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Re-reading Sharon Shinn stuff.

Re-reading Sharon Shinn stuff. published on

Today was Archangel. This book creeps me out a little bit more every time I re-read it.

The first time, I remember being very impressed by Josiah. He’s clearly a very cynical person, if not an actually evil one – the power behind the throne, he manipulates Gabriel and Rachel and Raphael, relatively simple-minded people, into doing what he wants. When he says that God has no emotional attachment to human beings, he’s talking about himself. And while it’s obvious to the reader that he condescends to and lies to everyone he meets, none of the characters ever realizes it.

Rachel never quite catches on that Josiah dismisses her faith as a cargo cult (though he says it pretty clearly), and Gabriel never realizes that Josiah, reassuring him of God’s existence, is just telling him what he wants to hear. Our heroes all sort of absent-mindedly think of him as the story’s non-threatening mentor figure who exists only to set up their own stories. And then they all live happily ever after within Josiah’s plot, without ever noticing there was a plot to begin with.

But this time through, I’m developing the sneaking suspicion that Shinn doesn’t realize it, either. I liked the book so much better when I thought she was in on it. My meta-book is so much more awesome than the real one.

Also, the book suffers from What These People Need Is A Honky syndrome. Why couldn’t Rachel herself have been ethnically one of the pseudo-Romani, exactly? Why did she have to be adopted? Was her blondness in some manner integral to her function within the narrative?