Sharon Shinn's Archangel

After I read Archangel, I read several other books written by Shinn and I’ve really liked them all. The only reason that I didn’t read the second book in the series, Jovah’s Angel is that it takes place years after the first book and I knew that I’d miss the protagonists way too much. This particular book reminded me of the McCaffrey’s Pern series, in plot and mood.

As far as I can figure out, colonists landed on a planet and somehow lost knowledge of how their technology worked, so the AI system became the voice of God. Some of the people on the planet have developed wings (a fairly rare trait). These people, called Angels, sing to activate the weather programs and other stuff.

Of course, the characters don’t think in these terms, at all. Additionally, people who get close to the truth are dismissed as heretics or insane.

A (nonAngelic) captive of war is sold as a slave and, as the story begins, she is busy plotting her escape. Her plans are for naught when God tags her as the next Angelica – the female leader of the Angels. The Angelica is required to marry the Archangel who does have wings and is the male leader of the Angels. She must also sing at important ceremonies with him.

The Archangel sees her as a useful tool to restore faith in God and renew the planet and its inhabitant. She doesn’t think much of the Angels’ part in the war that destroyed her life. She and he don’t, to put it mildly, hit it off.

She’s not a wimpy character by any means but she is a bit passive-aggressive and has a self-destructive streak. It’s hard to blame her since her family was murdered by his people and then she was abducted from her adoptive family to forced to do housework in chains. But by the end of the novel, she pretty much knows her own worth without being unkind and thoughtless about it.

He is forced to recognize her as worthy of his honor and love and this acknowledgement conflicts mightily with his image of what a good Archangel should be. He changes almost as much as she does which makes him a better leader and a better man.


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