Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Raven King by Nora Sakavic | Well, That Was Soul Crushing

First Published: 2013
New Adult, Contemporary
The Foxes are a fractured mess, but their latest disaster might be the miracle they've always needed to come together as a team. The one person standing in their way is Andrew, and the only one who can break through his personal barriers is Neil.
Except Andrew doesn't give up anything for free and Neil is terrible at trusting anyone but himself. The two don't have much time to come to terms with their situation before outside forces start tearing them apart. Riko is intent on destroying Neil's fragile new life, and the Foxes have just become collateral damage.
Neil's days are numbered, but he's learning the hard way to go down fighting for what he believes in, and Neil believes in Andrew even if Andrew won't believe in himself.
Do you guys hear that? what IS that sound? Oh, it's just my heart breaking into a million pieces and my soul disintegrating? nvm then.

Seriously, this book... THIS BOOK. Like, book one wasn't sunshine and rainbows. But it looks so bright and cheerful compared to this one??? This one is not just stepping up the ante and bringing the series to a new level, it shoots it out of the atmosphere.

Sakavic is done being cuddly sweet with us. Now the real thing begins, and it is fucking brutal.
"Look. Shit happened. Shit's going to keep happening. You don't need me to tell you life isn't fair. You're here because you know it isn't. Life doesn't care what we want out of it; it's up to us to fight for what we want with everything we've got.
Like, I knew the series will get there. I just didn't know how fast it will and how truly awful it would be. And on the one hand, ouch. And on the other... it hurts so good??? idk man, this book ruined me, it really really did. But I subjected myself to it twice. In three days. So... I guess... I'm a masochist?

You learn something new about yourself every day.

So, yeah. This book is all-caps PAIN. Lots and lots of PAIN. PAIN when you least expect it and PAIN when you definitely do. Sing it with me; PAIN PAIN PAIN. Like... what? WHaT? How is any of this okay?? How is this---just no. No no no. STOP HURTING MY BABIES, YOU MONSTERS!

Like, no joke, this book is VICIOUS. But also perfect. BUT ALSO VICIOUS.

Like, plot-wise, these things need to happen and holy hell the BEAUTIFUL CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT WE'RE SEEING HERE IS GLORIOUS. But from the unhealthy attached Nitzan point of view, these things should not be happening and FUCKING STOP IT BEFORE I HURT YOU.

I am a GODDAMN MESS. I am using way too much all caps and way too much "like"s for this to be considered any form of coherent thinking/writing. I probably need to chill. No, I most definitely do. BUT I CAN'T AND I DON'T CARE IF YOU JUDGE ME.

Like (again with that word...), I loved Neil in book one. You will too (the "or else" is implied). But Neil in book two? Neil in book two is an entirely new beast. AND I AM LIVING FOR IT. We saw glimpses of it in the first book; of who Neil could be if he let himself care, if he let himself set roots, if he chose to fight instead of flight. And Neil is getting there. He is getting bolder, and stronger. He is learning to lean, and he's starting to want to be leaned on. On court and off court. Out of the nothing, starts to emerge something.

As he listened to them, Neil realized he was happy. It was such an unexpected and unfamiliar feeling he lost track of the conversation for a minute.
As for Andrew, in book one I thought I was a bit cray cray for liking the short psychopath. In book two I'm judging everyone who doesn't like him. Seriously, the guy is so messed up in the head and I love it?? Especially because he is so unflinching and reliable and yeah way too violent and unstable but also absolutely honest and straightforward and loyal in his own messed up way??

And we're getting to see the Neil we deserve because of him???

And of course, there's the big THING there at the climax. If you still hate Andrew after that or whatever I request you swiftly and quietly leave this review. Someone is going to get hurt. And since I've never fought anyone before, it's bound to be me.
"We've all got different experiences, but we're used to needing help. We're just not used to getting it. But you've got us now."
Neil and Andrew are not the only ones growing. Kevin is, too, veeeeery slowly.

And my foxes. MY PRECIOUS FOXES. Their friendship is as heartwarming as it is dysfunctional, especially because it doesn't go without saying. Most of these people had lived rough lives. They are not strangers to the world being a fucked up place. They have not been raised to trust, or believe in, or support. If anything, they have been taught to be cold, and ugly, and solitary. And more often than not, not to believe in family.

And also, some of them have been taught to be absolute bastards, and not everyone can or would care for such assholes (I'm looking at you, twins).

AND YET HERE THEY ARE, CARVING THEIR OWN LITTLE MESSED UP, MISMATCHED FAMILY. They raly and protect each other, even when the other person is being a total dick to them. They respect each other's boundaries and limits, even as they try to find ways to reach them. Even if they don't quite like them. Because family is not really about liking someone or not. When you're family, you just are.
He was their family. They were his. They were worth every cut and bruise and scream.

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