A tale of the distant future by the author of The Shape-Changer's Wife brings listeners to a world in which the fate of all life rests on the voice of an angel.
"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....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." (Booklist)
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A great story, narrrated well
- Amazon Customer
Fantastic world-building; Rachel is stranglable
There's so much to love about this book. Fantastic world building, sweeping descriptions... Archangel really transports you to another world. But much as I enjoyed the world, at a certain point, I kept wondering why it wouldn't end already. This is mostly the fault of Rachel, a stubborn, self-centered, sanctimonious woman who thinks she's right about everything and expects everyone to do what she wants them to, even when she doesn't say what she wants. Her character is well developed - just extremely unlikable. She whines and yells and complains and doesn't do anything but think about what she wants. The most ridiculous is when she complains about how the world is wrong, and yet, given the chance to change the world as the archangel's de facto queen, all she does is run away with a clan of nomads. Suffice it to say, I hate her.
But not enough to trash the entire book, because, like I said, there really is a lot to love about it. Gabriel, the soon-to-be archangel who was betrothed to Rachel by divine will, inexplicably still loves her despite all her ridiculousness. He's not entirely likable either, being arrogant and somewhat bad-tempered at times, but his noble goals with regard to the world he's about to inherit as archangel are admirable. He reminds me a bit of the Beast in Disney's Beauty and the Beast - surly but ultimately kind-hearted. His love-hate relationship with Rachel doesn't quite work for me, since I picked up on all of the frustration and none of passion (which was supposedly there, but buried beneath layers of irritating fights).
Anyway, despite Rachel, the world-building and the side characters are enough to merit four stars, in my opinion. The universe Sharon Shinn created really is mesmerizing, and I'm tempted to read the sequels even though if I have to put up with any more of Rachel's selfishness, I might start banging my head against the wall.
- Mary Fan