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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Monday, September 08, 2003

Angelica by Sharon Shinn. New York: Ace Books, 2003. ISBN: 0-441-01013-X

One of the more unique features of science fiction as a genre is the fact that it can subsume all of the other genres. You can write scifi mystery, scifi westerns, scifi gothic or horror, scifi suspense—you name it, science fiction can do it. All you really have to do is set your story in the future, or on another planet, or in an alternate universe, or something, and voila, it’s science fiction. This is not necessarily a bad thing, mind you. It all depends (as is always the case when reading) on the skill of the author.

Sharon Shinn’s Angelica is an excellent example of this principle at work. What we have here is essentially a romance novel, but set on her well-developed planet named Samaria. The plot is standard romance novel fare: two previously unacquainted (but attractive, naturally) people are thrown together, destined to be married, and have to figure out how to love one another.

Throw in two markedly different cultures, humans with wings that fly, not to mention an alien invasion (well, the invaders are human, but from off planet) and there is plenty of action to keep you interested. To keep the story human, there is a significant subplot surrounding the problem dealing with a delinquent young adult member of the family.

Shinn has written three previous novels utilizing this setting: Archangel, Jovah’s Angel and The Alleluia Files. I know I’ve read at least one of these, but am not sure about the rest. The concept and the writing are both good enough that sooner or later I’ll have to make sure I’ve read them all.

While the romance novel genre as a whole may be aimed toward women, and this story is bound to be attractive to that sex, I think men will find plenty to enjoy here as well. At least, this man did.

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