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Sharon Shinn
Ace, 496 pages

Sharon Shinn
Sharon Shinn's previous novels include The Shapechanger's Wife, Wrapt in Crystal, Heart of Gold, Summers at Castle Auburn and the Samaria Trilogy. She is a 1996 John W. Campbell Award nominee, and winner of the William Crawford Award for Achievement in Fantasy.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Jenna Starborn
SF Site Review: Heart Of Gold
SF Site Review: Summers at Castle Auburn
SF Site Review: The Alleluia Files
SF Site Review: The Alleluia Files
SF Site Review: Wrapt in Crystal
SF Site Review: Heart of Gold

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Regina Lynn Preciado

When the first Samaria novel came out -- Archangel (Ace Books, 1996) -- I read the whole thing before I thought to glance at the back cover. To my surprise and chagrin, the back cover not only gave away the book's ending, it revealed something about the structure of the world that was hinted at but never unveiled in the story. Every time I lend the volume out, I warn my friends not to read the blurb.

Angelica is set several centuries before the Archangel trilogy, and the secret nugget that Archangel's blurb gave away has only recently fallen out of popular consciousness. The inhabitants of Samaria have begun to forget their origins and their history, but they do know they came to Samaria from another world, and that their ancestors chose to establish a world without the technological ability to destroy itself. So when invaders appear with fire sticks that level entire villages before the people even know they're under attack, it's not surprising that some of the leaders argue for a lift on that ban.

Like all of Sharon Shinn's novels, Angelica is tale of love. Not just a love story, but an exploration of love among families, among friends, and among peoples. The narrative spends time with the day-to-day challenges of living rather than limit itself to the politics of royalty and war like many other fantasy novels do. Strong personalities need to learn to bend; cultures need to learn to accept and respect one another.

And running through it all are allusions to and examinations of how humans relate to God, both on a personal level and through religious beliefs and practices. I always suspect there's a layer I'm missing because I am not as knowledgeable about the history of Judaism and Christianity as I should be, considering that I minored in early European history when I was in college.

While Angelica is set earlier than the other Samaria stories, I don't think a reader would get as much out of it if he or she doesn't read the original trilogy first. I recommend taking a weekend to immerse yourself in the entire series.

Copyright © 2003 Regina Lynn Preciado

Freelance writer Regina Lynn Preciado lives in her truck but maintains a household in Los Angeles. Find out what else she's reading in her book blog.

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