court (All for the Game #1) by Nora Sakavic

Blurb:

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.

Review:

This was a weird book for me. Really weird. The kind of weird where I finished it and I wasn't sure whether I liked it or really, really didn't like it. At first I didn't like it - and I still think that it is objectively bad - but then I kinda got into the story and I thought it had finally managed to sweep me off my feet (no matter what my objective brain wants to think of it) but then that also didn't really happen and I quickly returned to the feeling of "I don't really like this" without actually relenting any of the speed I had gained during the preceding high-phase. So I ended up being dragged through the book, which makes me think I did enjoy it, without actually enjoying myself? Am I even making any sense at all?

It was strange sliding it into the knob and listening to the lock clack undone. Coach Hernandez occasionally let Neil sleep in the Millport High locker room, but it never occurred to him to give Neil a key. Instead he looked the other way whenever Neil broke in. Keys meant Neil had explicit permission to be here and do what he liked. They meant he belonged.

First things first: The bad.
  1. Yes, I really like messed-up characters, they're so interesting to hear from and it's soo intriguing to spy all their little cracks and weak spots and insecurities and stuff. But what is this book even? Like, every single character was totally messed up and traumatized (even if you don't know how exactly, yet) and the Neil's backstory is just a giant mess? Seriously, this took all the fun out of messed-up characters. Moreover, none of them were believable in any way, shape, or form. How do you explain a psychopathic, violent maniac who enjoys hurting people and is constantly on medication and whom everyone is deathly afraid of? Sure, he could hurt you but that doesn't explain how he manages to be this giant shield against all evil (except himself)?? I just didn't get it.
  2. The sport. How does it work? Does it even work? Did Sakavic even try actually inventing a sport or did she just combine some ice-hokey crashes with lacrosse-sticks and hope for the best? It felt like the second option. I just couldn't picture it. It didn't make any sense to me.
  3. Nothing much actually happens in the story, once you think about it. This could be nice to get to know your characters but the characters were such a mess that I just … couldn't.
  4. The stupidity of some characters. If you've been running from your messed-up past your whole life, you've travelled all over the world to not be spotted by the ones you're running from and you're living with a false identity … how tf do you think you can get away with joining a sports team that is frequently portrayed on national news/television/etc.?
  5. So much drug abuse. Also, you can't just invent your own "super harmless" drug (without any rules - just like Exy) just to have even more drug abuse and let people who "normally don't do drugs" also have a shot at drug abuse. I don't think drugs should be stigmatized and it would be really interesting to actually see drugs through different angles in literature but this was just a plain weird portrayal of everything "medical".  
  6. Total lack of any kind of emotional attachment to anything. This is due to a combination of all of the above.
These are pretty much my major quarrels with the book. I constantly came back to these critiques when I was reading The Foxhole Court.

Secondly, the okay:
  1. There were some pretty nice lines of prose in this book.
  2. There were some characters I would have liked to know more about.
Yeah, I can't come up with any more than that. In fact, I just came up with another factor for the "The Bad" section above. I'm sure that tells you all you need to know about my feelings towards this book. 

Except it doesn't. But you might get why I'm so confused as to how I managed to stay hooked and  how come I actually want to read the next book? It's confusing. Ultimately, if I had to describe my feelings towards this story I'd say I feel empty inside, not like I've been hollowed out by emotions but like there have never been any emotions and now wind is just howling through my lifeless shell. I don't hate the book, although I really disliked the aspects mentioned above, I don't feel anything about this book, in fact, and it is weird. Still, I'll probably read the next one. Just because.

I am genuinely curious, though: People, how can you be so obsessed with this series? How can you ignore all the weird and bad and weirdly bad because these are all such prominent features and I don't see any redeeming qualities? I honestly would like to love this book as much as so many people seem to love it but I don't get it and it's kinda annoying me.

Rating:

There is another instance where I was so unsure of what I should rate a book that I ended up not rating it at all but that was a good book and I wanted to give it a good rating I just couldn't place it exactly. This one is a bad book and I don't know exactly where I want to place it on my scale. It now feels like no rating should be a good thing but in this case it isn't. 

Details:

Name: The Foxhole Court
Series: All for the Game
Author: Nora Sakavic
Pages: 260
Where?: Amazon (the ebook is free so you might as well give it a shot, I guess?)

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