Book Review: "Breath of Angel" by Karyn Henley

Summary from 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 Melaia becomes a target, she finds refuge with a band of angels attempting to restore the stairway. But the restoration is impossible without settling an ancient debt—the “breath of angel, blood of man,” a payment that involves Melaia’s heart, soul, and destiny.

There's a reason why I normally turn down about 98% of books that are fantasy based. I just cannot get into the world. I guess I need something more down to earth and of this world in order for me to comprehend the surroundings, characters and way of life. While it is easier for me to visualize this in a movie, in a book I have to create everything in my mind and unless the author includes illustrations, sadly I am inept at doing this.

Melaia is a young priestess who finds herself traveling through strange lands as she hunts down the secret of her heritage. The reader follows her on her adventure as she meets angels, men and learns about the relationship between the two. There's some magic, suspense, adventure and a bit of romance thrown in. Melaia is a very capable young woman and a good role model. Since this book takes place in a fantasy world, it is hard for me to see any allegorical references. Yes there are angels, but these aren't like the angels you read in the Bible. The Nephilim are mentioned but otherwise no traces of faith related talk stuck out to me. Therefore I believe that general market YA fantasy readers will find no problems while reading this book.

While I am sure that fantasy lovers will enjoy this book, I just could not get into it. This is at no fault with the author or her writing. There were times when I felt like I was getting into the novel, but then due to my inability to conjure in my mind the scenes, I felt at a loss. I finished the book because I wanted to know to what happened to Melaia and her past. I did find the resolution satisfactory. The story ends with a hint towards a sequel but sadly I will not be picking it up. While this book may not have been for me, fans of YA fantasy and angels will most likely really enjoy this story.

Breath of Angel by Karyn Henley is published by Waterbrook (2011)

This ARC was provided by the publisher


  1. A priestess? Interesting. Does it mention what religion she's a priestess for, or is it just general?

  2. Great review! You have a fabulous blog! I’m an author and illustrator and I made some awards to give to fellow bloggers whose sites I enjoy. I want to award you with the Best Books Blog Award. There are no pass along requirements. This is just to reward you for all the hard work you do! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review all these books for us authors and readers.

    Go to and pick up your award.


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