Monday, April 30, 2012

Book Review: Angel-Seeker by Sharon Shinn

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Author: Sharon Shinn
Publisher: Ace
Paperback: 512 pages
Samaria Series: Book 5 (Chronologically: Book 2)
Summary: (Taken from author's website)
Elizabeth has arrived at the new angel hold of Cedar Hills, determined to improve her lot in the world by seducing an angel and bearing his baby. To her surprise, she learns that she might be able to earn her keep instead by becoming a healer. Meanwhile, one of the Cedar Hills angels, Obadiah, has been sent by the Archangel Gabriel to try to make peace with the quarrelsome Jansai tribes. Obadiah unexpectedly meets and falls in love with a rebellious Jansai girl named Rebekah, who would be put to death if her family knew she was seeing an angel. Everything changes one fateful day when Elizabeth, Rebekah, and Obadiah all come together.

Overall Rating: 5/5

This is by far my favorite of the Samaria series. My favorite has always been the first one, so I was very happy to return to the time period in which Archangel is set and reunite with a few familiar characters. Sharon Shinn mentions on her website that Angel-Seeker is also her favorite book of the series, and that is most definitely reflected in the writing. Compared to the others, Angel-Seeker is so full of life. (Not that the others weren't good!) Within pages of meeting Elizabeth, Obadiah, and even Rebekah, I started relating to them.

A lot of my favoritism towards this book is probably due to the fact that it tackles an issue I feel strongly about -- women's rights. Rebekah is a Jansai, a group of people who keep their women hidden from all others. Rebekah isn't allowed to show her face in public; in fact, she's hardly allowed to walk out of the house in front of others who aren't her family. Her entire well-being depends on her stepfather, and the man she will marry. As an independent woman, I felt so sorry for her and really wanted her to break out of her prison. It was doubly intense, since she falls in love with an angel, Obadiah, and secretly meets with him. I thought their love story was the most intense. First of all, because they seemed to love each other so much. Secondly, because of all that was riding on it. If Rebekah was caught, she'd be taken into the desert by her family, stoned within an inch of death, and left to die. So she had to be really good at keeping her relationship and midnight trysts a secret, which added a great deal of suspense and drama to the story.

In stories with multiple points of view, my favorite character usually ends up being the one the book starts off with. That wasn't true for this one. While I loved Elizabeth's coming-of-age story of growth, I really didn't like her at the beginning. She's very whiny and tries to take the easy way out of life. I really respected her by the end, but her story just wasn't as good as Obadiah's and Rebekah because of all the obstacles they had in their way. Elizabeth just made obstacles for herself.

As with most romances, a lot of the draw is from the characters and not the plot line. However, Shinn always does a good job in balancing the two. The individual stories were interesting, and while very much character-driven, this novel made for a good page-turner. Angel-Seeker is 2nd chronologically, but like Shinn, I recommend reading the series by the publishing date. I got a lot more out of this than I would have due to the information I learned in books 2-4.

Overall, a good read. Romance fans, angel fans, science fiction fans, and simply fans of a good story and good characters will love this series, especially this novel. This was the end of the Samaria series, and it did not disappoint.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Giveaways Spotlight (13)

I love free books, and I know you do, too! Here are 5 awesome giveaways going on right now.

1. Hippies Beauty & Books Oh My!
Signed City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
Open internationally
Ends May 5 at midnight EST

2. Kindle and Me
Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Open to wherever the Book Depository ships. Must be a follower to enter.
Ends May 8

3. drey's library
The Midwife of Venice by Roberta Rich
Open to US only
Ends May 7

4. Girl Who Reads
Helen Keller in Love by Rosie Sultan
Open to US and Canada
Ends April 28

5. Literary Exploration
Audiobook of The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda
Open to US only
Ends May 8