I am apparently a sucker for interesting/gorgeous/intriguing cover art!! *laugh* I stumbled across this in a bookstore shortly after it came out ages ago (1997!)
It is a Science Fiction/Fantasy series but not one that is intimidating with lots of bizarre character names and multiple words and such. It does have a map but its not overwhelming. I was instantly pulled into this simple yet complex and engrossing tale revolving around the settlers of Samaria: mortals ruled over by angles with the goal of living in harmony to please their god, . I know what you are thinking-- "a religious fantasy novel? Really?" But its not overpoweringly religious. I think this has everything to do with way of writing. It is so descriptive and yet leaves just enough for your imagination to fill in the gaps. The main characters- Rachel and Gabriel, are involved in a well known storyline: two unlikely people are thrown together and the question is will they realize they love each other or will their blindness of their true feelings lead to the destruction of the world? Her characters are so lifelike and genuine-- you can't help but feel for them as they make their way through the book. I have gone through several copies of this book-- I reread it once a year-- and being a visual person I have a hard time rereading books.... but this book is so wonderful and thrilling; I enjoy it every time! Its strong characters and beautifully created world that makes this such an endearing book! The rest of the series is great but it sadly only reflects back on the main characters historically until the fifth book in the series where the events take place shortly after Archangel but do not follow Rachel and Gabriel specifically. In my opinion, one of Sharon Shinn's best novels!
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