The Foxhole Court was a Tumblr phenomenon back in the day, and naturally, when I first read it, I kind of hated it. Not only that, I got hate for not liking it on Tumblr and people got so bothered with it, that I was determined to reread it, and like it this time around to avoid the dreadful judgment of the Tumblr community (it’s still there, it just migrated, you know who you are). I also partly reread it because everyone promised found families and even a romance, so I could not miss out on that. And let me tell you, rereading it kinda helped, because I did not hate it the second time around.
One of my biggest complaints when I first read this is that exy as a sport makes no sense. First of all, it seems pretty unlikely to me that a sport became as popular as exy supposedly did in such a short amount of time, and to the extent that it did. I don’t see how that could have happened, and I feel like a made-up sport was used to justify the completely ridiculous setup and plotline of this novel. I mean if there’s a made-up sport than surely all of these other things will make sense. I also feel like a made-up sport was an easy way out for Sakavic to avoid having to do too much research. I can’t say that I appreciate it, but I can say that it’s relatable.
The other big problem with exy for me is that I absolutely have no way to visualize it. If you asked me how it looks on the field, or how it’s structured, or anything about it, I would have nothing to say, despite the fact that Nora Sakavic spends 30 pages on descriptions of a single exy game. I have a better understanding of Quidditch than I do of exy.
I find Sakavic’s writing to be sort of dull. But not necessarily boring. What I mean by this is that her writing isn’t particularly evocative – I find it hard to visualize anything she’s writing about. I have no idea how any of the characters look, and the hazy characteristics of theirs I have in mind are entirely due to the amount of fanart I have seen for this series. I also find that this book has a lot of exposure, especially in the first 30 percent, where nothing happens but we get even the most unnecessary minutiae. We could have done without that. Also, did we need a 30-page description of an exy game? I don’t think so.
However, I think Sakavic excels at writing Neil – I find his character to be really well written, and I think she got his yearning to belong and stop running and finally have a place to call home so well. I loved the parts where Neil’s inner conflict was explored which I think was really compelling.
And while this was unevocative, it was also kind of compulsively readable, especially once you get through the endless descriptions of unnecessary things in really common terms and ways.
The biggest saving grace of the novel upon reread was the fact that I really loved the characters. Somehow, I remembered Kevin Day as the bad guy, but guess who was a clown, because that douchebag is my favorite character. I love how focused Kevin is, how he is a fighter and has only one thing on his mind, but is also terrified and needs protection AT ALL COSTS. Wow. I went through it with him and I just want him all the best, truly.
And I really do love the rest of the characters, pretty much everyone – I think Dan, Matt, Renee, and Nicky are great characters whom I loved. Aaron I am not sold on, still, he is kind of a jerk. BUT STILL, they are a dysfunctional found family AND WE LOVE THAT. And Andrew… well, let’s talk about that.
This was an issue I had when I read the book first as well – I found some, if not all of the interactions between the characters slightly uncomfortable. They crowd each other’s space and it makes me feel icky. Somehow the interactions never feel consensual to me, which is weird, but it’s just how I felt.
I also think Andrew’s character was really dehumanized in this first novel. That’s sort of the point, but I also think it’s not very well done, and I think it really is a bad way to portray a character on medication. His mental illness is never properly explained, which might happen in the third book (because I am reading the second and it hasn’t happened) and so by portraying him on meds as completely manic dehumanizes him in a way. In context, this does make sense, but I think it’s sort of a problematic way to deal with a topic as serious as this one. Moreover, some of Andrew’s actions are justified by certain things and made out to be okay, but they somehow aren’t.
That being said, I do enjoy Andrew’s character, and I think he will definitely shine in the final book, but these things about his character really rub me the wrong way.
I enjoyed this a lot more this time around – mostly due to the fact that somehow I did not realize that I love these characters. However, some issues I had the first time still remain, but I would recommend this book because it’s wildly and unexpectedly compelling (and the second one is a lot better).
I would love to hear from you! Have you heard of this series and have you read it? I would love to know, so let’s chat in the comments!
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