A re-read. Let’s start with a cockamamie sci-fi premise. Five hundred years ago, human settlers fled their war-torn home planet in a spaceship named Jehovah, which they left in orbit around their new planet because it can change the weather and send down grain and medicines when such things are requested (via sung prayer) by angels, who are humans genetically modified to have wings. By the time the first book begins, people have forgotten that the spaceship is a spaceship, and believe it to be God. Over the course of the trilogy, the truth is slowly uncovered.
These are perfect comfort-read books, if you like music, evocatively detailed but flowing worldbuilding, strong-willed protagonists with very well-drawn motivations, and believable, imperfect romances between quarrelsome people. Which, you know, I do. And so I love these books. They do have their flaws. Each of the various groups outside of angel politics are mono-dimensional, which becomes more and more apparent as you read more of the series. And, the plots are so neatly designed it is invariably obvious to an alert reader what is going to happen. But I enjoy the books so much that I do not care.
The first book, Archangel, is my favorite, because of the way that it kicks some major romance tropes in the teeth. We first meet the main character Rachel when she is literally a chained slave. She is “rescued” by the powerful (arrogant, well-meaning, and frankly rather adorable) archangel Gabriel into a “fated mates” type of situation. But instead of being grateful that she’s being asked to swap one form of enslavement for another, she spends the book absolutely refusing to give up her own agency. And she never does. Man, I love this book.
The fourth book (or technically the fifth, I guess), Angel-Seeker, falls directly after the first book and has some overlapping characters. It’s my second-favorite of the bunch: it’s just very enjoyable to just be in this vivid world with these people.
I don’t like the second and third books as much (Jovah’s Angel and The Alleluia Files), just because there were a lot of plot threads going and didn’t find them all equally interesting.
Both the strength and the weakness of these books is their willingness to take time with minor points that other books would skim or skip over. I don’t mean they’re slow—they’re not; the words that come to mind are “caring” and “lavish.” So, even at those moments in which I didn’t entirely care about what was going on, I still enjoyed the reading experience.
She would have liked to get up in the middle of the night and steal from the campground, running to some far finger of land where even Gabriel (should he choose to look) could not find her–but tomorrow would very possibly be the end of the world, and she was pledged to stay and watch it.
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