4.5⭐️ – I have to start by saying that this series is one of my favourites. I use the words confused and frustrated a lot when talking about it but I promise it’s not in a negative way. I think, to some extent, my emotions reflect those of the main character, Sophie. I look forward to each new book and am very excited each time to dive back into the lives of Sophie and her teammates.
For some reason, I missed this book when it was released last July and only found out about it when the author tweeted about the next one (Grounded) being available for preorder. I’ve loved this series from the start, even though I don’t care about hockey (not a big sport in my country), and I was a tad upset about having missed a book, but it turned out to be for the best. Because damn, that ending? I couldn’t have waited six months to read the next book.
Power Play begins in 2016. Two years have passed since Sophie’s team won the Maple Cup but she’s convinced they can win again this season. In addition to the regular championship, there’s a new international competition which, unlike the Winter Games, follows NAHL regulations, i.e. men and women play together. As a result, once again, Sophie has to play against some of her teammates and alongside some of her usual foes.
The sensation that kept going through my head for a big part of the story is that Sophie’s confused and so am I. I love this series as much as it confuses and, yes, as I wrote above, frustrates me. I think part of the reason I love it so much is that it keeps me on my toes. I never know what to expect. I didn’t expect to care about a sport I don’t know anything about. There are way too many characters for me to remember who is who (a list of everyone with their nickname, nationality and team would help). There’s no romance, not really. There are abusive coaches and fathers, a lot of misogyny on the page, all sorts of things that should turn me off. These books captivate me and I’m at a loss to explain why. And maybe I love them because of all these things, because Collins somehow found the right balance. I feel invested in everything Sophie: her wins, her losses, her friendships and challenges and growth. Like, who knew she had a sense of humour?
As Sophie said a couple of books back, she’s the one who cracks doors open so others can bust in. She makes things happen, on and off the ice. There are more and more women in the league, with different attitudes, different ambitions, different desires. Sophie herself grows from book to book, shows more of her personality. I don’t always like her, I don’t always understand the choices she makes, but I root for her without fail. I may not be a huge hockey fan but I’m a Sophie fan.
I’ll be honest, this, book 5 in the series, was painful to read. What Sophie goes through made me want to punch something and more than a couple of fictional someones. At the same time, my respect for her grew. The ability she shows in games to foresee the next play is present outside of the rink as well, as long as it has to do with hockey. I’m not sure she could have predicted the road her relationship with Elsa would take, nor what would happen with Dima. I admire her abnegation, her willingness to always put ice hockey and her team first. If that’s not love, I don’t know what it is.