*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review and is rated 18+
My usual disclaimer is only partly correct since it only applies to the one galley I got. I ended up blowing right passed it to review the whole series.
The premise of this is these kids in high school have a caste system enforced by the students themselves. The ranking is determined by playing cards; a King, Queen, Jack, etc. You can’t just refuse to participate without becoming a target to everyone else. So, of course this system is rife for abuse with students using their rank to exploit those below them. As this is rated 18+ and yaoi, there’s tons of sexual exploitation.
The plot tries to save itself with “Well, deep down, they have feelings” but it doesn’t take away from how non-consensual a lot of these encounters are – making it doubly uncomfortable for me considering these are high school kids. I do enjoy the couples that form and try to use the system to their advantage but this overall comes off as a bleak read. It feels wrong to say I enjoyed reading it, more like I was compelled to move forward. If you can take how rapey this is and you’re craving some dramatic yaoi, give it a shot. 2.7 out of 5