Thursday, 24 September 2015

Review: Knights of the Hill Country - Tim Tharp

Written by: Tim Tharp
Published by: Ember
Pages: 233
Purchase from: Amazon |  Book Depository

Welcome to Kennisaw - Where Friday night high school football ranks next to God and country and sometimes even comes first. This year, the kennisaw Knights are going for their fifth - straight undefeated season and if they succeed, they'll be legends.

But the Knights' legacy is a heavy weight to carry for linebacker Hampton Green. On the field, he's so in control you'd think he could stop time. His life off the field is a different story: his father walked out years ago, and now his mom has a new boyfriend every week. He's drawn to a girl at school who is exactly the type a star athlete isn't supposed to get involved with. Meanwhile, his cocky teammate and best friend, Blaine is struggling to hold on to a star status that's slipping away. And he's demanding Hampton's loyalty even as Hampton senses he's losing control.

From the moment I watched Friday Night Lights, the TV show, I have been absolutely obsessed with American Football. So when I saw this book on Amazon and I saw that it was written by Tim Tharp, who I have been wanting to read for a while now, I couldn't buy it fast enough. It just ticked all the boxes, American Football set in high school with a slight mix of romance thrown in, it was like it was calling to me and I needed something to curb my sadness over the loss of Friday Night Lights. As you can probably tell, I expected a lot from this novel and I'm quite pleased with the fact that it did not let me down on the football front.
"That's how it is with legends. The greater they sound, the more must've got left out."
To be honest if there was one thing that I loved more about this book, other than the football scenes, it was the fact that it was written like a TV episode. I don't know if that's just my way of interpreting it but I could not help but imagine it playing it from a television screen. The drama, the romance, the friendship, it all just stated playing out in my head and that made it one of the most enjoyable things about the story. Normally I have problems picturing the storyline into something but this time it was so clear it was literally like I was watching an episode of Friday Night Lights on Netflix. Even the accent of the characters was picturesque and woven brilliantly into the story, it wasn't remotely hidden, you could clearly detect where they were from. Which in turn, made it even more realistic and I was definitely eating the story up just to curb my fangirling a little bit more. 
'Man alive, did them stands explde in cheers then. But they wasn't yelling "Defense, Defense, Defense" anymore. Now it was "Hampton! Hampton! Hampton!" '
In addition to the fantastic writing, the other gorgeously entertaining aspect of this novel was the main character Hampton Green. He was so genuine and simple that it every thing was clear cut in his head. He was loyal to a fault and beautifully sweet that reading from his perspective was such a breath of fresh air. I loved how the other characters didn't see how smart he was because it made him all that more genuine. He was just such a sweetheart that I immediately rooted for him and became protective of him all the more, so that when his decisions started to veer off from his character I couldn't help but scream at him to get back on track, stick to his decisions and stop believing others. 
"You know how when you see someone day in, day out, year after year, you don't really notice him getting taller or wider or older or whatever? It can be like that with the way people are on the inside too."
To conclude, all in all Knights of the Hill Country is a brilliantly simple novel that pulls on your heartstrings and gives you a fantastic realism of teenage drama, with an amazing adrenaline filled mix of american football thrown in for good measure. For me it definitely filled the void of Friday Night Lights, which is a big feat in itself, and encouraged me to buy more of Tim Tharps books because his writing is just gorgeous. The only downside would be that the storyline, was slightly stilted. In the fact being that there wasn't really a big storyline involved, while it played out like a TV episode it would be more along the lines of a filler episode, as there was not a lot too it but it was still highly enjoyable to read. 
Knights of the Hill Country