These days, when we see “paranormal romance,” our first thought is “vampires”. Fortunately, I can say that Joanne Brothwell’s book Stealing Breath does not mention the word “vampire” even once (though the word “vampiric” does appear once, but just as a description). It is a refreshing change, taking us back a bit to the days before vampires became the new black – or should I say red? (Sorry – terrible joke.) – when paranormal could actually refer to something besides those sharp-toothed blood-drinkers.
Stealing Breath is about a girl who is essentially an extreme empath, and thus can “feel” others’ emotions. When she encounters two mysterious brothers Evandro and Stefano, naturally, everything changes. Soon, she begins to discover an entirely different world exists beyond what she has ever known. This world is full of skinwalkers and malandanti who devour souls – and seek out certain special souls, that of an Indigo Child. Wouldn’t you know it, Sarah just happens to be one of those revered Indigo Children.
One of the things I loved most about this story was that it wasn’t something I feel I’ve read before. Unlike a lot of supernatural and paranormal books in circulation right now, Stealing Breath isn’t one of those that is basically taking a common story – vampires, werewolves, witches, and the like – and just writing yet another variation of that. This story was an entirely new concept to me.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a paranormal romance without a hot, though mysterious, character with ulterior motives – which is filled quite nicely by Evan. I found myself equally wanting Sarah and Evan to be together forever and wanting her to run from him as fast as possible. Generally, in these situations, the reader can tell the unknown character’s true intentions – even if the protagonist is unable to do so. However, such was not the case in Stealing Breath, and I really enjoyed exploring the question of which side he really supported.
I think the book’s only major negative was the strange pace. I got caught up in the action from the first page – but that stopped suddenly right around the middle. I think the main reason for this is that the book has more than one culmination point – almost as though the book was meant to end in deference to a sequel, but instead continued on. However, once you manage to get through that slump, you are drawn right back into the story – which definitely turns out to be a crazy ride.
Overall, Stealing Breath was interesting and entertaining, with just enough mystery and suspense to keep me wondering. To be honest, it is rare for me to read books by unknown authors regardless of reviews because, especially with so many “self-publishing” these days, the quality of these books are often subpar. [It’s no secret that I can be very judgmental when it comes to books and appropriate writing styles for their genre.] However, this is one that I am glad I read – thanks to the raving reviews of a friend.
Granted, the cover looks like something that I could have created in Microsoft Paint (though I did appreciate the trick with the colored aura outline), but as the old saying goes, “don’t judge a book by its cover” because this book is one that is immensely more professionally written than the cover first leads you to believe. I haven’t seen the physical copy’s cover, only the e-book’s – so it’s possible that it does look better on the book itself. Regardless, if you are a fan of paranormal romance, this is one to check out.
Also: you can check out our interview with the author of Stealing Breath here, and read about a promotion she is running for those who purchase her book on August 2, 2012.