|Title: The Protectors Series: The Protectors Saga, Book 1|
Author: P.M. Dooling Pub. Date: Sept. 4, 2011
Format: kindle ebook Source: author for honest review
|Every 16-year old thinks they have the weight of the world on their shoulders. For Avery Kimball this was actually true…she just didn’t know it yet. Life for Avery was completely normal, attending school, hanging out with friends, and spending time with her family. Until the day she finds out that she and her four closest friends have a destiny that will take them far away from their comfortable and safe lives on Earth. Avery learns that she and her friends are actually a group of powerful warriors known as the Protectors, who were charged with protecting the planet of Orcatia, but were killed by the evil Emperor. To save their lives, their magical mentor sent them to Earth to be re-born. It is now their duty to return to the planet and life they have no memory of, and once again serve as its Protectors, fighting the very Emperor responsible for their deaths. Along the way, Avery must contend with battling malevolent creatures, her sometimes fragile relationships with her friends and fellow Protectors, her attraction to the mysterious King of Nightfell, and her own doubts and fears about who she truly is and who she can become. |
I had no idea what to expect when I was asked to review this book, but I was immediately drawn to its synopsis. Past lives? Warriors from another planet? Complicated romances? Umm, yes, yes, and yes please! This book did not disappoint; it pulled me in with its synopsis and took me on a delightful, fantastical ride.
Avery Kimball and her four best friends are just normal, average girls…or are they? The arrival of Gumptin, the short, bossy Wizard changes the lives of the girls forever. He informs them that they are actually from another planet, Oractia, where they were once Protector Warriors who were killed 16 years ago by the evil Emperor. The powerful Elementals placed their departed souls back within their mothers’ wombs and sent them to Earth to be reborn and live until they were ready to return to their home planet and protect it once again…flash forward to 16 years later when Gumptin appears and lays the truth on the girls. The five girls, having no memory of their past lives, must leave Earth and return to Orcatia where they retrain as Warriors and fight unimaginable creatures, while dealing with the drama that is teenagedom.
This book pulls you in immediately in the first few pages, plopping you right in the middle of the action. There’s nothing slow about this book; the story moves quickly with action packed scenes. I found it to be a real page turner, finishing in it in almost one (late night to wee hours in the morning) sitting. There are quite a few things about this book that I really love: the characters, the fantasy elements, and the creative twists on the well used “past lives/reborn” story line.
The five main characters are pretty awesome. They’re relatable, funny, and feel very real and organic in the way they talk; act; react. These are five girls that I can easily imagine living and breathing in the world somewhere…and would totally love to hang out with. I really love the way that, not only are the five girls individually unique and different from one another, they are also not simply carbon copies of their past selves. Dooling has created these five girls in such a way that there’s a refreshing distinction between who they once were and who they were allowed to become on Earth. I found each girl to be well developed and interesting, and I think no matter a reader’s personality, they will be able to connect and relate to at least one of the girls. I developed a genuine affection for all five girls by the end of the book and I was really invested in their characters, stories, and personal journeys.
The fantasy elements in this book- from Gumptin’s Wizard powers to the Protector’s connection to the elements to all the different creatures and beings to the planet Orcatia itself- are really delightful. The description of Havyn, the village where the girls live, and of Orcatia creates an image in my mind that reflects what I always pictured as the classic magical, fantasy world- with its vast and dense forests, castles, quaint villages that are reminiscent of the middle ages, charming and whimsical homes (they live in homes built inside trees, like the Berenstein Bears, which is beyond awesome to me!). The whole world Dooling has created just feels so enchanting.
But, I also like how the story isn’t all fantasy and whimsy. There are many really intense, violent action scenes as well. Dooling definitely doesn’t scrimp on the action packed, realistic, sometimes bloody fight scenes. And can I say just how awesome it is to read about not one, but FIVE butt kicking, female warriors. Talk about your girl power! But it’s not all fighting all the time. There’s definitely some budding romance blooming, and deliciously complicated, frustrating romance to boot.
There’s a lot of information explained in the earlier chapters, usually back story that is very much needed, which is given quick and mostly through dialogue. While I didn’t find these passages so, some readers may find them a bit overwhelming, so I recommend reading these sections slowly…and you’ll just "know" what parts I’m referring to once who begin reading.
The ending sets up the next book nicely and I’m hooked. I really look forward to seeing where this series goes and I’ve really enjoyed being swept away into Dooling’s world. I love this book and definitely recommend reading it!
You can contact and learn more about P.M. Dooling here:
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In her own words:
I was born and raised in Arizona, where besides a healthy love for writing, I also developed an obsession with Chuck Taylors, Jim Henson, and classic rock. In what little free time I have I enjoy writing fantasy, visiting observatories, and spending far too much time reading travel narratives.
If you were to describe The Protectors in a tweet, using only 140 characters, how would you describe it?
Oh no, I always have problems condensing my tweets. Alright, here it goes, "The Protectors is a story about five girls who learn they have a destiny that takes them into a world of fantasy, magic, and danger." That was so much harder than it should have been!
A most superb tweet that describes your book well!
Where did the idea or inspiration for the Protectors Saga come from?
It's actually kind of a funny story. My best friend and I were both home sick one day, really sick, like sweaty gross sick. So, of course, after taking copious amounts of NyQuil we called each other. After a few minutes we both fell asleep while still on the phone. In my fevered NyQuil induced sleep I had a dream about certain parts of The Protectors story. When I woke up, three hours later, I started talking into the phone again, waking my friend up. I told her about my dream and we spent another three hours giving flesh to the whole story. I think we actually thought the whole thing was real...I blame the drugs. Anyway, a few months later I decided to write it all down...and that's how it all got started.
NyQuil dreams are the best!
In Book 1, we are introduced to the five Protectors- Avery, Jade, Skylar, Bunny, Sasha- who have very distinct personalities. Were these five characters modeled after real people in your life? Did you put a little bit of yourself into any of them. Do you have a favorite?
They are kind of loosely based on girls I knew from high school, but once you start writing characters they take on a life of their own, or at least that's what I tell my friends when a character based off of them does something offensive. I love them all, so it's hard to pick a favorite, but I do have a soft spot for Avery and Jade, especially Jade.
I love how feisty Jade is! But I think my fave girl is either Avery or Skylar.
It was actually in my dream. When I started writing the story, the tree houses were actually one of the elements I was thinking about changing, but then I thought 'no way!'. If I was living in a fantasy world I would definitely want my house in a giant tree...so they stayed.
There are so many enchanting and whimsical fantastical elements in the village of Havyn, where the five Protectors live, and one of my favorite aspects are the houses built inside the trees. I just love the thought of living inside a tree! When I read about the tree houses, my mind went directly to the Berenstein Bears, one of my favorite book series has a child, so I have to ask, where did this particular idea come from?
So glad you didn't change it! I love the tree houses and want one of my own for sure!
You’ve incorporated many fantasy creatures and beings in Book 1, and in the entire series I’m sure. There are wizards, gnomes, elves, trolls, demons, dwarves, the Elementals, and I’m super excited about meeting the faeries in Book 2. Do you have a favorite being or creature that you’ve used or created? Are there any fantasy beings that you wanted to incorporate in your series but just couldn’t find a place for?
My favorite are probably the Elementals. I really like that they're incredibly powerful, this big presence, but at the same time they stay in the background. I would have loved to be able to incorporate dragons. I've been a dragon freak since practically birth, but there was just no way to fit them into the story without it feeling forced.
The Elementals are really cool and mysterious. Ooo dragons are awesome! I'm a total dragon freak too and even have the tattoo to prove it.
As a fantasy lover, I am in awe of the imaginary worlds writers create in their stories- I’ll forever be waiting for my Hogwarts letter, I’ve knocked my head against the back of a few wardrobes looking for Narnia, and I’d love to live in my very own tree house in Havyn. What fantasy world would you love to be real and to be a part of?
I love this question! I would have to say Hogwarts! Hogwarts! Hogwarts! There will forever be a longing in my heart to fly around on a broom, drink butterbeer, and point a wand at the the annoying person sitting in front of my at a movie theater who won't shut up and have slugs just come spewing out of their mouths...not too much of an abuse of power ;)
Yes, yes, yes! Wanna be my roomie at Hogwarts?! We can be like the female versions of Fred and George: awesome troublemakers :) Mischief Managed!
I just love a well crafted villain; I’m fascinated and intrigued by your evil Emperor. Who is your favorite literary villain? Who do you just love to hate or hate to love?
The very first villain that came into my mind was Captain Hook. I know he's old school, but I have loved his character since before I can remember. I was read Peter Pan to as a child, and really understand why the story is such a classic. Captain Hook is just cool. A hook as a hand, a giant hat, a crocodile nemesis, you just can't beat that.
I've always felt Captain Hook was such a misunderstood man...I mean the man has a crocodile nemesis, that would be enough to make anybody cranky! :D
I’m a self-proclaimed TV junkie, so I gotta ask- what are your favorite shows? What book or series would you love see be adapted into a TV show?
My DVR player is my best friend! I'm a total Whovian (that's a Dr. Who fan to anyone who doesn't recognize the wonderfully geeky title). I never miss an episode of Supernatural, and I'm addicted to Big Bang Theory, Glee, and Merlin. Plus, like a dozen more. My Sunday's are devoted to catching up on all the shows I missed throughout the week, eating junk food, and yelling at anyone who tries to disturb me.
I thank God everyday for my poor, overused DVR. Eeek! A fellow Supernatural fangirl?! Can we be BFF's please? Wanna drive around the country in a badass car and hunt evil baddies with me?! Do ya, do ya, do yaaaa?
If you could sit down with one author (alive or dead), who would it be? What would you ask them or tell them?
For me, it would have to be Khalil Gibran. My dad had me read The Prophet when I was about thirteen, and the book really affected me in a positive way. I would like to tell him that there have been so many times in my life where I've used his writing and poetry as almost a touchstone to keep me focused on what's important to me and how I want to live my life.
There are so many authors I'd love to sit down with and just thank them for their words.
Well, I'm working on a 4th book in the Protectors Saga, and also a sort of re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, it's a little dark, but I'm liking where it's going...because dark is good :)
What are you working on now? What kinds of books or stories can we expect from you in the future?
A fourth book? Yes please!
I want to give a big THANK YOU to Miss Dooling for taking the time to answer my questions and giving us all the opportunity to get to know her and her work a little better. And she has offered one lucky winner an ebook copy of Book 2 and 3 in The Protectors Saga...remember you can download book one for FREE on Smashwords.
For a chance to win Book 2 and 3 just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. One random winner will be chosen next Friday (Sept. 30)