Archangel by Sharon Shinn has been sewed into my hands for the last few days, and I must admit, it’s a bit regretfully that I have to put it down. As eager as I was to get to the end, there was that fatalistic sense of knowing that once it was over, that was it! I know it sounds silly, but to taunt me with 3 other books in the series, while knowing that they will deal with entirely different characters during an entirely different time makes me reluctant to let this first one go! Once again, this was a book I never would have picked off the shelf had it not been highly recommended to me!

Gabriel is an angel – in line to take over the role of Archangel, a position of authority over all Samaria. Yet to fully accept this role, he must find the angelica that god has planned for him. It took me a chapter or two to dissociate the religious names and places from my knowledge of them, into a completely fantastical setting. Having no knowledge of Shinn’s religious background (or lack thereof), I was able to take or leave various implied religious concepts. Yet a common theme throughout is something I thoroughly agree with – God’s sense of humour. In the novel, Gabriel, who is perhaps a little self-righteous but overall well-meaning, is matched with Rachel, a slave girl who has resented angels her whole life for taking away everything she has ever loved. Seemingly against both their wills they are forced into a marriage of convenience (my favourite kind of love story!) in order to save Samaria and complete each other.

At each others throats until the very end, their story had me reading with a cheeky smile on my face. While not a ‘romance’ novel, there was a great balance between the fantasy plot lines and the love story. Neither felt over- or underwhelming.

I have ordered the next book in the series, but before I move on, I think I’ll have to write my own Gabriel and Rachel conclusion. I want to right now! But I’ll sleep on it first. Definitely a recommend for anyone who loves a good original fantasy (not a vampire in sight!), and someone tall dark and handsome (and winged) to fall in love with.

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