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Central (Daughters of Saraqael Book Two) Paperback – November 2, 2011
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About the Author
Raine Thomas is the award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction. Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine recently signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen. She's a proud indie author who is living the dream.
Raine is a hopeless romantic with a background in the fields of mental health and wedding planning...two areas that intersect far more than one would think. Her years working with children and young adults with emotional and behavioral challenges inspired her to create protagonists who overcome their own conflicts. When she isn't writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida's beautiful beaches or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.
Top customer reviews
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1. World Building
Raine Thomas does an amazing job of setting up the plane where only the Estilorians live. Her vivid descriptions help the reader visualize this unique world with total clarity, and while it has some similarities to the human plane, it is also completely different and awesome.
2. Women who are kickass
The daughters of Saraquel, Amber, Olivia, and Skye all have amazing powers and can defeat any enemy with their blessed weapons. They are all sculpted and muscular and have the ability to fly. Even when they get roughed up in battles, they emerge triumphant. The men are pretty amazing, too, but this is the ultimate series to embrace "girl power."
3. Villains you truly hate
When I read books, I want my villains to be entirely despicable, and the evil leader and minions of the Mercesti class of Estilorians encompasses everything evil required of proper villains. By the time I was knee deep into the series, I hated them with the proper intensity.
4. Believeable characters
Raine's characters are three-dimensional in thought, deed, and action. It's easy to fall in love with all of them, and they are all unique in different ways. The way the series plays out allows you to get to intimately get to know all of the main characters and many of the others, too.
5. The entire series is written by an Indie writer, proving once more there isn't only "garbage" published outside of the traditional realm.
I used to stick to the mainstream writers, favoring the works of Koontz, King, Rice, Gresham, etc., but all I've been reading in the last couple of months are terrific indie writers. I used to be in favor of traditional publishing only, but my negative perception has been changed forever. There is plenty of talent waiting to be discovered, and I am wholeheartedly pro-Indie. Raine's books helped that along, too. If you haven't read any of the books on the fantastic Estilorians, I highly recommend you do. I've read and loved every one of them
First off, I want it known that this was already written a week ago, my loving fiance however, took the laptop and didn't know to NOT CLOSE THE TAB, so now.. (huge pout), I am re-writing my review, which isn't all bad, since I won't be in utter shock and writing, like the first time, BUT, I am doing it under protest. Protest, because Raine's new book, Defy, the first in the trilogy that follows the ones I am reviewing, was released today, and I haven't gotten to read it yet!
Alas, I knew I needed to write this, (and get it posted, the fiance WILL be home sometime tonight!) before reading the new one, as to not inadvertently review the new one, in this same group. For those to whom that sentence made sense, thank you for following my somewhat twisted thought processes, and for those to whom it did not make sense, my apologies.
Daughters of Saraquel.... omg. I don't have words, even a week, two weeks, and I suspect even six months from now, later. I just don't. Raine Thomas has proven I am NOT the only person in the world that thinks the way I do, lol, poor Raine, but her ability to make it clear to others, well, I envy it. She tells a story so rich, so intricate, and yet, still manages to NOT lose her reader. Something I am still working on.
The main characters exhibit the best humanity has to offer in terms of a desire to do right. Yes, I did intentionally word it that way, because that is pretty much how I view it. We can do right or wrong, and the girls constantly watch themselves to make sure which path they are traveling, a concept I think reaches far more than just myself and my son, judging by the other reviews. What I truly enjoy and what sets these apart from other fantasy novels based on good and evil, is that Raine allows the characters to ALL have both aspects, even those inherently evil ones, and allows you to see the struggles that we all endure as we walk our individual paths. I connected with some aspect of every single character, and I've never, in over 3000 books, and 38 years, encountered that. I empathized (read my first post, I am an empath) with every single character, including Aurora, the feline counterpart to Olivia.
I challenge anyone to read these books and NOT connect to the characters. I cannot imagine someone not finding at least ONE character that was so deeply like themselves, and yet, I can tell you, I saw aspects in ALL of them. Raine has such a clear understanding of humanity, our emotions, and how those emotions can lead the best of us, to do the worst of things, and vice-versa, that you cannot help but connect with her books, and her.
I have been so blessed, the night I was reading the first one, was a very hard night for me. I won't go into details, but I was seeking a distraction from reality, and even my favorite books (Marina's Tales, reviewed first in my blog) were not providing it. My eyes lit on Raine's books, and I decided to trust my instincts. I cannot tell you how glad I am that I did. I also wrote her a letter that night, going into more detail as to what I was trying to evade, and somehow, between her book, and my letter, I made the most valuable thing in the world... a new friendship. However, that didn't happen till I was done with the books, so nope, it's not because I care about Raine that I will crow about her books. That would have happened no matter her response to my letter. :)
There is no simple way to put it that will accurately reflect the quality of the writing. She has no typos, which I find in the big box books anyway, no grammatical issues, nothing of the technical problems that plague so many books.. but she DOES have everything that truly matters. There is a depth of passion, love, and sheer soul that she puts into her work that I see glimpses of in most writing, but rarely is it thrown out there for the world to judge. She puts 110% of herself into what she is writing, and I hope that I have accurately conveyed that.
On that note, as much as I LOVE talking about her books, I am dying to read one.. and mean it is actually starting to make me batty, so, I suggest, when you are done reading the Daughters of Saraquel's trilogy, that you go find "Defy", the story beyond it, and somehow, I already know, it's going to be on my kindle's favorites shelf along with it's predecessors. GO READ! :)
I have to say that Central doesn't disappoint. Even if it moves focus from Amber and Gabriel *swoons* we get to know a lot more about Olivia and James.
One of the things that I liked the most, was reading about the sisters coming to term with the expansion of their family. The way they grow closer and end up with a new tattoo on their wrists pulled at my heart. As the relationships are very real, and the deepening of those feelings get to touch the reader's core. Also the dawning of James real feelings for Olivia was at times funny and at times, I just wanted to slap him over the head.
The treat from the Mercesti had me on the edge of my seat as I turned page after page in quick succession trying to read as fast as I could, in order to find out what would happen to them.
Raine Thomas has created an amazing and fantastical world, in which the reader is drawn and completely smitten with the characters.
Though I'm a self-confessed and self-appointed, Gabriel stalker; I have to say that James reminded me of many of my guy friends in High School and university. Not able to deal or express his feelings, or well more to the point, not realizing why those feelings were stirring, was priceless. Fine, I'll admit I have a bit of a crush on James and a huge girl crush on Olivia.
Five out of Five cookies