Breath of Angel by Karyn Henley (Published by Waterbrook Press, June 21, 2011)
Sixteen-year-old Melaia is a young priestess, being trained to someday take over as High Priestess of the temple where she has grown up. There are many stories about angels and immortals, but Melaia has always believed those stories to be nothing more than myths. She never believed angels and immortals really existed, until the day she witnesses a murder in the temple courtyard. The victim is an angel, and his murderer a man who can shift between his human form and the form of a hawk. Against her will, Melaia has been drawn into a war between angels and the evil man who stole immortality and destroyed the Wisdom Tree and the stairway to heaven.
Before long, Melaia must leave her home for the first time and travel to the city of Redcliff, where the king lives. She is told she is being sent as a priestess, to try and heal the ailing king with the music she plays on a magical harp. Away from home for the first time, Melaia doesn't know who she can trust. She doesn't want to be in involved in this war, but she learns it is not just the angels that are at risk, but her homeland too, as the evil hawk man will stop at nothing to gain more power. And it may be her destiny to save them all.
Breath of Angel was very different from most of the many young adult angel novels published recently. It's high fantasy, rather than the usual urban fantasy, set in an invented world with a rather Medieval culture. High fantasy is a genre I really like and would love to see more of. I thought the author did a good job at describing the fictional world and all the different ranks of angels and immortals. There was a little romance and I would have liked there to be more, but there are going to be two more books so hopefully that will be developed more later on. I recommend this book if you love fantasy novels but are tired of all the modern paranormals and would like to read something different.
Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher.