Puck Drills & Quick Thrills (CU Hockey #5) ~ Eden Finley and Saxon James
Puck Drills and Quick Thrills is the fifth and final story in the outstanding CU Hockey series by the extremely talented writing duo Eden Finley and Saxon James. I have been simultaneously eagerly awaiting and dreading this installment. Keen to see our lonely hockey coach find someone he can lean on, but not wanting to say goodbye to the boys we have come to know and love throughout the series. The news that there will be a spin-off of sorts does help a little though!
By this stage, the world of CU and those that live in it are familiar and comfortable. I loved the cameo appearances here and there, and I enjoyed how the timelines of this story intersected with Asher and Kole's story (Line Mates and Study Dates), allowing us to see the action in the previous book from a different perspective.
Puck Drills and Quick Thrills was the least angsty of the series (although none of the books in this series could be classified as high angst), in part this could be because the two MCs were older and their reactions to situations were a bit more stable than for the younger guys.
I loved West and Jasper's relationship and how it was the reverse of what you'd expect. The stereotypes of jock and nerd raise certain expectations, but these were well and truly flipped. Instead, we have the nerdy math professor who was bullied so severely in high school that he's built himself up physically so that he feels 'safe', who takes the dominant role (at least in the bedroom). In contrast, the ex-NHL uber athlete takes on a submissive position, releasing him from decision-making and responsibility, which he desperately needs. Both Jasper and West are two halves, and together they complete each other. Their relationship was perfectly balanced, and it was simply beautiful to watch it unfold.
Once again, the writing styles of Eden Finley and Saxon James seamlessly blend together so that there is no obvious sign to indicate where one ends and the other begins. These authors have demonstrated their talent in this series, and I look forward to their future joint projects.
Puck Drills and Quick Thrills is the only book that I would really stress should not be read as a standalone. The story is too interconnected to the previous books, especially Line Dates and Study Mates.
The series should be read in order for maximum enjoyment, starting with Power Plays and Straight A's (which is also my personal favourite). All the characters in the series are unique and often quirky individuals, and you would miss out on the countless laughs and shenanigans of the CU Hockey boys by not reading the series as a whole.
To make the experience perfect, I highly, highly recommend the audios. The first three are available now, with the fourth due on around 31 December 2021. The fifth and final audio should be out not long after that. All the books are co-narrated by Alexander Cendese and Iggy Toma. These two have done a fantastic job of bringing the boys and their extremely individual personalities to life, and their narration just adds the icing to an already fabulous cake.
Puck Drills and Quick Thrills may not have the physical comedy and frat boy humour of its predecessors, but it makes up for it by the beautiful emotion projected throughout the story. It is a gorgeous finale to a truly outstanding series.