Hugo's Reviews > Archangel

Archangel by Sharon Shinn
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's review
Jul 07, 10

bookshelves: fantasy
Read in May, 2010

I bought this book on a whim after reading about it on a blog I didn't know that it was mainly a romance novel, it caught my interest because the twist on the fantasy setting seemed intriguing.

As a romance novel it more or less follows Formula 1A (not that I'm a big fan of the genre, but I've read enough to recognize the clichés). Head-strong and willful, yet amazingly beautiful and talented servant girl meets proud and brooding noble lord, and there is some sort of connection. Initially they hate each other, and through a series of misunderstandings they fall apart before in the end finally coming together and realizing that they love each other (mainly, the male noble needs to swallow his pride and beg and plead a bit before the stubborn girl relents, but only because he really has a good heart).

What's more interesting is the setting; the girl is an orphaned slave girl from a nomadic tribe while the guy is an angel lord named Gabriel, soon to become Archangel of the world Samaria, and their love has been ordained by the god, Jovah. Gabriel needs to marry before he may assume the role of Archangel, and this girl Rachel is the one the the god has declared to be his wife. Now he only has to find her and convince her of her duty before the annual Gloria is to be sung to appease the god, the lack of which would bring down destruction and divine wrath from the skies.

There is a conflict involved, and a power play between both other angels and powerful humans, which ties into the interesting part, which unfortunately is spoiled right there in the blurb on the back of the book.

Now, this revelation is only hinted to in the actual text of the book, and the setting definitely has potential, but it is unfortunate both that the publisher felt the need to spoil it right on the cover of the book, and that the author barely explores the potential through such a formulaic romance story instead of a more interesting one, but there are two more books in the series, so I'm putting my hopes to a more interesting discussion of faith and philosophy in them.

So, apart from some naive anachronisms, and an overly idealized notion of nomadic lifestyles, along with lengthy descriptions of gowns and jewelery as well as beautiful yet moody angels, I found it well worth reading, mostly because of the novelty of the setting. Hopefully the next two of the series explores the potential of it better.
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Sara I agree with you about the publisher spoiling the revelation. That was kind of a bummer.

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