This was the best one in the series by far, but it still has its issues. I feel like a good (tough) editor could have made this series really great. This ended as well as it could have, given the build up (how’s that for damning with faint praise!) and the foundation the story was built on (basically drama and unrealistic understanding of human emotion and the way the world works). Yet, part of me does want to round up to four stars, because it was such a marked improvement over books one and two, especially book one.
I would have had more detailed thoughts, but I read this back at the end of May and those thoughts are now floating on the wind of my encroaching middle age. Overall, I’m left with a pleasant memory of this book in my mind, so I think I will round up. It ended much better than it began, and it managed to draw together story threads retroactively that were either nonsense to begin with, or almost undetectable at the beginning. I also grew to like a lot of the characters I initially hated. And I’m a sucker for good hate to love romance, or one that’s fraught with issues of intimacy, or one partner dealing with trauma, or another finding solace in a relationship or a community when they’ve been alone for so long. All those elements were here.
And Sakavic also finally managed to take advantage of her own premise. This is the best book in terms of Exy, her fake sport, and it finally brought in the element of sport competition and teamwork that I wanted from the beginning. (Not to mention found family, which also was rewarded here.)
And she managed to pull it off somehow despite glaring flaws and two previous books that were less than satisfying. So what they hey, upping this 3.5 to four, but let’s be clear: if Goodreads had half stars, that’s what this would get.
All in all, this ended up not being a waste of time (More faint praise!), and I’m not unhappy I read it.