Game Changer by Rachel Reid
Game Changer is a gay hockey romance. I was in the mood for some serious smut, and the M/M genre is the place to go for the kind of delicious indecency fans of the male anatomy can appreciate. However, what I found wasn’t quite what I was looking for.
In Game Changer you get to follow Kip who is young, hot (of course) and gay (also of course), and Scott Hunter – star hockey player and very much closeted. The storyline is pretty much exactly what you’d expect. Kip and Scott meet, are attracted to each other, start hooking up and fall in love. But there are all sort of obstacles in the way – the most obvious one being Scott’s penchant for lurking in wardrobes – before they can finally have their HEA.
It’s predictable in the good kind of way where it’s more interesting to learn the how of it than the what. But. The first half of this book was really crappy. It was entirely too sappy and Kip and Scott fell in love so fast it was ridiculous. As a reader, I wasn’t the least bit convinced they were actually in love so much as I was convinced that they were in love with the idea of love. Both of them were lonely and more or less wallowing in self-pity when they met. And the next thing they did were to declare their love for each other. Okay. I might be exaggerating a teeny tiny bit, but still. In the first half of the book, you got the sense that Scott got attached to Kip only because he was desperately lonely as a closeted star athlete. While Kip liked Scott so much because he was starstruck and flattered that someone famous would be into him. And I can’t imagine that that’s the feeling Reid was aiming for when she wrote it.
But, I’m glad I persevered and read the whole thing because the second part is really good. This is the part where the problems start cropping up. The first honeymoon phase is behind them and the strain of having to hide the relationship is starting to take it’s toll on Kip. There’s anguish and heartache, miscommunication and misunderstandings. All threatening to destroy what they have. So, I loved this part. There was so much emotion and I was totally engrossed in the story in the end. However, I was hoping for some scorching hot and abandoned fornication (I did say I was looking for smut) but the steamy parts were actually pretty lame. Sure, there were lots and lots of humping going on but quality is more important that quantity, and in my opinion Reid didn’t manage in capturing any sort of mood.
Then there was the extreme over-abundance of I love yous. Game Changer is, without a doubt, the book with the most ILUs I have ever read. And I’ve read plenty. They were all over the place, all the time. Less is more is a saying for a reason. As it were, it felt like each repetitive ILU in there just diluted the meaning of the word. Talk about devaluation.
So all in all, if I had to rate this book on the five star scale used on just about every online booksite, I’d give the first part a weak two and the last part a four which gives an overall of a weak three. The excessive copulation would have been a redeeming element if it had been any good, but to me it felt most like drawn-out acrobatics. Or maybe I’m just picky. 🙂 Either way. The second half proves that Reid actually knows how to write an engaging story, so despite my overall rating I’m not giving up on her yet. Maybe Heated Rivalry, the sequel to Game Changer, which is another hockey romance, will be better.