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Archangel (Samaria, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 1997
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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.
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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There are some heavy religious overtones, as I suppose one could expect with a book about Angels.
I read this one because it was a Vaginal Fantasy alternative pick. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms was the book I liked better for January 2014.
I have heard that the series gets better, but I don't think I am going to bother.
Archangel is about a young woman taken into slavery against her will. She is a girl chosen by the God to marry the Archangel, Gabriel. He comes to find her, but their relationship is more complicated and difficult to navigate than he expects. Together, or apart, they are faced with a fight against Raphael, an angel who has lost faith in God and wishes to convince others he is right in his disillusionment.
The book was an interesting take on belief and God's power, and I appreciated the interesting and new structure of a world where angels communicated both with God and the people of the earth, their true forms neither disguised nor rejected. I'd recommend it. I for one and moving on to the second book in the series as we speak.
Ms. Shinn uses familiar biblical names and places, gives them a twist, and sets them on another world. There are city dwellers, farmers, wandering tribes and angels (yup, with wings and all). Their god, Jovah, only has direct contact with three human oracles, who contact him through metal and glass screens. Only one person in living memory had direct contact with Jovah, and he went mad. The angels petition Jovah on behalf of the population - in matters of illness, famine, weather and the like. A new Archangel is chosen every 20 years to lead the people, and he or she must be married to the mate chosen by Jovah before they take up their duties.
This book is about the Archangel Gabriel who is about to replace the Archangel Raphael as the primary angel who leads the population, and who must also lead in the annual singing of the Gloria to Jovah. If the Gloria isn't sung, or isn't done properly by the Archangel and his mate, Jovah will destroy their world. Unfortunately, Gabriel has left the mate-finding bit to the last minute and he's having a hard time locating her before the deadline.
Ms. Shinn has created a fascinating world, and her use of familiar names in strange situations constantly forces the reader to readjust their preconceptions. One would assume an Archangel named Raphael to be a force for good, based upon familiar Christian teachings, but in this book is that really true? There are angels, but are they the familiar holy beings or just beings with wings? And then there is the whole question of what, exactly, is Jovah?
This is the first book in the Samaria Trilogy, and I'm looking forward to the rest.
The plot was pretty predictable and the pace of the book was yawn worthy at points. I was skipping pages and speed reading.
Its saving grace: the wonderful world that is Samaria and all of the things happening within it (even if the bad guy is stereotypical). Shinn is a master at creating her own worlds and living in them. The first Sharon Shinn novel I read was the first book of the Twelve Houses series. After the first one, I didn't put them down until I'd read the entire series. They are much better than this one. Save yourself some time and frustration. Skip the tantrum filled pages of this book and move on.