REVIEW: Soaring by Kristen Ashley

soaringI’m giving the book 4 stars not by my general standards, but by KA standards, and you guys, I know you know how I mean.


Well, here’s a sample:

Conrad jerked around.

I looked beyond him and the world suspended.

This was because, five feet away from Conrad, standing on my front walk, was a tall, muscular man with dark hair clipped short to his skull and the most beautiful blue eyes I’d ever seen in my life.

Those eyes were on Conrad. They were irate.

The thing about KA, if you haven’t read her yet or haven’t heard from her, is she basically writes a long love story about a macho man and an independent, empowered woman, but still manage to pull off both succumbing to the very un-PC representation of woman and present a HEA. Her image of a macho man is also very problematic in the sense that each and every one of her heroes is one and the same. Like, believe it. I called them heroes in my last review of her Rinse and Repeat heroes.

So. How did this book even get a four-star rating from me?

I was actually expecting a disaster from the way the first book ran. Maybe that’s the key to reading KA though: You have to know what you’re going into. As a newbie, I almost put the book down because it’s so hard to read. *actual tears* My first KA book was Rock Chick, and I’ve heard so many good reviews of it that I forced myself to wade in the mess that was KA. It was horrible. But it did pay off.

Another thing about KA is that you may want to rewrite her whole book, but you’d have to give her credit that she writes the most interesting turn of events and the craziest characters in the literary world. Her characters are just golden puffs of marijuana smoke. The guys are also insanely hot and comes a dime a dozen. But emphasis on a dime a dozen.

Soaring was pretty much a book that doesn’t have to do much from its preceding book in the series to be considered decent. The first book, The Will, was just, really, a disaster. It was so ambitious, and it’s like watching a rocket launch go tremendously awry, everything just went horribly wrong. Just. Wrong.

So as the second book, as I’ve said, there really isn’t much it could have done to best The Will in the epic fuck-up. In KA standards though, the MCs are pretty normal. But what made it really okay for me is that, despite knowing Amelia had done something batshit crazy before she moved to Magdalene, she’s also very easy to sympathize with.

The mistakes we make in life don’t define us, Amy. The way we handle ’em after makin’ ’em do. You made a mistake. Now you’re handling it and doing it the right way and that’s who you are. A mother who wants to heal her family and make them safe and healthy. So really, you got that strength in you, that’s all you ever were. Your ex tripped you up and you weren’t expecting it and you didn’t handle it right. But that’s over, so you gotta find the strength to keep handling it right now

Amelia Hathaway is a divorced mother of two who had made some mistakes prior to moving to Magdalene. And by some mistakes, she unleashed the fury of a woman scorned on her ex-husband and his current wife. It was alluded in the book that everything she did was made publicly and they weren’t pretty. At all. Her kids were also compromised by her revenge, so in turn, their custody was awarded to their cheating asshole of a father, who then moved to Maine. Away from Amelia of then La Jolla, CA.

On her third day in Magdalene, Conrad, the ex-assband, paid her a visit and really got into her face. Until she was saved by her hot firefighter neighbor, Mickey Donovan.

“All my life,” I whispered, “I was the girl who everyone thought had everything or could get it. But the only thing I ever wanted was a man like you. You’re the best man I’ve ever met, Mickey Donovan.” I felt another tear and the words trembled when I finished, “And you’re mine.”

The thing is though, Amelia won the book so much. SO. MUCH. She went from this really sad, really broken woman, and the readers were there every step of the way to her recovery. And it’s amazing. The journey was long, but I loved it. It’s just, really systematic and realistic for me.

Mickey was also quite refreshing. I can’t quite exactly point out how he’s different from the other KA hero clones, but it’s maybe because he doesn’t establish his male dominance in every freaking scene. Although there are still many problematic scenes between him and Amelia that I just cannot–

Sometimes I wonder what KA was thinking, actually. She writes really strong female characters, but she also enforces gender stereotypes. I don’t know what she wants to pull off here. TBH.

I guess, the thing that puts me off, I just realized, is her misrepresentation of a strong male character. Not every strong male character should be all-macho, all-dominating hunk of a man. He doesn’t have to impose his decisions to the female around him just because he is the alpha of the relationship and the house. (The young adult males are also tiny, budding hero clones so it’s seriously disturbing and really, really problematic.) This representation just perpetuates the idea that a man should be THE man of the house. Yeah, sure you should provide for your family, but it’s not because you are male and therefore, biologically appointed to be the breadwinner. Or in the case of the young adult baby clones, just because you are the son doesn’t mean you have to speak in active, incomplete sentences like the hero clones.

Ok, it’s just super frustrating. But yeah. It was a fun read, despite the problematic gender roles. (Very problematic, though.)


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