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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Fighting Shadows (On the Ropes #2) [Flint Page & Ash Mabie] by Aly Martinez

I admit that after the previous one, I had crazy expectation for this one, not only that, I really liked Flint and how different he seemed from both Till and Quarry (more of a silent, self controlled brainiac). But in this one, I found a bitter, angry and mostly high-handed man I disliked. Sadly, Ash wasn't a favorite either since she was too childish to my liking. So somehow I struggled through the book, and though I did find myself hoping they find their way to each other while both maturing and realizing who they are and what they want, it still felt lacking, mostly because my connection to both MC felt fragile. It was there one minute and then there was an eyeroll when I was annoyed with their behavior. I wanted this book to be so much more and I wanted to see Flint's progression in a much better way but somehow it was shadowed and rushed through. I guess with Flint's "It's no big deal" attitude I can see why it did make sense to skip it. 

I'm getting ahead of myself.. it's just that I feel annoyed about this book. Flint and Ash meet under a very difficult circumstances and not when Flint is in his right mind. The Page mother is back in town and she wants 14 years old Quarry or rather she and her new con husband wants Till's money now that he has so much of it.. This con man also has a daughter - Ash who soon becomes friends with Quarry and when she finally meets Flint she sees there is MUCH more to him than meets the eye. He might be this grumpy guy in a wheelchair but she could see beneath it he has a good heart and though people look at her as just a thief she too has a heart of gold waiting to be cherished. 

Flint is more than struggling. His infatuation with Eliza is getting worse now than he is living with her and Till in their new home. He loves his brother and his wife but he is consumed by bitterness and jealousy to all Till has in comparison to all Flint lost and will never have. So in the end he decides to leave and go to college on his own, meaning totally severing his connection to his family. Things get complicated when Quarry is taken to the Mabie family (his mother and her new husband) but since it's still joined custody with Till it somehow works for him especially when he gets a cool bigger sister who loves getting in trouble. Flint is worried about Quarry being in her company, but very quickly he falls for her charms. Yet he is still confused about his feelings for Eliza and worried Ash would come to her senses soon enough realizing Flint has nothing to offer her. 19 years old cripple in a wheelchair with no money or a job. 

Not too long after Ash realizes she has fallen in love with Flint they have a MAJOR fallout. It's filled with discoveries and a bunch of lies that break them apart for 3 long years in which both crave one another. While Ash is hiding away, Flint is looking for her like crazy but also starts building a life, growing up and making a man out of himself. When they meet again, the trusting girl Flint met years before is gone, and now he is the one who needs to show Ash he is serious and he wants her to stay with him forever. 

They both needed to grow up. When they met they were both too lost and mostly too young. Flint thought she was a little girl, and yet he was a cry baby child himself, insecure about who he is and having nothing he feels is his own. Ash tried her best to care for herself and oddly enough she did well but coming into Flint's life again is shaking her. She is scared of what he is offering her and how much it isn't really "her". White picket fence in a nice neighborhood scares the crap out of her, not to mention promises from a guy who meant the whole world to her who ended up breaking her heart. 

Ash was practically a kid when Flint and her met and it showed. I didn't know exactly how old she was when the book starts but no matter what my guess was it was lower than she actually was. I found her silly games annoying and the trouble she got Quarry into was plainly stupid. I mean, she did nothing truly horrible, but she wasn't a good influence to a kid who shouldn't be encouraged to misbehave as it is.. Flint was wallowing in his pity, throwing tantrums all around, I found it hard standing in his corner knowing everyone else in the picture from the previous book. I just wanted him to realize that he might have lost his ability to walk but EVERYONE stayed on his side and was willing to do nearly ANYTHING for him and though he felt like an asshole for mistreating his family he kept doing that. 

When Ash and Flint FINALLY find their way to one another I found I disliked the angry, bossy and high-handed man he turned out to be. Just saying, that if he tried ANY of that stuff on Eliza he would have gotten slapped in the face.. Lucky for HER she got a real man in Till who wasn't trying to control her and man-handle her but respected her enough to make her do her decisions. There was something Alpha-like and aggressive about how Flint handled Ash which I DESPISE in men. He lost ALL appeal for me. There wasn't anything sexy about him and it's not because he couldn't really control his legs it's the way he used his mouth and hands that ruined it for me. I realize the exact thing I HATED about this book is going to win this one a lot of fans, but clearly I'm not one of them. 

I'm ready to get Quarry's story now. Near the end of this one we are introduced to his tragedy which is very different than what his brothers suffered. After everything I've read about him, since he was around 6 years old, it's going to be interesting seeing how he turned out to be and how he deals with his current loss. 

I bought this book in a book-set containing all three novels. 

Here's my summary of the series (with links to individual reviews)

Read on:
21-22 Apr-2017

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