I cannot imagine I will read anything better this year. This trilogy is one of those where you finish the last word and you want to turn around and dive right back into the first book, just to experience it all over again. What. An. Amazing. Story.
Neil and Andrew are the most absorbing main characters I have encountered since Santino Hassell and Ais's Sin and Boyd from Evenfall. They are terrified, lonely, and broken... yet, stubborn, confounding, infuriating, and fearless. And you can't help but love them and root for them to not just survive, but to find a place of belonging, a home. A place to stop running.
The supporting cast of characters is what made this story gel. Kevin, Dan, Matt, Renee, Allison, Aaron, and Nicky: Each with their own brand of brokenness and all with spines of steel.
And they could not have had a better mentor than Coach Wymack. He was truly an incredible influence, never overbearing, but always stern with a penchant for holding them accountable for their fates. His pep talk before their final game had me spellbound; it wasn't until I got to the end of it that I realized I was holding my breath.
"Fight because you don't know how to die quietly. Win because you don't know how to lose."
Not bad for a guy who says, "I suck at this pep talk thing..."
This story is an action-packed journey into the dark recesses of the Yakuza world. It is brutal, vicious, and violent, yet, at the same time, a story of hope, redemption, overcoming, and finding home. I will definitely read this trilogy again because I'm not ready to let go... not just yet.