July 30, 2012

Recommend A... First Book in a Series

Recommend A...is a new weekly feature hosted by Chick Loves Lit, where bloggers recommend a book based on a specific prompt. This week's prompt is to recommend a first book in a series.

Samaria series, #1

Archangel is the story of the angel Gabriel and Rachel, the human woman Jovah has chosen for him to marry. Gabriel has known that he would rise to become Archangel of Samaria for years, to help the struggling nation into a golden age, but he put off the search for his Angela until the last minute. It wouldn't normally be a problem, but the Archangel cannot assume his position without first singing a duet with his Angela. Rachel is not as easy to track down as Gabriel had assumed, however, and Rachel is haunted by a horrific past that causes her to be the exception to the norm she has absolutely no intentions of marrying Gabriel or assuming the role of Angela, and isn't afraid to tell him so. 

I have avoided YA angel stories like the plague (this book doesn't count to me since it was published before the YA paranormal angel craze and because it's technically considered adult fantasy); I'm just not interested in reading about angels. Shinn's angels are the exception. They're imbued with wings and power and the grace of Jovah, yet they're still struggling to figure out what to do with their lives and understand what Jovah truly expects from them. There's a conflict between the angels being appropriately removed from humans, and yet the need for them to watch over humans. And they're forced to marry humans in order to continue their race. Humans and angels live in a precarious co-existence in the world of Samaria.

Rachel and Gabriel have one of the best romantic relationships I've ever read in a novel. Throughout the course of the novel we get to see them grow individually and together as they learn to trust themselves and each other. Their relationship is fraught with misunderstanding and prejudice, but every little step towards acceptance of one another is so believable. This book always makes it to the top of the list whenever I want to read a more genuine depiction of a romantic relationship. And outside of their romance troubles, Gabriel is searching for meaning and trying to prepare to be the best future Archangel, while Rachel is haunted by her past and suspicious of all angels. But, like any romantic relationship, they complement each other and help each other reach their potentials. Romance done right, right here in this little book.

I don't know anything about music and singing, but this novel definitely made me wish I did. I absolutely loved the importance of music within this world. Music is used for worship and for pure emotion. Rachel possesses the only voice worthy of a duet with Gabriel, and through music their relationship is able to grow. By using music Gabriel and Rachel finally begin to understand one another.

She had chosen the song for him.
She loved him.

Just try and tell me that's not swoon-worthy right there.

I've only actually read the first book in this series, but it ended on such a perfect note that I had no desire for anything more. But after recently reading Angieville's review of Shinn's YA novel Summers at Castle Auburn, I'm feeling rather nostalgic for her work and do think I'd like to take the time to continue with the Samaria series. After I reread Archangel, of course.
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Amanda loves few things better than sitting down with a cup of tea and a book. She frequently stays up far too late, telling herself she just needs to finish one more page. When she's not wrapped up in the stories of others, Amanda works as a children's librarian in a public library.


  1. I've actually never heard of this book, but I'm glad you posted about it because I also avoided YA angel books like the plague. This sounds like it has some pretty awesome world building and an actually well done relationship (two of my main issues with the mass angel books I keep running into).ANd I love the emphasis of music (that quote is gorgeous). I'll definitely have to check it out.

    Thanks for the recommendation!

    1. Yes, absolutely everything about this book is amazing. It could have been another cliche angel romance book but it's anything but that. Sharon Shinn is such a talented writer. You definitely need to read this!

  2. I really like Sharon Shinn! I actually reviewed Troubled Waters on our blog. She seems sort of random whenever someone else mentions her, but she's so popular that I don't see why that would be?! Glad she got some love here!

    -Mary from My Sister's Bookshelf

    1. Yay another Sharon Shinn lover!! I'm not sure. I haven't seen many book bloggers mention her, or at least not many of those I follow. She definitely does deserve to be a commonly-mentioned author. Maybe if people like us post enough about her? :)


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