Author: Karyn Henley
Summary: (Back Cover, snitched from Goodreads)
Where angels walk the ground and the future is told in song, does a man of low rank have a chance at love with a princess?
In Camrithia, a land of shadows and mystical secrets, Trevin lives to serve King Laetham. But his heart belongs to the princess, Melaia. When the King sends Trevin on on a dangerous quest to find the missing comains—captains in the king’s army—he must leave Melaia to the advances of a swaggering Dregmoorian prince.
Challenged to prove his worth, Trevin throws himself into his quest. Striving to prove his love, Trevin undertakes a second mission—find the harps Melaia seeks in order to restore the stairway to heaven. Through fire caves, rogue winds, and murderous threats, Trevin remains steadfastly dedicated to his quest—even when he is falsely accused of a heinous crime. As Trevin’s time runs out, he realizes he must face the shame and horror of his own past and the nightmare that has come to life. Will he have the courage to finish what he has started?
Review: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
This review is written from the perspective of having not read the first book. That said, Henley manages to fill the new reader in on the details of the prior story fantastically. I never felt lost or confused, but neither did I feel bogged down by repeated information. I found myself enjoying this book immensely. Her descriptions are lovely, and she gives just the perfect amount to paint a vivid image without belittling the readers’ ability to imagine. Her world is expanded even further in dimension by making certain characters wonderfully distinct. Pym’s accent, and Ollena’s ending most of her sentence with, “hmm?” all added charm to Henley’s world.
Unfortunately, in the last fifty or so pages my enjoyment plummeted. The hero’s faults are understandable, but they were taken to a level of shame–which the hero acknowledged, yes–that was shortly thereafter brushed off like the scenario wasn’t a big deal. I found this frustrating, and my to bond to Trevin shattered. Following my inability to be fully sucked into the story again, I began noticing a string of events that were so coincidental and almost contrived that I had not noticed before. Things began falling into place so perfectly they appeared inconceivable.
My largest issue, which I managed to brush off until the end, was the lack of clarity: is this a Christian book? If these honorable angels were not allowed to interfere in human affairs, why are many of these respected angels parents to Nephili? Did this many angels have a lapse of judgment? Or were there other complications, explanations in the book prior to make the confusing issue of morality less murky? In addition, the Most High was mentioned as if the angels were entirely cut off from him due to the broken stairway to Heaven. If this is Christian, and if the Most High is the fantasy world stand-in for the Christian God, this appears to be undermining His sovereignty and communicating a weak message. Perhaps if she had redirected the highest authority toward the Most High more often versus indicating the highest authority (since they couldn’t access Heaven) being the Angelaeon. Or even if there was some connection reaffirmed now and again that the Most High’s omniscience was not restricted by the stairway. Or, a third option, not mentioned the Most High at all. Without the handful of nods to the “Most High” and knowing the publishing house’s stance, I would have guessed this just to be a secular fantasy novel playing with angels.
Henley spun an enjoyable tale I had difficulty putting down, and I look forward to reading the first book at some point. It will be fun to meet the characters who were mentioned in passing, and it would be interesting to see how everything started. I also hope book one will answer some of my questions regarding the spiritual stance of the book’s intent, because I really want to like this series.