Sharon Shinn,
Samaria Trilogy,
Book 1: Archangel

(Ace, 1997)

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 Sharon 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.

by Jennifer Mo
17 March 2006

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