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Archangel (Samaria, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 1997

194 customer reviews

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Archangel (Samaria, Book 1) + Jovah's Angel (Samaria, Book 2) + The Alleluia Files (Samaria, Book 3)
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Editorial Reviews Review

Set in a society founded as an egalitarian utopia but now tainted with vices and inequity, Sharon Shinn's love story is plotty and calamitous. Rachel and Gabriel have nothing in common beyond wishing that the god Jovah had ordained they wed other people, yet they must cooperate in singing a mass to the god on the occasion of Gabriel's elevation to Archangel. Upright Gabriel has enemies among both mortal and angelic peoples who prefer to risk world destruction over his restoration of the old order. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Next in line to become archangel in the angel-led dominion of Samaria, Gabriel must lead the next chorale praising the god Jovah, which means he needs a wife--fast--to sing beside him. Guided by the local oracle and the light emanating from the Kiss of the Gods (a homing device in his wrist), he finds his Jovah-selected fiancee in a common Edori slave girl named Rachel. The marriage proves, however, anything but romantic. Far from rejoicing in the sudden freedom that her marriage brings, Rachel quickly becomes a thorn in Gabriel's side, using her newfound influence to help her downtrodden Edori brethren. Displaying sure command of characterization and vividly imagined settings, Shinn absorbs us in the story of how Rachel and Gabriel eventually unite in true love and respect. With place-names such as Gaza and Jordana, she tantalizingly hints at her Samaria's connection to an ancient Israeli past, and she tempers the angelic milieu with talk of her angels' technological heritage in an entertaining sf-fantasy blend that should please fans of both genres. Carl Hays --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Ace; Reissue edition (April 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441004326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441004324
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1.1 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (194 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #409,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sharon Shinn is a journalist who works for a trade magazine. Her first novel, The Shapechanger's Wife, was selected by Locus as the best first fantasy novel of 1995. She has won the William C. Crawford Award for Outstanding New Fantasy Writer, and was twice nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. A graduate of Northwestern University, she has lived in the Midwest most of her life.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Mo VINE VOICE on January 20, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I typically stay away from science fiction, avoid books centered around romance, and scoff at the idea of angels and other religious matters. I picked this up only because I had liked Shinn's The Shape-Changer's Wife and was badly in need of something to read. Needless to say, no one was more astonished than I was to find that I loved Archangel. It definitely ranks among my favorite five books.
Part of Archangel's appeal for me is inexplicable, but some can be attributed to the incredibly rich and intriguingly different world building (complete with legends, religion and economy) that never feels pointlessly detailed. Another factor was that Rachel is the one character in all my reading with whom I have best identified. I was surprised to find that I enjoyed the romance very much; it is done with extreme skill, which is a major change from multitudinous, anonymous bodice-rippers. For whatever reason, Archangel deeply affected me, and I am still thrilled every time I read it. Now all I want is to hear Rachel and Gabriel's duet...
The latter two books (Jovah's Angel, The Alleluia Files) do not match the brilliance Archangel achieves, but they are still well worth reading.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Joe Sherry on August 21, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sharon Shinn has an interesting entry in the fantasy genre with Archangel. The book jacket gives away a little bit more than the novel does (though there are hints at something else going on behind the scenes), but some six hundred years ago God/Jovah brought humans to Samaria along with the angels which can pray to God for intercession. Since then the Archangel rules over all the angels and over all of Samaria. This year Gabriel will sing the Gloria, a yearly event which must take place or Jovah will smite the world, but he must sing it with his wife, the angelica. There is perhaps six months until the Gloria and Gabriel has not taken the time to learn the identity of who Jovah selected for his wife and when he finally locates her he learns that she has been a slave for the past five years and before that was part of a tribe which isn't known for orthodox beliefs regarding God and the angels. Her name is Rachel. She wants nothing of Gabriel, the angels, or Jovah. She is an angry woman, and understandably so.

Readers of Archangel who are familiar with the Bible will see plenty of names which have Old Testament meaning and importance. Nearly all of the important angels during the past six hundred years and the humans who worked with the angels are biblically based and some of their actions reflect those of their Old Testament counterparts, but this is not a biblical retelling in a fantasy setting. How Sharon Shinn mixes the biblical into a believable fantasy setting is impressive. She builds a real story for Gabriel and Rachel and their relationship. It is something of a love story, but it is completely dysfunctional and it is very well written. Shinn's descriptions of the angels and their lives and how they pray for intercession from Jovah is more than overt Christianity.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Crabtree on April 8, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is a love song. A song of romantic love and a love song to the god that the author has created to watch over her fictional world. As a singer, I was drawn into the power of singing that Shinn invokes in Archangel. If you are reading my review before you read the book and want a spoiler alert, DON'T READ THE BACK COVER OF THE BOOK. I was a little upset when I did so because a VERY important fact is revealed there that is not revealed in the book. I can only assume that it is revealed in part 2 or 3 of the trilogy which I will certainly read. Now that I have read it, I can appreciate what Shinn is calling the reader to ponder: What is prayer?, what is god?, what is love? I found myself considering these questions in the journey of this book. Shinn heightens the anticipation toward the end making this a real page-turner.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Katie on February 23, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I began reading this without very high expectations, and it quickly surprised me. I still can't understand how Sharon Shinn managed to write something so wonderful. It's amazing.
First of all, the plot is so engrossing that you won't be able to put it down. Gabriel is to be the next Archangel of Samaria, a world where angels can sing to Jovah (their "god") in order to change weather. They can cause rain to fall or not fall. They can cause waters to rise. They can cause lightning to fall and destroy. The Archangel is the head angel, who can be either male or female. This angel leads the Gloria, an annual day of singing that tells Jovah that harmony reigns on Samaria. If they don't sing, the god will destroy the world with a bolt of lightning.
Rachel is a slave-girl in the house of a wealthy merchant. She is also the chosen bride of the Archangel Gabriel, picked out by Jovah through the oracles. Against her will, she is taken to Eyrie to marry Gabriel and become his angelica. And so the story begins. With surprises and plenty of action, the plot unfolds.
If the plot is great, then the character development that is intricately twisted into the story is better. Rachel struggles with her new position and her relationship with Gabriel, whom she hardly talks with, except to argue. She also attempts to improve the lives of the abandoned children in Velora, a city by Eyrie. Meanwhile, Gabriel tries to fill his position as Archangel and get along with Rachel. He hopes for a smooth transition between Archangels, especially since Raphael (the former Archangel) seems to have other plans.
The setting, the different types of people in Samaria, and the traditions, religion, and history of the planet are well done, too.
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