- Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
- Publisher: Ace; Reissue edition (Feb. 22 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0441012604
- ISBN-13: 978-0441012602
- Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 2.5 x 17 cm
- Shipping Weight: 227 g
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #609,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Angel-Seeker Mass Market Paperback – Feb 22 2005
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"The most promising and original writer of fantasy to come along since Robin McKinley."
A fascinating world built upon a complex system of technology and faith. ("Library Journal")
About the Author
Sharon Shinn is a journalist who works for a trade magazine. Her first novel, The Shapechanger's Wife, was selected by Locus as the best first fantasy novel of 1995. She has won the William C. Crawford Award for Outstanding New Fantasy Writer, and was twice nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. A graduate of Northwestern University, she has lived in the Midwest most of her life.
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As other reviewers have mentioned, this story has several familiar themes, especially to "Jovah's Angel." It was nice to see familiar characters again. The theme of the wild young woman finding contentment with an Edori lover is somewhat overdone, although I found Elizabeth to be much more likeable and interesting than either Miriam (Angelica) or Delilah (Jovah's Angel). In fact, I found Elizabeth to be one of Shinn's more interesting and sympathetic characters, as she seems to grow and change throughout the book. Rebekah seemed a bit more passive and certainly somewhat cavalier regarding her own safety - and the potential disgrace she was bringing upon her family. If she is willing to risk all to take an angel lover, surely it would have occurred what risks she was running. She seems imaginative - I would have liked to see her chafe more at her restrictions and wonder more what it would be like to be born into a different type of family. Her reluctance to leave Breven (and her willingness to honor her betrothal) seem odd to me. Jordan was a wonderful character, one of my favorites - and the freeing of the Jansai women and seeing the Jansai men get theirs was a terrific scene. Delightful.
I do hope that Ms. Shinn finds some new and creative ways to keep writing about this world. There are only so many ways one can write about the clash of the Edori with the Jansai, with the angel, or the greedy merchants vs. the righteous angel(s); or the beautiful, innocent pure heroine finding love with the angel (or the more central male character) where the less pure, more worldly-wise woman finds love with the selfless, devoted Edori lover (and perhaps less material success than she wanted or had been accustomed to, but that's all right, because she finds TRUE LOVE). That is a bit hard to swallow.
I'm giving it five stars, because it actually is one of my favorite Samaria books, and because of Elizabeth - but probably will get the next book from the library, just in case.
Finally, Raphael denied any need to sing praises to Jovah and brought his followers to Mount Galo to wait out the entire day which had been appointed for singing the Gloria. After the sun went down, Raphael announced that he was their god and the thunderbolts sizzled out of the sky to destroy him and all who were with him. A great storm blew over Samaria, the skies opened up, rain fell in torrents, and the rivers began to flood.
The next day, Gabriel lead the survivors in singing the Gloria and the skies calmed and peace returned to Samaria. Gabriel was chosen as the Archangel as foreseen by the oracles. He even convinced Rachel to marry him and become the Angelica.
In this novel, the angels have abandoned Windy Point and have begun to build another city of angels in Jordana. Cedar Hills is unlike any other angel hold, for it is down on the plains, easily accessible by ordinary humans. Gabriel appoints Nathan to rule the new city and so Nathan takes Magdalena, his new bride, and a group of Monteverde angels there to reestablish proper relations with the landholders who have been slighted for so long.
Gabriel has banned the enslavement of Edori and freed all the slaves. Now the Jansai are moaning about their economic difficulties. Since Nathan already has enough problems to handle, Gabriel sends Obadiah to handle relations with the Jansai. Shortly after moving to Cedar Hills, Obadiah flies to Breven and meets with Uriah, the acknowledged leader of the Jansai. After concluding his visit, Obadiah is flying back to Cedar Hills when, suddenly, he is shot out of the sky.
Obadiah manages to crash into a small oasis, but hasn't got the strength to attend to his wounds. He is found there by a young Jansai woman, Rebekah, and she covertly tends him for several days while he recovers, but eventually she has to leave with her family. Shortly thereafter, Obadiah flies out of the desert, but has a relapse in mid-air and crashes once again, causing additional injuries. He has been seen falling out of the sky and is quickly found and placed in a trader wagon to be taken for treatment in Cedar Hills.
Elizabeth is a young women who has come to Cedar Hills as an angel-seeker, a woman trying to become pregnant by an angel in order to bear an angel child. Mothers of angels are very well treated, but most pregnancies between angels and ordinary humans do not produce angel progeny. She has met Obadiah briefly and soon comes to know him rather well after she helps tend his wounds and then is assigned the additional duties of periodically checking his condition and tending his needs.
In this story, the lives of these two women are opposed in many ways. Elizabeth is an orphan who comes from a wealthy family who fell upon hard times; she was living with a distant relative and working as a cook before she fled to Cedar Hills. Elizabeth wants to become pregnant by an angel, but has no real affection for her paramour.
Rebekah is living with her step-father, mother, two brothers and other family members in a fair amount of comfort. She is leery of Jansai men, but believes that her betrothed is kindly enough. Yet she has begun to develop warm feelings, even longings, toward the angel Obadiah.
Elizabeth is a very independent woman who has already proved her willingness to change her circumstances according to her own desires. Rebekah, while is a fairly liberal thinker for a Jansai woman, just cannot convince herself that she could possibly withstand the heartaches of leaving her family and circumstances. What surprises will destiny bring?
The author continues her accounts of intercultural conflicts on Samaria and its consequences. As with Archangel, the pairings herein suffer from inadvertent miscues and other misunderstandings, adding a layer of comedy to the actions of the protagonists. While the major characters have entirely admirable personas, they are contrasted with all sorts of unfeeling and corrupted individuals, from Elizabeth's relative James and his wife Angeletta to the angel David to the Jansai men of Breven. Once again, the author has provided an intricate portrayal of an exotic society and its populace, with special emphasis on their romantic involvements.
Highly recommended for Shinn fans and for anyone else who enjoys tales of exotic cultures and strange ways.
-Arthur W. Jordin
Elizabeth, a poor relation in her cousin's home, runs away to Cedar Hills where the angels are constructing a new community. She hopes to catch the eye of an angel, give birth to his child, and live the rest of her life in luxury. Rebekah, a member of the nomadic Jansai tribe, isolated from the males not of her family, stumbles across the injured Obadiah in the desert and nurses him in secret back to health. Although they fall in love, Rebekah refuses to give up her way of life and family for an angel but both she and Elizabeth learn that what they think they want is not really their heart's desire.
For readers who follow the Samaria novels, ANGEL-SEEKER should be read after ARCH ANGEL and before JOVAH'S ANGEL'S. The Jansai will remind readers of gypsy clans crossed with women living in Purdah in the mid-east. There is enough romance in this novel to appeal to fans of this genre without disappointing those who prefer a solid science fiction tale. Sharon Shinn is a talented storyteller who makes world building seems so graceful and easy.
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