Review by Pythian
At its core, tennis is simple: two players hitting a ball back and forth across a net. LOVE MATCH: BOOK 3 takes the simple game and puts it under a microscope, detailing Rocky’s on- and off-the-court adventure to become one of the best players in the world. The challenges he faces outside of the game as a result of being an immigrant from Africa give additional flavor to an already vivid story. He’s also one of the few players on the tennis pro tour who is gay. That adds a bit of flair as well. All of the challenges that he encounters make this novel by Kyell Gold compelling. Gold’s detailed descriptions of the action, tennis and otherwise, lead to an excellent page-turner that leaves the reader rifling through the pages from point to point.
The relationships that Rocky has are the focal point of the novel. Exes, best friends, romantic interests, all are presented with their own special flavor. It’s difficult not to like Rocky as a character; he’s doing the best he can to look out for his friends. He tries to do the right thing. Some of the more memorable moments come from Rocky’s late mother through often idiomatic sayings that provide guidance for his current situation. Rocky gets put into many difficult situations, and he always tries to make the right decision, even if it might be hard. Even then, it’s still a priority that he takes care of his friends and family. I couldn’t help but to be happy for when things went well for him.
One of the challenges of writing a book about sports is it can tend to turn formulaic. There are only so many ways to say a point was scored without bogging the reader down with every detail. Gold shines here, portraying action in a fast-paced way that keeps you on your toes without feeling disoriented. Even with singles and doubles tournaments going on concurrently, Gold does well to stay engaging and clear. For someone with clear intimate knowledge of the sport, the task of keeping it understandable to someone that lacks that knowledge is not small but is handled with ease. Even if you’re not familiar with tennis, I’d highly recommend picking up LOVE MATCH: BOOK 3.