Playing to Win (Glasgow Lads #2)

Playing to Win - Avery Cockburn

I didn't know anything about Scotland's recent bid for independence from the UK and I made a point of not researching it while reading this book so I could find out the result along with the characters.


There were a lot more politics in this book than I usually care for, but seeing Colin and Andrew butt heads over the independence referendum was surprisingly fun. Colin, a poor Glasgow lad, is for independence. It's the first time he's ever been hopeful of the future, and he's gotten involved in the campaign, going door to door to gain more support. Lord Andrew, on the other hand, is understandably against independence as that would jeopardize his family's power and influence in politics. Being on such complete opposite sides of the issue, not to mention the difference in their social standing, sounds like a recipe for disaster. And yet they're both competitive and stubborn enough to somehow start a relationship despite their disagreements.


I went into this fully expecting to hate Andrew the whole way through. I mean, he's a lord. He's been raised with a silver spoon lodged firmly up his bum and it shows in how he addresses people and dismisses their very real issues because they don't concern him. And for the first half of this he did annoy me, though not as much as I'd expected. He started to grow on me more in the last half, as he comes to realize exactly what Colin and people like him are up against.


We don't get as much football or time with the Warriors in this one as in the previous book, and I thought it was odd how little of Colin's home life we also see. At around 75%, a certain thing happens that seemed like it would cause a lot of issues for the lads, but then nothing happens. Then at the climax, the author starts to summarize things rather than show us them. For instance,

Andrew's dis-disowning when he's reunited with his family, the reveal of who was vandalizing his home and Colin's recovery are all glossed over with a paragraph or two of summarizing.

(show spoiler)

It was disappointing, because so much of this story was about showing us Colin and Andrew's journey together, and I wanted more than what we got at the very end. This story is long enough and detailed enough that another chapter or two to do these things justice wouldn't have been a burden to any reader who had made it that far. Instead, it feels like the author got tired of writing, so I'm knocking a star off for that. Otherwise, this is a near perfect read.