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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.
One aspect of Shinn's writing that I particularly enjoy is that she does not include gratuitous violence in her stories. Instead, she maintains the story's pace and advances the plot by showing the tensions between what a person's head tells him to do and what his heart insists he do, and what happens as a result of those tensions. She also has a strong focus on character development, and her characters are generally very likable so a reader feels that time spent getting to know them is worth it.