Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Book Review: Breath of Angel

This book, Breath of Angel by Karyn Henley, sounded interesting to me. A story that involves angels? Murder? Mayhem? Sign me up! This is not a first time author, but this novel does appear to be the first serial novel she has written. Previously it appears that Ms. Henley confined her writing to children's books and nonfiction religious books.

The main character, Melaia, is a temple chantress who witnesses a horrible murder. When Melaia tries to offer aid to the dying man, she finds out that he is an angel. This completely discombobulates the protagonist. Before she can even wrap her brain around the concept that angels exist, she is sent on a mission with a special harp to sing for the king, who is very ill. The kingdom is in danger! Evil is afoot!

The story started off pretty strong, but the chapters following the murder seemed kind of muddled, and I started to lose interest in the character. It felt like the author was trying to stuff too much into a small space. Things became more interesting while Melaia's journey with Trevin was unfolding, especially when I realized that Trevin was supposed to be Melaia's love interest. Initially, there appeared to be some chemistry between them, but it kind of petered out before they got to the castle. I ended up not being sure what Trevin was actually supposed to be--a love interest or just some random guy. The conversations between them seemed stilted, and when the other characters would mention something about Melaia and Trevin being attracted to each other, it rang false as a result. A reader might get the feeling that Ms. Henley has had minimal experience with writing about love of a nonreligious nature, particularly the intensity of feeling that accompanies the first time a young woman falls in love.

There are probably some attempts at allegory in the novel, but I wasn't sure about what was being symbolized, because that part was again a bit muddled around angels and sylvans and dwarves and immortals. I also think having some sort of glossary or cast of characters at the back of the book for reference would have been a good idea, to help people keep track of the characters. However, I enjoyed the book and would like to read the next book in the series. And isn't that the mark of a good story?

EDIT: I forgot to say that I got this book for free from a publisher for the purpose of writing a review. They sent me the book, and I am giving my honest opinion about it.

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