Hello, everyone! Today I’m reviewing the queer sports romance Olympic Enemies by Rebecca J Caffery. This book will be released on February 6, 2023.
Three weeks at the Olympic Village.
Two Gymnasts who’ve been rivals for half a decade.
One tonne of sexual tension.
Forced to share a room at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, Oliver and Lucas are less than happy. After five years of fighting, the team needs them to learn to work together if they stand any chance of medalling.
To make matters worse, Lucas, king of lone wolfs, has absolutely no desire to become best friends with the three musketeers who make up the rest of the male British Gymnastics team.
So when the press becomes intrusive towards Lucas and Oliver finally steps in to defend him, things are looking up. Until that sliver of common ground truly demonstrates how thin the line between love and hate really can be.
However, when their fighting turns to kissing which results in headlines in every newspaper and potential heartbreak for the pair, it isn’t just gold on the line – it’s their hearts.
***Thank you to The Wild Rose Press, Inc. for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley. My review contains my honest thoughts about my reading experience.***
I don’t read much sports romance, but I requested this on NetGalley because I always love watching the gymnastics during the Olympics. There was no way I could pass up the chance to read a romance story with Olympic gymnasts that was both queer and enemies to lovers. The tropes in this book were right up my alley (forced proximity, shared bed, rivals, opposites attract, secret relationship), but the execution faltered a bit and left me somewhat underwhelmed.
Specifically, the writing and pacing were quite rough at times. I had to read some of it multiple times to grasp the meaning of certain sentences, and there were some inconsistencies in the story. For example, one of the characters started worrying about whether the love interest had spilled about their relationship to some friends even though a page earlier he was recollecting that one of the friends walked in while the two of them were in bed together. Why was he worrying so much if at least one of them knew already? There was also an instance where Lucas’s sister couldn’t get off work because she was a nurse, and then later in the story she’s able to attend the games because someone gave her the money even though it was implied earlier she had to stay to work her shifts. Little things like those inconsistencies just irked me and took me out of the story. In general, the pacing was a bit off, as well, and I had a hard time following the timeline at certain points.
The romance was cute with a moderate amount of steam. The author seemed a bit obsessed about the characters running their fingers through each others’ hair because it was mentioned in almost every scene with any type of intimacy. The pace of the relationship was a bit strange, as well. I don’t know if I’d call it insta-love since they’d known, and hated, each other for five years, but they jumped in bed together pretty quickly once they were stuck in a room together. I would’ve enjoyed a bit more build up and sexual tension at first, but once they were together I enjoyed their dynamic and seeing how their relationship grew.
As for the characters, I liked them and enjoyed their respective plots outside of the romance. They each had personal things they were dealing with, and their relationship helped them grow and face those things in a healthier way. Lucas and Oliver really did complement each other very well, but their alternating POVs were too similar in voice to really tell them apart. This made them seem less three-dimensional than they could have been. The rest of the cast was good, as well, but they were all fairly one-dimensional.
The final issue I had with this book was its descriptiveness, or lack thereof. If I didn’t know what the Olympics or gymnastics routines were like, the descriptions in this book would have likely left me confused. It used a lot of technical sports language without much accompanying explanation. I was able to fill in the blanks in my head, but I doubt everyone will be able to do that if they’re not familiar with the subject matter to some degree.
All of that being said, I did still have fun reading this one. If you are looking for a quick, easy sports romance that is entertaining despite its flaws, you might like this book, especially if you are looking for bi male rep and a coming out story too. I loved the idea of this book and wish everything had been perfect, but I still enjoyed following these boys around Paris even though the story didn’t feel like it reached its full potential. Therefore, I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars.