Thursday, December 8, 2011

Becoming by Raine Thomas

Title: Becoming
Series: Daughters of Saraqael
Author: Raine Thomas

Length: 4292 Kindle units
Rating: 3.5 stars

The Plot

Amber has been the source of a major surge of destructive power every three years of her life for as long as she can remember. As her eighteenth birthday approaches, she knows that she is due for another one. What she doesn’t know is that this time she has more to lose than her best-friend-and-possibly-more Gabriel.

On her graduation trip to Alaska, Amber and Gabriel meet not only two girls claiming to be Amber’s sisters but also a group of otherworldly beings who claim that they have long been waiting for Amber and Gabriel’s return. Soon the pair find themselves on a journey to another plane of existence where they find themselves in the middle of a war that is just beginning.

The Good

I decided to read Becoming first of all the self-published selections available on Amazon largely because it had 24 ratings, and 22 of these were five stars. Once I got past the prologue (in which I think the author is trying to go for a more erudite tone but just ends up with some very strange word pairings), I found the book to be an enjoyable read. The characters are largely likable, and the author creates an interesting angel mythology that manages to be more than just “OMG, hot boyz with wings!” (Not to worry, though. There are still hot boys with wings.)

The Bad

If, during the course of your life, you come across people who tell you that you need to ascend to a higher plane of existence, you should be wary of them. If they then mention that you will be leaving your human bodies behind for others to dispose of, this is the point at which you need to separate yourself from these people and check yourself into exit counseling from your cult. I don’t care how many dangerous “power surges” you are experiencing.

Other than my fears regarding an overly literal interpretation of the transformation scene --And, yes, I also have concerns that the Twilight series promotes domestic violence and that Disney gives young girls some very bad values. It’s a side effect of a degree in English – my biggest problem with Becoming was pacing. There were a few cases where we received extremely detailed explanations of what Amber was wearing and her thoughts about each article of clothing. While we are doing this, we are also not meeting the major characters of Amber’s sisters until nearly halfway through the novel. I realize that this is in large part because the next two books are going to be about Skye and Olivia, and we want to make sure Amber gets her due, but I think the book would have been better served if the sisters had a few sections in the first half of the novel, in lieu of Amber's wardrobe.

The Romance

Becoming starts out with a basic scenario – Amber has no idea that her best friend, the supercute Gabriel, is in love with her. This plot is fine, if a little overdone. The problem is that this situation resolves itself by the end of chapter 5. And when a romance plot resolves itself satisfactorily, I tend to want to stop reading. I’m like, “Yay! Now everyone can get married and live happily ever after!” I am actually hesitant to read more book after this, because I’m certain that things have to go downhill from here.

I did keep reading – more because I wanted to review the book for my blog than because I was interested in the plot at this point. There were continuing romantic developments and obstacles, and the romance did not go downhill after chapter 5 . If anything it went in the other direction and was a little bit too sugary sweet at parts. Overall, though, the romance was more satisfying than many I have read, and I strongly recommend it for people who like their romance to be just as important than the plot.

Will I read more?

Well, I think the most telling answer to this question is that I have not yet. There are two further books in the series readily available, but I have not been motivated to download them onto my Kindle yet. There will probably come a time in the future where I am desperate for something new to read, and I will be like, “Hm. Maybe I should read the next one in that Daughters of Saraqael series.” So I would have to say that I am not dying to read more, but I am not vehemently opposed to doing so either.


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