Rick is really hard to like. He’s almost 20. I’m assuming this means he’s 19. But he reads like a fourteen-year-old. He gets nose bleeds at any sign of heightened arousal which is supposed to be quirky but comes off more as juvenile and gimmicky than something serious. And I’m supposed to feel for him being weird or awkward but he mostly just seems clueless, naive and whiny instead. He joined a combat sport to meet his crush as if he’d just walk in be at the top of his game and immediately be granted the chance to meet a celebrity and…. that’s the problem right there. And what exactly. Date him, marry him, just do things naked with him, what? There’s no clear reason or end goal as to why he joins other than to meet him. But there are a million ways to meet a celebrity without endangering your life so what else?
His reaction to the contract was over-dramatised. Too much woe is me and I’m like yo, you joined a multi-billion dollar fighting entertainment club. He couldn’t have honestly thought it be easy. That’s like joining the army and thinking you’re going to walk right in and be a commander. No mate, you’re a private and could be one forever if you don’t have what it takes to rise the ranks. Those are earned skills.
Also everyone is gay. Everyone. And here’s this scared, whiny almost-adult who gets nose bleeds whenever he’s aroused and he’s a virgin. Saving himself for marriage. Who knows how many guys his crush has been with. Rick’s concerned his mom will think he’s a slut but cares no which way his crush is one. Hell everyone in this fight club is a sleeping around and Rick is the only one continuously turning down advances. It’s supposed to be endearing but it comes off as sad instead. Which is a shame because, as he says, there isn’t anything wrong with it. Considering the sexually free world the author has built around him this virgin trait seems gimmicky just like the nosebleed stuff.
If that isn’t enough the book is incomplete. Rick should’ve made it all the way to his first fight, possibly lost, and then had to deal with the complexities of what he’s gotten himself into with the debt and so on and so forth and then pick that up in the next book. Instead, it reads like it’s leading up to orientation, or a first fight, or some sort of revelation and doesn’t get there. It’s a cliffhanger leaving this instalment in the serious with unresolved issues.
It was a tad too slow for a first part especially since it’s short. I still have no idea what he plans to do when he meets his crush which means I don’t know why he joined. When asked why he joined his response was he has a crush on Sultan and his bunk-mate legit says he’s a good kisser. Eye-roll. That alone killed the virginal angle cause clearly Sultan is out there getting his and not hung up on purity at all so it’s not necessary for Rick to care about that. Still his bunk-mate made the most insightful comment out of the entire story. Everyone joins to get something out of it, what is Rick’s reason and if he didn’t know his real motives why didn’t we delve into that in this book. That would’ve been a clear point to reach for part one. The journey to discovering the real reason he’s there.
Also it seems designed for an adult audience but the main character reads like he has only just hit puberty and isn’t on the verge of adulthood. Like his teen years haven’t happened yet but, as he says, he’s almost 20 so this makes no sense. Even his siblings behave like they are all still teens but they are older than him if I remember right. That and he’s a rabbit and we all know the jokes about rabbits so what gives?
I felt going in, and still do feel that there’s so much that could be amazing about the story. But it didn’t take advantage of everything. Without a clearly defined plotline and a main character that comes off more helpless and annoying than learning and growing from the big mess he got himself into, it reads like an incomplete tale that needs to be longer or more focused so that more can feature in this book. As it is, it kinda ambles along without a clear destination and takes the cliffhanger route leaving an unfinished feeling instead of a wanting to read more feeling.