I don’t know how I could ever write a review that does The Long Game justice, that sufficiently conveys just how dear this story and its characters are, but here goes. After waiting (rather impatiently) for this sequel for years, I was absolutely blown away by how special it was.
To the world they are rivals, but to each other they are everything.
That’s how long Shane Hollander and Ilya Rozanov have been seeing each other. How long they’ve been keeping their relationship a secret. From friends, from family…from the league. If Shane wants to stay at the top of his game, what he and Ilya share has to remain secret. He loves Ilya, but what if going public ruins everything?
Ilya is sick of secrets. Shane has gotten so good at hiding his feelings, sometimes Ilya questions if they even exist. The closeness, the intimacy, even the risk that would come with being open about their relationship…Ilya wants it all.
It’s time for them to decide what’s most important—hockey or love.
It’s time to make a call
Heated Rivalry became an instant favorite when I read it and Shane and Ilya will always be one of my all-time favorite couples. And The Long Game really cemented my love for these characters and this series. Where Heated was more banter and steam, stolen kisses and glances, showing the progression of their relationship from rookies to leaders of their respective teams, The Long Game explored the actuality of being in a long-term, secret relationship, the day-to-day after the thrill of the forbidden wears off, the sheer exhaustion of having to hide how deeply you love someone and how special a person is to you.
That’s not to say that The Long Game is lacking in any banter or steam—it absolutely delivers on both of those fronts and Reid’s entire Game Changers series is one of the hottest series I’ve ever read—rather, The Long Game just had so much more. I’m having a hard time articulating my thoughts about this book because there was just a sheer ache in my heart and chest from how lovely and raw this book was, but it wasn’t a bad ache and it was also deeply fulfilling. Reid’s nuanced portrayal of the day-to-day of this forbidden romance was just absolutely stellar and the way we’ve seen Shane and Ilya grow has been incredible. Ilya’s growth, in particular, has been an absolute privilege to read. I love both Shane and Ilya but Ilya…he’s it for me. He’s become one of my favorite characters of all time.
Laugh-out-loud funny, achingly romantic, and hot as all get-out, The Long Game is perhaps the best book I’ve read so far this year and is definitely going to be in my top list of 2022. And y’all know how much I try to avoid emotional books (I’m truly the biggest of crybabies) so it should tell you something that I willingly went into this book knowing that it would be emotional—that’s how worth it is, that’s how amazing it is.
As a side note, I highly recommend reading Role Model, the book that comes right before The Long Game in the Game Changers series as the books’ timelines overlap and Ilya is heavily featured in Role Model as well!
CWs: homophobia, mental illness. Click here for a more comprehensive list of content warnings.
Read This If
- You’ve read Heated Rivalry first—you need to read the first one!
- You enjoy sports romances, especially hockey romances
- You have a pulse
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ / 5
Where to Purchase
- Buy The Long Game on Bookshop.org
- Buy The Long Game on Amazon (kindle)
- Buy The Long Game on Amazon (mass market paperback)
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