Last book! Longest book! Series review coming soon!
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
The King’s Men by Nora Sakavic
Synopsis From The Book
Neil Josten is out of time. He knew when he came to PSU he wouldn’t survive the year, but with his death right around the corner he’s got more reasons than ever to live. Befriending the Foxes was inadvisable. Kissing one is unthinkable. Neil should know better than to get involved with anyone this close to the end, but Andrew’s never been the easiest person to walk away from. If they both say it doesn’t mean anything, maybe Neil won’t regret losing it, but the one person Neil can’t lie to is himself. He’s got promises to keep and a team to get to championships if he can just outrun Riko a little longer, but Riko’s not the only monster in Neil’s life. The truth might get them all killed—or be Neil’s one shot at getting out of this alive.
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
I’m so HYPED for this last book. Reading it immediately after the second. Mind you, I’m reading these online and not with physical copies because I could not wait. Shame on me, I suppose, I’ll have them soon enough.
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
Well that was a fantastic ending and in some ways it’s violence was only necessary for the amount of drama and violence that was already in this. It was perfectly excruciating and perfectly fun to read. I’m happy in many ways and okay with the fact that in some, I obsessed to finish this all in one day. It was a fun read.
This book begins after the events of the second. Long story short, now everyone knows where Neil was for winter break. They come back and Kevin has been hit a few times, and they all think he was doing it for Kevin. Neil gives them a bit more about his past and they go to collect Andrew. Andrew has changed in his time at the hospital. Now that he is off his drugs, he is not smiling, and everything he does is without so much of a care for himself.
The team has fractured once more and Neil is tasked with trying to get it back together. With his new marking as number four, he is a target of questions about the Perfect Court. Neil calls Riko and the Ravens out further.
Neil pushes Andrew to the point where he realizes that all of Andrew’s pent up hate and anger towards him is also veiled in sexual frustration, along with a mess of traumas. They begin a weird, not relationship-relationship thing. Meanwhile, Neil pushes Andrew and Aaron to confront one and other about the distance and promises between them. This cumulates in an explosion everyone can see, with a few unsavory admissions from Andrew.
The foxes are destroying in the finals. After one game, Neil realizes that he has toed the line of safety for as far as he could when he sees his father’s henchmen. His father’s people create a scene and kidnap Neil. Neil’s tattoo and parts of his face are burned off and cut. He is then brought to his father who prepares to kill him. His hands, fingers, and arms are badly hurt when Neil’s uncle comes in and shoots the place up. His father dies, and Neil is told the FBI are coming. He has to keep the real enemies’ name out of his mouth. The FBI rescue him and want to put him under witness protection.
He demands he see his team. The FBI is pretty sure his team doesn’t want to see him, and Neil says that at least Andrew will and he would make the team stay. The FBI brings him to his team. Andrew had been cuffed to stop him from being violent. When Andrew sees Neil, he almost goes rabid, and Neil makes Andrew focus on him. Andrew does and calms down so much as Neil is not out of his sight. Neil explains himself the best he can to Andrew and then Andrew and Neil go with the FBI to get all the answers.
Neil is finally released, with his name Neil Josten being given to him as an alias for real. Andrew was with him the entire time, and refuses to let Neil leave his side. He has a panic attack about his injuries, but Andrew helps him. Neil found out that Kevin gave them as much information as he could about Neil when they met him with the FBI, here Neil fills in the rest of the details. The team accepts him and benches him until he is healed enough to play.
The team goes on vacation before the storm truly begins, and everyone asks about Andrew and Neil trying to understand when it happened. It hasn’t because they aren’t really a thing. Neil’s news is going to spread and in order to combat that Kevin tells the world that their coach his his dad. He then calls Riko out for being abusive. Aaron and his gf are good to go, because Aaron told Andrew that if Andrew took her from Aaron, Aaron would take Neil from Andrew.
The whole team comes together after their game with the Trojans (rank 2), to start the night time practices, even if it is a little late before their fight with the Ravens. Before the last night, Kevin changes his two to the Queen piece on chess, because Riko can be the King and constantly protected. Kevin is going to be the most deadly piece on the board.
The Raven vs the Foxes goes down, and half way though Neil changes to defense when the defense line can’t hold back the Ravens. He is rusty but he spent two weeks in hell almost unable to stand or walk being trained in that position. He marks Riko and is able to keep him down just enough that Kevin can shoot the last score and win the game. Neil calls Riko second best, and Riko goes to hit him with his racket (people can die with those things, so…) and Andrew interferes, breaking Riko’s arm.
The teams are retained as the cops swarm, and before they can leave Neil is called to the Moriyama’s by Lord Ichirou, and watches as Riko is killed. Neil has gotten himself and a few others their freedom. The book ends on a happy note of what that means.
What I Liked:
How the violence cumulates; we were told this was dark in book one, and the ending is super dark. I wasn’t actually expecting it. This is a sports book series after all.
Neil and Andrew; This slow burn is one for the legends. It was brilliant and paced well enough that I cold believe how obtuse Neil is. Neil and Andrew’s pasts influence their decisions but not their futures, and I like that. I also like how what has happened to them has weight, which is why they fell to each other in the first place. Book two is where you really get the notes on it happening, but book three is where the fire fully starts. In a club where Andrew says he hates Neil but would also blow Neil.
Sports; As much outside drama as there was, there was equal time spent on the game and that story.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
More for the ending. I want to see the repercussions of what happens. I want to see all the great things happen. I want them to be happy. I want to see this happiness.
Time Taken To Read
I went to bed at 1am if that matters
Notable Quotes: (Based on online version)
‘Allison’s choice of movie was instantly vetoed, so Allison threw democracy out the window and put it in anyway. ‘ pg 59
“Let Riko be King… Most coveted, most protected. He’ll sacrifice every piece he has to protect his throne. Whatever. Me? … I’m going to be the deadliest piece on the board.” Kevin, pg 335