Book Title: Hockey Karma (The Forever Friends Series #3)
Genre: Sports Graphic Novel
Author: Howard Shapiro
Illustrator: Andres Mossa
Illustrator: Andres Mossa
Date Published: 1 November 2016
The highly anticipated sequel to the award winning “The Hockey Saint” taking place ten years after “Saint” ends. The legendary Jeremiah “Jake” Jacobson, now thirty two, has been the world’s best hockey player over his fourteen year career because of his out of this world talent and his smart play. But he can’t stay on top forever, and when he starts making mistakes on the ice, his career and family life start to crumble.
At the same time, Tom Leonard, his agent and best friend, is completely overwhelmed by a project that he and Jake were supposed to be working on together. A project that could have a huge impact on people throughout their city in need of a helping hand. As Jake sinks deeper into a funk over his lost status due to his deteriorating play and the emergence of teammate and rookie phenom Barclay Pedersen, Tom realizes he’s on his own. At the same time he rediscovers someone from his past who he never thought he’d see again. In that burgeoning relationship, Tom discovers the importance of taking chances and starts to believe in himself.
Can Jake break out of his downward spiral and Tom finally find the courage to step out of Jake’s shadow?
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I am not a huge reader of graphic novels. But, having previously read The Stereotypical Freaks by this author, when he contacted me and asked if I would be willing to read this graphic novel, I quickly agreed. He sent me a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.
Jeremiah “Jake” Jacobson is a very troubled character. I felt for him as he dealt with issues that affect us at one time or another. Unfortunately, I didn't like him as much as I thought I would. Being a professional ice hockey player, he has had to deal with his fair share of injuries and pain. However, he is now faced with dealing with his potential replacement, who is a lot younger and eager to prove himself, which makes him jealous.
His best friend and agent, Tom Leonard, meanwhile, has problems of his own. I really liked him. He really wants to make a difference to the local community, but when he meets an old flame, he must decide whether to follow his head or his heart.
Because I hadn't read The Hockey Saint, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to follow the story. However, I needn't have worried as it takes place ten years later. As I mentioned above, I am not a huge reader of graphic novels, nor am I a follower of ice hockey. I must admit that it took me a while to get into this story, as I am out of practice reading this genre of books, which includes comics. However, I enjoyed the story as it unfolded. The author has included a play list to listen to whilst reading this book. However, I didn't have any of these songs available to read to on hand, so persevered without them.
The illustrations are excellent and show the progression of the story; this made it easy for me to picture the scenes. I did find the story a little lacking dialogue wise, but this is because I am used to reading novels written in text, where the author has to use words to describe things in more detail and there is more interaction between characters. The story, once I got into it, gripped me and I found myself emotionally involved. I felt for Tom as he wrestled with his commitment to a community project and his love for an old flame. However, I didn't have the same emotional tug with Jake, even though he's going through a tough time himself. Maybe this is because, although I could empathize with him, I haven't been through the same problems he faced.
I congratulate Howard Shapiro on a fantastic tale that touched me deeply. Because this is a graphic novel, his writing style is difficult to judge but I would say it's evenly paced. The flow is also difficult to judge, though the illustrations made the scenes flow seamlessly.
Although I enjoyed reading Hockey Karma, I find that graphic novels are not my cup of tea. However, I highly recommend this book if you love reading them, or are an ice hockey/sports fan. - Lynn Worton
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Howard Shapiro lives in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife and two sons. The Controller for the Pittsburgh-based Visual Effects firm, Animal Inc., he has also written four children’s books and The Stereotypical Freaks will be his debut Graphic Novel. His 2008 book, Hockey Player for Life, has been the #1 downloaded children’s hockey e-book on Amazon’s Kindle chart since its arrival as an e-book in November of 2011. His, Hockey Days book was the only book featured in the December 2007 Sporting News Annual Gift Guide as a Best Buy Gift for Children. Through a corporate sponsorship program he set up (and maintains), since the 2010-11 season, both of his children’s hockey books have been given to NHL teams (over 2,500 copies to date) for use in their community and educational initiatives. Since 2006 his annual charity raffle, which he matches dollar for dollar donated, has raised funds for several hockey-related charities including the Mario Lemieux Foundation, Hockey Fights Cancer and the Keith and Lisa Primeau Scholarship Fund. For more information, please log on to howardshapiro.net.