Look, I’m going to apologize in advance because I’m telling you right now that this post is literally just going to be me screaming around and losing my mind and forgetting that sentence periods exist. Because- oh my god, you guys, I’ve just discovered one of my favorite series of all time.
“Fight because you don’t know how to die quietly. Win because you don’t know how to lose. This king’s ruled long enough—it’s time to tear his castle down.”
– The All of the Game series, by Nora Sakavic
All For The Game trilogy by Nora Sakavic comprises of- The Foxhole Court, The Raven King and The King’s Men (also known as Blessing In Our Miserable Lives but that’s my personal opinion). A couple of weeks ago, I finished this entire trilogy in, oh, three days? I’m not even kidding, I finished one book and I started the other. I was a mess, yes, but that’s every other Tuesday for me (jk, that’s every day of my life).
Since then, I have had a god-awful case of la book hangover. I couldn’t bring myself to seriously invest in any other book that does not have characters like Neil and Andrew. I needed more of their dialogue, chemistry, banter, arguments, I NEED MORE ANDRIEL IN MY LIFE. Honestly, give me some premium Andriel content and I’ll go to my grave happily while eating a burrito (I’ve been thinking about burritos all day long since I saw someone eating it so that’s how my day is going).
True talk: I have no fucking idea what this post is going to be about. This isn’t a book review or a discussion, it’s just… me actually losing my mind and having breakdowns about how much I love these books?
Don’t leave me please.
What even is this trilogy about?, I hear you ask as you sigh wearily and shake your head at me. Well, let me answer that question while ignoring your pointed look:
- Sports: (and I don’t give a flying shit about sports but this book made me CARE about it, okay? Care about an IMAGINARY sport that’s entirely FICTIONAL).
- Gay athletes: Neil- my Baby No. 1- and Andrew- Baby No. 2- have this slow burn, enemies to lovers chemistry which is so intense and heartbreaking that I’m completely, utterly and wholeheartedly trash for them.
- Adopted family (of friends) trope: Neil has spent almost his entire life on the run but finally he’s found something worth dying for: Exy, the aforementioned sport, and a family of dysfunctional, broken people who accept him for who he is, love him and refuse to let him go. You guYS.
- ANGST. SO MUCH ANGST: You think you’ve seen angst before? Ha hahahah aahahaha no. You haven’t. Not until you’ve read these books and fondly shaken your heads at the antics of these wonderful, brilliant characters. Honestly, Andrew, Kevin, Aaron and Neil can start a How To Angst 101 class and it’d be a goddamn hit.
Yes, we get it, Andrew, you’re emo (angelus-bellator)
- The Raven Cycle vibes: So, you LOVED TRC but would kill for more Adam and Ronan content? Well, you can sell your soul to me, because THIS IS THE TRILOGY FOR YOU. I’m literally not even kidding. Andrew is a somewhat more angsty-er version of Ronan (yes, it’s possible, I’m still in shock) and Neil is a more… vocal? vibrant? version of Adam.
- Except MUCH MORE DARKER: Seriously, I’ll be the first to admit that this trilogy is not kidding around when it comes to a bit more violent content. It’s not too graphic, per se, so don’t worry but it does not flinch away from getting dark and serious.
- It’s passionate and ambitious: It shows you how beautiful passion can be, how Neil has something not just worth living for but also worth dying for; but it also shows you the darker side of obsessive passion-which was very interesting (and scary too but what the hell, I’m here for it).
- IT’S FUNNY: I loved the banter, the dialogue and just. It’s funny. Really.
- JUST GODDAMN READ IT PLEASE YOU’LL NOT REGRET IT REALLY.
- Also, you’ll be missing on a lot of amazing art if don’t read it because DAMN, the Tumblr #aftg fandom is not messing around.
- Have I convinced you to really read these books yet.
Beware: You’re Entering the Spoiler Zone (this is where I lose all pretense of knowing the English language)
I’m in love with all of these Foxes and the coach and the plot and the undercurrent themes of abuse and thug violence but it’s the little things, you know?
Like, Andrew and Niel having this thing where they throw each others’ words at the other person to win arguments, how goddamn funny it is when every other person tries to genuinely socialise with Andrew, all they get is a “bored, unimpressed look” but ONE personal offhand comment from Nicky and Andrew’s just casually reaching for a block of knives and punching people left and right. I love how badass the female foxes are; how Renee is all sunshine and smiles but that gal can literally cripple you in 2.5 seconds without messing her hair and then sweetly smile at you as you go down, I love how Allison is portrayed as the “typical white popular girl” but oh my god, she literally abandoned her wealthy heritage for Exy and defends her friends like a fucking queen, even going so far as punching Aaron for blaming Neil for Seth’s death. I love how different they are. I love how Nicky is this flaming rambling gay legend whose mouth always gets ahead of his wits and Aaron’s all “I’m going to pretend I don’t know any of you” and Matt is the DEFINITION of the bestest friend anyone can ask for. I love how someone would literally be choking on the floor and Kevin would tell them to get up because they can’t miss practice, Neil’s attitude problem when he literally cannot resist mouthing jerks off and then getting everyone into neck deep trouble and also Wymack being literally the best human ever when he handles all of his malfunctioning foxes and all of them betting on the stupidest and the smallest things all the time and just. GODAMMIT I LOVE THEM.
“I won’t be like them,” Neil said. “I won’t let you let me be.”
“One hundred and one,” Andrew said, “going on one hundred and two.”
Also, Neil and Andrew? CAN WE PLEASE JUST GET A MICROPHONE HERE SO I CAN TALK ABOUT MY FAVORITE NEIL AND ANDREW INTERACTIONS? Andrew calling Neil on his phone while sitting right in front of him to remind him that his parents are dead and he is not fine in any way and nothing is going to be okay but he is still Neal Josten, still a Fox, and Andrew is still the guy who swore to protect him.
Andrew casually squeezing the life out of Jean’s hand after he taunted Neil about his parents, Andrew giving Neil the extra key to Nicky’s house, fisting his sweatshirt and telling him that he’s not going anywhere because he’s going to stop running. Andrew pretending to be all bored and disinterested while still granting all of Neil’s requests in exchange for his “honest truths” and “I want to see your scars.” Neil throwing all of Andrew’s words back at him to win arguments- “You want nothing and I am nothing” and “I won’t be like them” and “don’t ask stupid questions whose answers you already know”; Neil picking up Andrew’s cigarette after he threw it and smoking it while looking at Andrew right in the eye, all of Andrew’s insanely empty “I hate you”s and them keeping a fucking tab of the percentage of hate that Neil’s at, Andrew giving Neil his own charger with an extra copy of his car key for no reason, Andrew clapping a hand over Neil’s mouth when he’s rambling, not to shut him up, but to keep himself from kissing him; Andrew’s casual “or you’ll what?” when Kevin started warning Neil off hitting him, Andrew telling Neil to stop copying Kevin because he’s passionate about his game while Kevin’s analytical and still somehow making it sound like an insult, him refusing Renee’s offer to protect Neil because he wouldn’t “wish Neil on anyone except a mortician”, Andrew destroying everything in his way to get to Neil at Baltimore and quietly checking all of his injuries, telling him he’s at “one hundred” on the hate scale, him going with Neil for the questioning to be there for him because he didn’t trust the FBI to give Neil back, him bandaging Neil’s arms and face before la shower, him holding Neil down and helping him through his panic attack, choosing Neil over his own twin, Andrew breaking Riko’s arm when he almost hit Neil at the last game and Neil actually spending three weeks being tortured by Riko so that Andrew would be safe, Neil challenging Andrew about their relationship not being worthless every step of the way, Neil not allowing Andrew to allow Neil to touch him when he’s not ready and Andrew’s “one hundred and two, going on one hundred and three” reply and just Andrew and Neil, dude. Just them.
So, yeah. That’s it. I’m completely drained. I’m also slightly obsessed but hahahahahahahah what else is new.
No, but really. I need help.