Thursday, October 3, 2013

Yvonne Voninnes' Angel's Breath Causes Mixed Feelings...
"Sacrifice? Your clothes! Oh No! I should have realized! Brean, please don't tell me that you allowed him to blood you?"
"He's one of them, isn't he?"
"And you allowed him to blood you?!"
..."Right, I would have thought of that myself, except, you see, the blood loss must have really addled my brain, because try as I might, I just can't remember how it's supposed to be done. It's even possible that I was absent on the day they covered that particular topic."
"You really don't know?"
"Look, Viara, I'm not the type who would expect a girl to fight his battles for him, but I wouldn't mind if you gave me a few pointers here."
"Brean, I wish I could, but I'm not a defender. My family and I, we're guardians, and as far as I understand it, the only abilities I inherited are a heightened sense of awareness, and the power to temporarily conceal things."
"Hey, don't worry about it, I'll just Google Peace, and print out the proper procedure."
"You can't. I probably won't find anything useful on the Net. PEACE has inquisitors who dedicate their entire existence to screening public information. Anything even remotely revealing gets immediately altered, or removed."
..."And what if this birthmark is just a birthmark."
"No, Brean, I don't think so. You probably just have to...train these guys on your walls. Maybe reread some of your favorite issues. It might trigger something..."
Angel's Breath

By Yvonne Voninnes

"The gray-haired maintenance
man briefly eyed the young
professor's oversized wristwatch.
"no wonder," he commented
in a friendly banter, "It looks
like a relic."
"That it does," the professor
agreed, lifting his right arm to
look fondly upon his outdated
timepiece. He noticed that his
cuff had retracted far enough
to reveal one of the deep claw
trails he had suffered in the
previous night's conflict.
Agitated by the ugly
intrusion, he quickly shook
 the material loose.
"Good morning," he said to her.
"We'll get started in just a few
minutes." He left the lectern,
and walked back up the aisle, to
greet the rest of his students with
a courteous nod. They were, he
noted, each of them, human.
He hadn't expected otherwise,
but the confirmation allowed
him to full submit himself to
his fictitious role..."
Although many of today's readers will believe that vampire fantasy is "the new thing," the early story by Bram Stover which was written in 1897  with "Transylvania" being where Count Dracula lived was my introduction. Of course, that was with Bela Lugosi starring as the Count. There was no question that it was in the horror genre--all we had to do was see Lugosi's eyes--staring!

English: A screenshot from Dracula Italiano: U...
English: A screenshot from Dracula Italiano:
Yvonne Voninnes' novel, Angel's Breath has a university setting, with a professor playing one of the main parts. Her writing brought a feeling of literature as opposed to the thriller genre and I was pleased to sit back, picturing Lugosi as possibly the professor. Indeed he is quite a beast in many ways as he teaches his classes, humiliates students and finds it all...rather boring... After all, he's been doing this for many years. One difference, though, is that he's been able to be out during the day...due to how he's been indoctrinated

"Brean had always been intrigued with Laugomente
Fiore's penchant for incorporating miniature scenes
throughout his libraries, especially in locations that
were practically hidden from plain view. The sculptures
were painstakingly intricate, and seemed to pay homage
to popular folklore. Since they didn't appear to be
placed sequentially, historians generally assumed that
each carving stood on its own, embodying a specific
tale, a seemingly befitting a decor for a storage house
of literature. Past their visual appeal, they were hardly
worthy of an in-depth analysis.
The novel is broken down into musical movements while the writer's descriptive talent for the campus environment took me back to the campus I walked on for nearly 40 years... Her female lead is an architectural student and the professor is teaching a history course. Brean, the main character is a history student, who is very interested in an Italian Architect's work in libraries, has just relocated to this new campus. All in all, readers have the opportunity to visit the campus via the characters.

BTW, I couldn't find the Italian architect on the Internet--so don't bother...LOL To me the significant thing about this is that the author obviously has significant experience and training so that her novel comes across as a credible, almost documented, historically based novel... Very well done in this area...

I was not as impressed with the later categorization and groupings for the supernatural beings in the book. They were vague and didn't provide the strong knowledge base that had come through earlier. My own reading of the entire Guardian Series by Ruby Moon-Houldson may have influenced what I expected.. Especially, since different writers user words like guardian to mean different things in different books. So if the author doesn't clarify this, readers are left confused... Still, for a first novel, there was a sufficiently  interesting story line to keep the novel moving forward to a satisfactory conclusion, albeit, with some confusion if you're really into the story...

One of the ways this lack of information comes about is that Brean, the character, has absolutely no background knowledge that he is anything more than human.

The professor--now going by the name Claremont Drake has Brean in his class. Brean notices how badly one of the students is being treated and takes subtle actions to draw him out, not knowing that the boy is actually not only helping the professor as a teaching assistant, much more... But then the boy disappears and Brean is chosen, on purpose, to become the new TA... One cool outcome of that is that the Professor shares letters from the Architect Fiore--while the other actions by the professor!

At the same time, he also sees and becomes interested in Viara, who has known about her life and her own required commitments, which she has been putting off. She had always had questions that just weren't being answered to her satisfaction...And readers don't learn too much as well...

But she does know enough to realize what the "birthmark" on Brean's arm means!

I enjoyed the developing relationship between these two young people and readers will too, I believe!

This writer has a lot to offer, especially if she either writes on topics she knows, or does more research to support and define the various character roles or organizations she uses, such as PEACE, for the readers.  I personally didn't discover the illusion to angel's breath in the novel except as a voice in Brean's head without knowing who Brean himself was. Still, I found the evolution and relationships of the professor, Brean and one other character, a doctor, together with Viara, to be an intriguing and complex story worthy of consideration by both YAs and adults...


Yvonne Vonninnes states of her book, Angel’s Breath is a contemporary vampire fiction in which the supernatural is symbolic of the human struggle to persevere over handicaps, addictions, and self-centeredness.

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