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3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
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on October 8, 2003
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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on August 10, 2003
This is the 4th Sharon Shinn book that I've read, loved the first 3 but I struggled to get through this one.
I'd love to have known more about the Moonchildren but by time I was 3/4 finished, I no longer cared, I just wanted to finish it. I'll keep the other 3 Shinn books that I have but this one goes to the 2nd hand book store.
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on September 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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on January 25, 2002
After reading ARCHANGEL, JOVAH'S ANGEL and THE ALLELUIA FILES I was very disappointed with WRAPT IN CRYSTAL. I found it predictable and the physical relationship gratuitous. This is not a Shinn book I would recommend.
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on December 11, 2000
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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on October 4, 2000
Having read most of Sharon Shinn's novels, and loved them all, (I started with the Samaria trilogy)I have to say this was a bit of a dissapoitment. It was much more boring than her other novels, and I found myself struggling to get through it. It only picked up towards the end, and that's when I ended up staying up half the night to finish it. If you are looking for a good Shinn novel, I would suggest the Samaria trilogy, rather than reading this.
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on June 6, 2000
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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on April 26, 2000
Honestly, this book was pretty predictable. But the characters were likable, and the story kept me interested. Much as I was sure I knew what was going to happen, I was compelled to keep reading. I'm not in a rush to see a sequel, but I will probably read this book again.
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on April 25, 2000
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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on April 23, 2000
Imagine getting to write a book about religion and not ticking anybody off. That is what this book does. It uses the story as a vehicle to compare the aesthetic and celebratory aspects of religion. The downside is the lack of true depth that religion really has. Mother Theresa who would definitely be Fidel in this book was inspired by St. Theresa whose autobiography contains much Triumphante language. Still it's fun to be able to take this look.
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