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on 25 November 2017
One of my favourite books. I lent my copy to somebody who lost it, so had to buy myself another copy. I have read this many times and enjoy it every time. Just a wonderful book and so sad it is not more freely available. Copies are hard to find now!
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on 13 August 2016
Timeless romance - I first read this 15 years ago and wanted to read it again. Well written and engaging.
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on 10 September 2017
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on 14 August 2011
This book wasn't quite what I thought it was going to be. I am very into supernatural romance/action genre, however despite being a good read and obviously about angels it doesn't really fit into my definition of the above. The theme running through the book is based on the christian idea of their God though of course the name is changed slightly. The God in the book is very full of old testament wrath and I found this a little bit off putting, as supernatural books tend to identify more with the old Gods.That aside, good story though the heroine is a bit sour (with good reason)but I found it hard to have sympathy for her because she was so bitter.
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on 11 February 2014
Unlikeable characters, rudimentary world-building and perfunctory writing get in the way of some pretty good ideas. I like the idea of angels and humans living alongside each other, and the angels communicating with "god" by song, but the way it is done is off-putting and I will not be reading the rest of the series (although I am told they are much better).
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on 28 August 2014
fab series, read and enjoy!!
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on 26 December 2016
This is my fifth copy I've ordered of this book - I've raved about it so much, all my friends "borrow" this series from Sharon Shinn and I never get them back! Beautiful love story, and the writing is so good that you can even hear the music in your head as this great storyteller describes the music! She's created a beautiful world incorporating Angels and mortals. Would highly recommend the Samaria Trilogy (even though there are 5 books in this series) - you literally can't put them down - I just sit and read them from cover to cover without any distractions. You get so engrossed in the story. I can't wait to read this series again for the fifth time - and no - I will not be lending this set out to any of my friends, lol! Enjoy - there's something for everyone - romance, daring, intrigue - a true modern-day classic.
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on 29 September 2005
Wonderful! I was instantly intrigued by the various themes in this book, and the whole idea behind the angels. From the first page, I found the sociaty, characters, everything about it utterly absorbing and fascinating. All of the characters are very well developed. I found myself sharing their joys and woes and eagerly turning the pages to find out what happened the next. The climactic ending was utterly superb and the entire plot built up to it wonderfully.
I don't usually tend to go for romance, as I've read a few tasteless efforts and have come to find many of them lacking in the character and story department. Archangel is a rewarding read, the romance - as are all aspects of the book - are handled well and with decency.
A must read, for sure! There is nothing negative I can say about this one.
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on 13 January 2004
On a far away world, angels sing to apeace their god Jovah. In this way they help the people of Samaria change the weather and cure disease. Leading the angels is the Archangel, selected for a 20 years periode by the god. On the verge of starting his reign as archangel, Gabriel is about to start seaching for his angelcia, the human woman chosen by Jovah to be his wife.
But the girl is appearently dissappeared, and if she is not found before the annual gloria, where all the people of Samaria praise Jovah with songs, the god will destroy their world.
This story is a mixture of fantasy, romance and science fiction. It has all the elements for a great book in either genre. The love story between Gabriel and Rachel is well written and it is a joy knowing they are meant for each other, even when they haven't noticed themselves.
There are three books to this trilogic and to more books in this world in the making.
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on 3 January 2011
In the world of Samaria, angels are the conduits between mortals and the god Jovah. They request weather changes, medicines and, in the needful event, bring forth wrathful lightning from the god. All is done through the medium of song. Once a year the peoples of Samaria come together in glorious harmony to sing the Gloria, proof to Jovah that his people live in peace. The Archangel leads the people of Samaria in the Gloria, with his angelica at his side. Archangel tells the story of Gabriel, the Archangel-to-be, who discovers that his angelica and bride-to-be is Rachel, slave girl and part of the Edori, the wandering race who believe rather heretical views about Yovah. These star-crossed lovers destined to be together did not get the memo, and their volatile relationship is the heart of this book. It is presented against a backdrop of troubles in Samaria, as the old Archangel reveals that he no longer believes in Jovah.

I have read this book at least six times. Sometimes I like to just dip in and out and read key passages - but hesitate doing this because I get pulled into the delightful world that Shinn presents, and I luxuriate in her stunning prose.

It's hard for me to be completely objective about this novel because I love it so - instead of attempting to do that I shall link you to the review of Archangel that Sarah over at Bookworm Blues wrote. She should provide some of the reasons why this might not be the book for you.

I want to present some of the reasons why I love this novel:

The first is the world of Samaria. From the different races, which feel so realistic, such as the Jansai slavers, the Edori wanderers and the Manadavvi landowners; to the masses sung to Jovah, I loved every part of it.

I find it delicious that there are so many parallels between Samaria and our own world: Gaza, Bethel, Jordana.

And, even though I am no believer myself, I loved the faith that suffused this novel - the idea of having a greater and benevolent power watching over the world.

I also enjoyed the nature of the relationship between Gabriel and Rachel. These lovers destined to be together end up hating each other, and arguing for much of the book. I think it's fabulous that Rachel doesn't just go mutely to her fate - instead, she riles against Jovah for putting her in a situation where she doesn't have any freewill. Gabriel is an arrogant angel, who believes that Rachel should accept her fate. Their lively discussions and difficulties in compromising are a highlight of Archangel.

Finally, the beautiful prose feels like silk against my ears - in particular, Shinn's ability to describe the music of the angels defies belief: "So Naomi began her part of the ballad, and Rachel waited a full count until it was time to add her descant. She closed her eyes and began to sing, quietly at first, remembering what it was like to lay her music against someone else's. They were like two hands, pressing palm to palm; [...] Then it became a loom, Naomi's voice dark and Rachel's a bright gold thread weaving a pattern into the tight fabric."

In terms of critical themes and analysis, I am going to try and provide some thoughts. Archangel uses the world of Samaria to present the idea of unquestioning faith, and ultimate power. Here we have the idea of angels who have the power to bring Jovah's wrath on the people of Samaria, and how different angels react to this - some of them feeling the weight of responsibility, while others try to seize more and more power.

The act of denying the god is also something that I found interesting, especially in a world where faith is meant to be unquestioning. The reaction of those faced with someone who didn't believe was a reflection of what can be seen in our own world: disbelief, anger, doubt. I am not someone with faith in a god, but I could see the strength and passion of those in the novel who did believe, and it almost made me feel I was missing out.

Another theme within the novel is the question of science fiction versus fantasy. Archangel won the William Crawford Award for Achievement in Fantasy, but it is often shelved within science fiction. Those who have read this novel AND the following novels in the Samaria trilogy will know that science fiction becomes a massive part of the world, but in Archangel the science fiction is pretty much non-existent. To the point where someone hoping to read a science fiction novel would feel themselves misled. Here there are vague hints towards a science fiction element: screens through which the oracles commune with the god; discs that hold recordings of early Gloria masses; and the Kiss of the god, which seems to imply a genetics system.

In conclusion, Archangel is a tremendously beautiful novel, with strong characters and a complex love story at its heart. I think that with the rise of angel-based stories within YA, this book could be picked up by readers of YA since the sex and violence is kept to a bare minimum). Those who would enjoy it include readers of Jacqueline Carey, Mercedes Lackey and Anne Bishop. Please, read it.
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