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5.0 out of 5 stars Shinn's best book yet
I stayed up all night to finish this book. Not only does she do action and romance well, but she manages to portray people with very different viewpoints in a sympathetic way. I usually don't like romance much, and I usually like more poetic prose -- but this author makes me feel comfortable and warm, using simple, readable prose to portray likeable characters. The...
Published on April 17 1999 by Peter F. Delaney

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2.0 out of 5 stars Melodrama and Unbelievably Beautiful Women
I loved The Shapechanger's Wife. I loved the Samaria Trilogy (except for the plethora of "riotous curls").
I could not stand Wrapt in Crystal.
The world was minorly interesting, but the religious beliefs did not have the fullness and richness that marks the beliefs of any religion I've encountered before. (...Dogmatic people tend to be dogmatic about...
Published on Oct. 8 2003 by Shanty Girl


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2.0 out of 5 stars Melodrama and Unbelievably Beautiful Women, Oct. 8 2003
By 
Shanty Girl (Vancouver, BC Canada) - See all my reviews
I loved The Shapechanger's Wife. I loved the Samaria Trilogy (except for the plethora of "riotous curls").
I could not stand Wrapt in Crystal.
The world was minorly interesting, but the religious beliefs did not have the fullness and richness that marks the beliefs of any religion I've encountered before. (...Dogmatic people tend to be dogmatic about more than one thing...)
Also...the characters.
Her male hero is completely unbelievable. He's supposed to be macho, but the guy waxes poetic about pretty scenery, children, etc., etc. Split personality.
As with some of the other readers, the mystery was not something to carry me. Nobody that I cared about was murdered. Until the end, no part of the mystery provided tension. In fact, the "lead" that the hero follows seemed rather weak throughout.
And if I read one more word about flowing, golden, riotous, silken hair...
Is this worth my meager tuppence? Is it worth spending on a book rather than upon dinner for a few days?
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2.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great., Sept. 12 2002
The religion and its two denominations were very interesting, but the plot is thin and the characterisation sorely lacking.
It's your basic detective story -- we immediately imagined Nicholas Cage as the worlds-weary Drake -- set on a slightly stereotyped Earth colony where Catholicism has mutated into a form of Marian devotion with a bit of Isis thrown in. Sin and chastisement are downplayed in favour of emphasis on works of faith and charity (which in one of the two major religious orders, may include sexual favours).
Someone is murdering sisters from both orders, and Drake is sent to track down the killer. Part of his investigation leads him into a situation right out of a famous 1940s noir movie -- can't say more without giving it away, but so much is predictable you'll probably see it immediately even if you don't know the film.
Much of the plot, settings and characters will be familiar to anyone who's spent a few afternoons with his dad's old Analog SF and Ellery Queen magazines. It got a bit tiresome after a while -- how many times do we have to hear about the Moonchildren's deadly skills and penchant for danger and excitement? I get it already, they're lethal! The spaceport bar scene was so predictable we could almost quote the dialogue before we read it. And yes, the stereotyped male and female roles were all there, and being tiresome as ever.
The linguistic variations didn't strike us as errors, but as things that are bound to happen as a language travels to a distant place, gets mixed in with other languages, and evolves. However, the story was predictable enough that we began counting the narrative glitches. In the otherwise interesting wedding scene, we were enlightened to read the bride wore shoes on her feet. Not on her head?
This impressed us as a good first outing by a newcomer, not by a seasoned writer with four or five previous works. It could have serialized in Analog thirty years ago. For sf/fantasy novels that concern religion, we recommend Walter M. Miller's "A Canticle for Leibowitz" and Mary Doria Russell's "The Sparrow".
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2.0 out of 5 stars A Real Disappointment from Sharon Shinn, Aug. 12 1999
By A Customer
I regret spending the money to buy this book.In simple terms, it was not very good-- not fom the likes of a writer of Sharon Shinn's caliber.She has shown her capacity for breathtaking and lyrical writing in the past, but she is sleep-walking through this book.Purely going through the motions.Some might find it unfair to compare two bodies of work, since Shinn's Samaria novels are not related to "Wrapt in Crystal" and has a totally different story concept.True,but it is completely fair to compare the reality of the two cultures and, quite frankly, Samaria seemed like a rich, detailed and fully-realized society to me and Semay did not.The desert planet and the larger galactic society surrounding it is composed of bits and pieces of SF hash that has been seen before in dozens of books.There is nohing unique about any of it.There are also many embarassing flaws in the novel.Although not a language savant like the other reviewer who noticed it, I too saw the grammer errors in the supposed language of Semayse.Shinn also uses laughable anachronisms all through the novel, like "stereo" and "radio".We probably won't be using these terms fifteen years from now, let alone centuries in the future."Personal computer" and "compact disc" weren't in the vernacular twenty years ago, remember?It is pure sloppiness for an author not to do the work it takes to render a future society truly futuristic, and that includes uses of language.I was also bothered by the fact that the three main female characters were such sexual stereotypes.I also disliked the fact that Drake seemed treatened and uninterested in the two who were in touch with their own sexuality and fell for the repressed one.What are you trying to say, Ms. Shinn?This is not to say, though, that I liked the behavior of any of the female characters, or any of the characters for that matter.I didn't care about one, single person depicted in the book, and that what is so surprising from a work of Shinn's.In her Samaria novels, whether you liked or hated them, she always made you feel for the characters.I only finished "Wrapt in Crystal" to find out who the killer was, and that, too, was disappointing.Without giving away the conclusion, let me just say that no person would ever go about matters the way the killer did.Stealth and inquiry would have served him much better than brutal murder, which only caused the authorities to put themselves on his trail, of course!Stealth and inquiry will serve you better if you seek out another book to read than this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Shinn's best book yet, April 17 1999
I stayed up all night to finish this book. Not only does she do action and romance well, but she manages to portray people with very different viewpoints in a sympathetic way. I usually don't like romance much, and I usually like more poetic prose -- but this author makes me feel comfortable and warm, using simple, readable prose to portray likeable characters. The only way I can describe the story is to say it is a science fiction space opera detective romance action novel with strong religious overtones. How's that for a combo?
Our hero is Drake, a pretty standard stereotypical "private dick" character who is the perfect leading man for a romance novel or action story. He's sort of a gentleman space marine with a keen mind and unearthly competence - the kind of guy that doesn't really exist, but that women dream of. Fortunately the women in the book and the plot are interesting enough that rather than be distracted by the uber-detective you will be constantly wondering which of the ladies he's going to end up with, and whodunnit. The book is fun and suprisingly intelligent while seeming very down-to-earth and accessible.
If like her angel stories, you'll like this book, too.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good for weekend reading., Dec 11 2000
By 
This is the first Sharon Shinn book I've ever read, but I've heard good things about her other books (Archangel, Jovah's Angel) so I decided to give it a try.
I liked the setting, but I do wish some things had been explained in a bit more detail, like the Moonchildren. I especially liked the use of words from "our" languages, altered to reflect the passage of time. It's a detail many "colony of earth" sci-fi writers ignore or bungle.
I can't say the mystery enthralled me, I figured the second biggest mystery about half-way through the book. The "whodunnit" part was weak, but this book is worth reading purely for the philosophy of the Triumphantes.
It's a believable world, and the characters are well-drawn. I don't regret buying it.
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1.0 out of 5 stars a parody, June 6 2000
By 
kelpy kat (Aranda, Australia) - See all my reviews
The characters in this book were paperthin and stereotypical for their professions. Every thought and action was predictable, but not necessairly realistic. That the Fidele heroine, Laura, did a lot of walking at all hours of the night and the hero spent a lot of time cruising around in this car at the same time didn't do much to develop their characters, nor was their behaviour credible in view of their action-packed days. The hero's social and diplomatic skills portrayed in the book wouldn't have worked for a pre-schooler, let alone for a clearly delicate interplanetary mission. The obvious analogy between Interfed and The good ole US of A. didn't work for me being the wise, magnanimous and powerful entity until I started to read the book as a parody.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing mystery/sci-fi combo, July 15 1999
By A Customer
While Wrapt in Crystal did not enthrall me the way Archangel did, it was an excellent, suspenseful mystery (but don't read the Kirkus review-- it gives it all away). Shinn's writing, as usual, is lyrical and lovely and the plot moves quickly.
I'm really not much for sci-fi, and am the antithesis of religious, but apart from that, I had one major quibble. The language is supposedly a mixture of Spanish, Italian and French. As an avid Spanish student, I noticed many major grammatical errors in noun gender agreement, misuse of the Ud./tu form and inconsistent use of the subjunctive... It annoyed me so much that my enjoyment of the overall book was lowered. So if you speak Spanish, be prepared! All in all though, still a very well-written book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wrapt in Crystal, April 25 2000
By 
Brook A. Lohmeier "ghost_kitten" (Bettendorf, Ia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I picked up this book on the off chance when it came into the bookstore that I work at. The title caught my attention. I found the story a little lacking in places, but on the whole it was a wonderful piece of writing. The most lacking part of the story seemed to be the budding romace that was building during the novel. I think that could have been developed a little more to work a bit better with the mystery story line. The blending of fantasy and sci-fi was nice. It is rare when an author can take the idea of the future and combine it nicely with the average aspects of fantasy. I hope that her other books turn out to be as nice of a read as this one was.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A SciFi murder mystery with fascinating characters., May 26 1999
By A Customer
Six gory murders, five ceremonial occasions, four Moonchildren, three lovers, two religious sects at odds, and one desert planet clinging to traditional ways make for lovely way to spend a few hours. I throughly enjoyed WRAPT IN CRYSTAL: Sharon Shinn is improving with each book she writes. Who wouldn't fall for her angst-ridden detective, Cowan Drake? Although this is better SciFi than mystery, it works well either way. A little more attention to plot twists and a little less attention to simplistic religious debate would have made this a five star book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite on the level of Archangel, but good nonetheless., Jan. 10 2000
By 
A suspenseful murder mystery/lovestory. Shinn has created yet another masterpiece. While not quite as good as any of the books in the Samaria trilogy, this book has its share of qualities that should delight anyone who is a fan of Shinn's work. I have found all of her books a great read and always tough to put down once I start reading. Ms. Shinn cannot write books fast enough for me. As soon as I finish one I want to read another. Definitely one of today's great authors. Deserves much more appreciation and fanfare than she gets.
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Wrapt in Crystal
Wrapt in Crystal by Sharon Shinn (Turtleback - Oct. 2000)
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