Author: Karyn Henley
Publication Date: June 21, 2011
Genre: YA Fantasy
Copy provided by: Teen Book Scene
Summary (via Goodreads):
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.
Why I read this: I love fantasy novels and this one sounded like it was going to be different from what I've been reading lately.
Plot: I loved the darkness of this book. It's set in you're traditional fantasy world, where technology doesn't exist, but magic does. The magic in this book is very dark. There's these birds with the feet and hands of humans that are used as spies. There are angels and immortals and a legend that encompasses the whole story. I thought it was brilliantly written, our young Melaia at the beginning of the story is asked to tell a tale well known by a strange man who unsettles her and appears after she witnesses a man murdered. The tale is of two brothers and a price that was asked for a fruit of knowledge. It set the tone of the book and every where Melaia went, she learned more about the truth behind the tale and her part in it.
There was plenty of perilous situations, romantic notions and overall twists and turns that kept me reading and wanting to learn more about the past, about Melaia's future and just how everything will turn out. As this is the first book, I was somewhat satisfied with the ending but there is so much more to be discovered.
Characters: I really enjoyed watching Melaia grow into herself. She wasn't quite defined until halfway through the book. She's a chantress and must play her role and has her whole life. When her past is thrown into the mix she starts to change and the reader gets to see her develop into a more determined character.
Relatability: I definitely think that readers who want a fantasy novel without all the whiney characters will find a treasure in this book. It definitely is darker than most YA coming out. And the romance aspect is definitely a side-plot which is always helpful. I think many of us are sick of plots that revolve completely around the romantic interest.
Cover Commentary: I can't picture that cover model as the main character. So not my favorite cover.
Rating: 5/5 Roses
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