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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Breath of Angel by Karyn Henley

Breath of Angel (The Angeleon Circle)

Reading level: Young Adult 
Paperback: 272 pages 
Publisher: WaterBrook Press (June 21, 2011)
Download sample chapter HERE

The stranger’s cloak had fallen back, and with it, a long, white, blood-stained wing.
When Melaia, a young priestess, witnesses the gruesome murder of a stranger in the temple courtyard, age-old legends recited in song suddenly come to life. She discovers wings on the stranger, and the murderer takes the shape of both a hawk and a man.

Angels. Shape-shifters. Myths and stories—until now.

Melaia finds herself in the middle of a blood feud between two immortal brothers who destroyed the stairway to heaven, stranding angels in the earthly realm. When the feud turns violent and Melaia becomes a target, she finds refuge with a band of angels attempting to restore the stairway. But the restoration is impossible without the repayment of an ancient debt—the “breath of angel, blood of man,” a payment that involves Melaia’s heart, soul, and destiny.

Book Opening:

"The price of the thorn drew blood, but Melaia smiled."
Notable Moment: 
"She would not let him get the best of her. She would not shrivel. She would not cower. …her last breath would not be a whimper, but a shout." -Page 254 

“The breath of an angel, the blood of man”.

Breath of Angel, the first installment in Karyn Henley's The Angeleon Circle series is a story with a chilling prophecy. It centers around  Melaia, a young priestess who unwittingly becomes embattled in an immortal feud with cataclysmic ramifications.   Breath of Angel stands out in my mind from other YA angel-based fiction in that it's more of a timeless, medieval fantasy melded together with mythology instead of a contemporary paranormal romance.

 I have to admit I was initially thrown by the pacing of this book though.  Right from page one, the reader is slammed smack-dab into a world bursting with so many characters and world-building lingo, that it made my head spin. Once I got acclimated, things definitely got easier for me, but I had to get out a pen and paper to keep the characters straight at first. But Melaia's world was definitely a well-thought out place with painstaking attention to detail and intricate characterization. I picture a long-ago, far away type setting sewn together with all manner of  supernatural oddities- angels, shapeshifters and one in particular that stands out in my mind the most—the "draks". Made from human souls, they were some sort of vulture-like monster that sounded really frightening.

Despite a difficult to pronounce first name, I enjoyed Melaia's character. The book is narrated from her point of view and she impressed me with her strength of mind and her courage. I also appreciated that the romantic element did not overpower the true theme of the story – what did transpire added a nice touch to the trajectory of the storyline and was just enough to picque my interest, but never over the top. 

For readers who enjoy a clean, less-violent read, Breath of Angel should appeal greatly for its fast-paced narrative, depth and intriguing mix of mythology, magic and fantasy.

Karyn Henley

Award-winning author Karyn Henley has written over 100 titles, which include a mix of children's books and articles, parent-teacher books, articles, and curricula, and preschool musicals and CD's/DVD's of original music for children. An accomplished songwriter, Karyn has been a Dove Award nominee, and received a regional Emmy Award as Music Composer for a Christmas television special. She has traveled worldwide speaking to parents and teachers and entertaining children and their families in storytelling/active movement sessions and concerts. Most of her work has been in the area of spiritual development. She is best known as the author of the original version of The Beginner's Bible, which during the fifteen years it was in print (1989-2004), sold over 5 million copies and was translated into 17 languages.

A graduate of Abilene Christian University (BSEd), Karyn received a Master's of Fine Arts degree from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2004. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
Official Website


Cheyenne said...

Great review! My review of this book is actually going to be posted tomorrow morning. :)

I agree with your trouble remembering characters and places - I had a big problem with that, too!

Chey @ The Chey Show

Denise Z said...

OOOOOO - this sounds like a dandy read. Thank you for sharing.