This is the third in a series of 4 books. I highly encourage you to read the books/reviews preceding this one before reading on. The 1st is “Tigers and Devils” and the 2nd is “Tigerland”. I will be reviewing them in sequence, so check back tomorrow for the final book in the series!
To start this review kind of negatively – this is probably the worst book in the franchise. Not a bad book by any stretch of the imagination, but I would definitely read the other 3 before this one. The problem is with this one, and the last book in the franchise, is that there’s no one to hate! We don’t have a villain to rile ourselves up against, so we end of just along for the ride for 400 pages. It’s not ideal, but you deal with it because it has the characters you’ve already grown to love in the pages, and Kennedy shines again by making them real and human.
As before, I binged this whole series in preparation for these reviews, and this one felt a bit off as well due to Kennedy wanting to set up a follow up franchise centred around our perhaps brightest new character, Micah Johnson. Micah is a young, new recruit into Declan’s OutSport programme, aimed at helping LGBTQ+ youngsters into professional sport. Of course, he’s a prickly customer, and it’s actually Simon’s relationship with the guy that you yearn for. Like always, his sarcasm shines through, and their exchanges really do help the novel along with Dec just stood there idly most of the time.
Fran and Roger are back in earnest as well, with kids in tow! The new dynamic as new parents and trying to be more than the roles society puts on them is a really interesting take, that arguably doesn’t get enough light shed on in novels. I’m pleased to see Fran really take a front seat in this respect, if only towards the end she slightly gets shunned due to more important plot points going on around her. The vulnerability of wanting to be more than a mother, to be the friend Simon had before is really touching, and I think it’s probably the best side plot of the book.
The book also picks up really well towards the conclusion, and maybe has one of my favourite 20 page sections in the entire series, set amongst the sand dunes. It really delves into the relationships between all the characters present, and highlights how far they’ve come as people in a relatively short time.
So in conclusion definitely keep going if you’ve done the first two books! It’s another little tale in which you can have a giggle, an eye roll and a lovely coffee watching the weather outside and reading a nice little book. Not perfect, and maybe not even amazing. But it’s a good, okay instalment with characters you love.