Sunday, December 27, 2009

Archangel - Sharon Shinn

Summary: And so it came to pass...Through science, faith and force of will, the Harmonics carved out for themselves a society that they perceived as perfect. Diverse peoples held together by respect for each other and the prospect of swift punishment if their laws were disobeyed. Fertile land that embraced a variety of climates and seasons. Angels to guard the mortals, and mystics to guard the forbidden knowledge. Jehovah to watch over them all.

Generations later, the armed space cruiser Jehovah still looms over the planet Samaria, programmed to unleash its arsenal if peace is not sustained. But an age of corruption has come to the land, threatening that peace and placing the Samarians in grave danger. Their only hope lies in the crowning of a new Archangel. The oracles have chose for this honor the angel named Gabriel, and further decreed that he must first wed a mortal woman named Rachel.

It is his destiny and hers. And Gabriel is certain that she will greet the news of her betrothal with enthusiasm, and a devotion to duty equal to his own.

Rachel, however, has other ideas... (Image from sharonshinn.net - summary from back of book)

My review: Over the holidays I decided that it was high time I read a book that I wanted to read instead of one I’d been meaning to. I’ve stopped in the middle of several books recently, because I just couldn’t seem to give them the attention they deserved. They were, quite simply, not where I wanted to be. Where I wanted to be was deeply immersed in one of my favorite romantic novels – Archangel.

Archangel is an award-winning novel and the beginning of a wonderful series of stand-alones written by Sharon Shinn. I discovered it for the first time in college and fell instantly in love with the characters, world, and turbulent love story held within its pages. It was so very different from anything I’d read before – a fascinating blend of romance, fantasy, science fiction, music, religious mythology, and a dash of middle eastern culture and geography. I enjoyed the time the time I got to spend in her world and, obviously, love to go back from time to time and visit.

Initially, I was worried about how I’d feel about the whole “angel” thing but surprisingly, the religious aspects of the book didn’t bother me at all. They blended well with the story. These angels aren’t the pious celestial beings that you might expect, but more fallible and human than you can image—though they do have wings, oh, and the ability to control the weather. I wish the summary hadn’t given quite so much of the back story away, as it's way more fun to read this series without knowing exactly what is going on. For that reason, I'm not going to say much about the storyline. If you can help it (and trust me), just open and start reading without reading the back of the book.

The fact that the main characters are both attracted to and repelled by each other is thrilling and fun to read--think Pride & Prejudice style hatred w/ angels and a lot more singing. Gabriel and Rachel are irretrievably stubborn and frustrating, which sometimes makes you want to smack them around a bit, but leads to a great deal of sparks and conflict between the two of them . I can’t pretend that this book is a literary classic – but it was a highly entertaining, romantic and CLEAN read, which we all know, are incredibly hard to come by now. Everyone I’ve recommended this series to has loved them, but be forewarned, though the main plot is resolved not all questions are answered at the end of this book. You’ll want to run for the next one.

Oh, and while this series is made up of mostly stand-alone novels, it is best to read them in the following order.
Archangel (Samaria, Book 1)
Jovah’s Angel (Samaria, Book 2) - RFS Review
Alleluia Files
(Samaria, Book 3) - RFS Review
Angelica (a prequel that should be read post trilogy)
Angel-Seeker (a novel of Samaria)

My rating: 5 Stars. Can’t wait to continue re-reading the series.

Sum it up: Exactly what you want to read when you don’t want to think- but escape. If you liked Countess Below Stairs (reviewed here and here), you’ll love Archangel.

3 comments:

Dannie said...

I do love Countess Below Stairs...I shall pick it up.

Tara said...

Hey, I just discovered Sharon Shinn at the library a few weeks ago. I started with her 12 houses series(it's called something like that). So far I love her, I'll have to try this series when I get a chance!

Monica said...

Thanks for the review. I couldn't put this book down - and yet found it hard to discribe why - I'm looking forward to reading the next one.

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