Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
In one word, B.B. Easton’s Fighting for Rain is provocative. In the world of romance, in any given year, you read a handful of books that could be described with that one word. As the second book in the trilogy, you hope that it can hold the attention of the reader after the first book, and Easton does this so succinctly that, at its end, you can’t help but cringe because you know you have to wait for the next one. From the first to the last page, Fighting for Rain is spellbinding even in its moments of darkness.
I don’t want to give any plot to you other than this is a continuation of Praying for Rain, the first book of the Rain Trilogy. In that book, we meet Rain and Wes as they fall for each other amidst the looming end of the world. However, at that book’s end, all is not as it seems, and it leaves Fighting for Rain, the second book, to answer the questions of the first book. In this second book, Rain and Wes are faced with other challenges, greater than the ones present in the first book. Amidst their daily struggle, they grapple with the past’s influence on their burgeoning relationship. At times, all seems lost until it isn’t. It’s this struggle that keeps the reader engaged, even as the story becomes more complicated and more violent. As Fighting for Rain ends, once again, Easton leaves us with more questions and more heartbreak. But, as we find in the first book, there is always an undercurrent of hope, and it’s that hope that will keep Easton’s readers waiting with bated breath for the third and final book of the trilogy, Dying for Rain. Given the provocative and violent nature of this story, why should readers read it? Why is it worthy of my 5-star review? Here goes:
*There is an emotional gravitas to Fighting for Rain. While it would be easy to dismiss Easton’s grandiose story of life pre-apocalypse, she crafts a gravity into the characters’ stories that suspends your disbelief. Wes’s struggle for acceptance, moving past his demons, resonates with her readers whose pasts haunt them. Rain’s struggle with the acceptance of her situation and her overwhelming grief for her past life are many of us who have endured the pain of death in our lives. All of the characters in this trilogy lose something whether it’s their dreams, their possessions, their sanity, or their power; the loss is heavy in this story, yet it’s true to life. No, we aren’t living in an apocalyptic world (even when it seems like it), but we can empathize with the characters in the process of their journey because their emotions are our emotions. Easton concocts this connection and pulls us in hook, line, and sinker.
*This story is layered. I can’t tell you the number of romances I have read where the only layer is the relationship between the hero and heroine. I’m not saying that is a problem, or that it makes a poor story. Yet, when you read a book such as Fighting for Rain, it reminds you of the weight of storytelling when there is more than the hero and heroine. In this book, the underlying layer is survival. Everyone in this book is trying to survive, and they must sacrifice portions of themselves in order to do that. Another layer of this story resides in the ancillary storyline of the reasons behind the world ending. It’s evil and demonstrates the misuse of power by a government to a heinous end. There is more revelation behind the four horsemen in Fighting for Rain, so this layer shows the abiding danger of this new world. Besides these first two layers is the layer of Wes and Rain’s developing connection. In this book, it’s more fraught than Praying for Rain because both of them are dealing with internal emotional upheavals that seek to torpedo their connection. Beyond that, Easton designs the environmental layer. This incorporates the other survivors and the dangers of this world. In these layers, Easton shows her storytelling muscle, bringing us romance within the scope of a broken, unloving world. This dichotomy is the brilliance of this story.
*Finally, Easton’s inventiveness in creating Wes and Rain’s relationship is key to understanding Fighting for Rain, but even more, in this trilogy. Encapsulated in their relationship is a microcosm of their new world. There is beauty as evidenced by a singular moment on Wes’s return back to Rain. And there is sorrow in Wes’s abandonment of Rain. There is a deep love between these two, but their individual traumas have the potential to wreck their present. Their relationship illustrates the world around them. It’s their coupling that I think pulls the reader through the story. At least, that was the case for me. As the world outside of them becomes darker, they become lighter, and you can’t help but continue reading, hoping they can exist in this fractured, morally destitute world. Unfortunately, there is always sacrifice, and Easton finds the most compelling way to offer it to her reader. In doing so, her readers are now ravenous for the final book.
In its provocation of romancelandia, Fighting for Rain (along with its siblings) is poking at the norm. The world of the Rain Trilogy isn’t beautiful; it’s mangled and mutilated. Yet, Wes and Rain, in its midst, remind me of the plant from the film, Wall-E. Poking up through the wreckage is this innocent, fast-growing relationship of soulmates: starcrossed, fighting for survival, resilient. This isn’t the bedroom of a billionaire; it isn’t the small-town romance; and it isn’t even the dark bully romance of a high school/college. Fighting for Rain is life, and B.B. Easton beautifully imagines where love is light, fighting to cast out the darkness of a world that has forgotten the power and gravity of love. Read. This. Trilogy. Now. It’s found its niche in the world of romance.
In love and romance,