Daughters of Saraqael, Book #1
Review brought to you by OBS staff member Annabell
Every three years, Amber Hopkins explodes. Okay, not a blown-to-smithereens explosion, but whatever it is always hurts like hell and leaves her life in shambles. She’s already worked her way through five foster placements, and she’s doing whatever she can to avoid getting blasted into a sixth.
As her eighteenth birthday approaches and she feels the strange and powerful energy building, disaster looms. When the inevitable explosion occurs, her life gets its biggest shakeup yet. She’ll not only learn how her fellow foster and best friend, Gabriel, really feels about her, but she’ll discover that she isn’t really without family.
To top it all off, she’ll finally find out why she’s having the power surges: she isn’t entirely human.
Amber must Become, transitioning to another plane of existence and risking the loss of the most important relationship she’s ever had. Her choice will impact the future of an entire race of beings, and will pit her against an enemy that will prey upon her doubt to try and take her very life.
Kind of makes the explosions now seem like a cakewalk.
I have read many books by Indie authors and many of them either follow the same exact plot-line of so many books I have read before or fill their books with so many clichés you can’t stop rolling your eyes the whole way through the read. Becoming falls somewhere between the two but also manages to distinct itself enough to make it different.
There are some strong elements to the book. One of my favorites was the relationship between Amber and Gabriel. I liked that their relationship was built on a friendship that expanded for six years before they chose to finally confess their feelings to each other. They have such an intimate and loving bond. They understand each other very well and are fiercely protective of one another. Their love was very well-developed and a reader can easily connect with their romance.
Amber and Gabriel are the main focus of the story and their characters are written fairly well. I appreciate that Amber has overcome many struggles in her life and has learned to be strong. I could also appreciate her fear of being vulnerable and open. I felt a connection with her character and enjoyed her tough-yet-shy-sarcastic-attitude. On the other hand, I became rather annoyed by her whinnying throughout the first half of the book about going to the salon or shopping. As sweet and loving as Gabriel’s character was he was also a character that wasn’t fully believable. He was made out to be the swoon-worthy male lead but had no real flaws. Olivia and Sophie work well as secondary characters but Sophie comes off weak, insecure and childlike. I thought she was far younger than she really was.
The biggest issue with the book was the plot. The author chose to showcase every miniscule detail of what the characters thought, what they were wearing and how they felt. The book was dragged down by details that, as a reader, I just didn’t care about knowing. I would skim over pages until the pacing of the book would pick up again. The main problem of the plot is the fact that nothing substantial really happens until the book is a hundred or so pages from being finished. Once the action kicks in, the pacing slows again and takes a bit to pick back up again but then ends quite quickly.
Another aspect of the book that didn’t work so well was the relationship between Amber and Gabriel. Yes, the romance I did enjoy but only to a certain point then I started to become tired of how often they were throwing “goo-goo” eyes at each other and kissing. The majority of the book is made up of Amber and Gabriel declaring how much they love each other and kissing. There were moments that were thoroughly sweet and beautiful but at times their declarations of love become too much. The few parts the so called villain came into focus and the book was narrated from his point of view, acted more as a way for the author to fill a gap in the plot than acting as any actual use to progressing the story. The villain reminded me of a bad B-movie than the evil-crazy scheming-villain a reader would expect. There needed to be more depth to his character.
I enjoyed the world of the Estilorians even though I did not fully understand it. Somehow Gabriel and Amber are able to touch each other and continue their never ending make out sessions without bodies. Or perhaps, they have bodies I just couldn’t understand . . . I liked Gabriel’s connection to the Estilorians but his past should have been explained a bit better, especially when his connection expands to the so called bad guys later in the novel. It just felt far too much like a coincidence. I wanted more of a back-story behind Gabriel’s Estilorian past.
Overall, I enjoyed Becoming. There were many moments where I was able to connect to the characters and beautiful moments between Amber and Gabriel. I also did enjoy the few action scenes that were present in the plot. I hope there is more dimension to the plot, the villain and behind Amber and Gabriel in the next two books to the trilogy. I am excited to see how the author progresses in her writing style and how Amber and Gabriel’s story develops!