Before I start this review, I have to say that Sharon Shinn is one of my favorite authors. I’m trying not to be bias but when it is a great book what can you do?
Jovah’s Angel is set in Samaria, a world in which science and magic are blended so much you can’t tell which is which. Angels walk among mortals, rule and protect them, and are as beautiful as religious texts claim them to be. However, these are not the Nephilim a reader might assume they will be, though some are sinful enough to be. And Jovah is very different from the Christian God, the oracles talking to him through a plane of glass which words appear in a language only they and Jovah understand.
This is the second book in the world of Samaria, but it can be read with no knowledge of the previous book and reveals nothing substantial about the previous story you cannot figure out on your own early on (unless you are not very good at figuring out plots). Jovah’s Angel, if anything, complements the previous book, Archangel, by offering new information on the world, making clues in Archangel come together. I would recommend reading Archangel first, but it is not necessary
Another important aspect of this world, the final one (that I can think of right now), is it’s concentration on music. I have to say I don’t listen to music that much and most of the people I know can’t live without it. But when I read scenes in which the angels are singing, I can hear it and it is beautiful. Everyone sings in this world it seems like as singing is how angels pray for rain and save them from God’s wrath each Gloria, a ritual in which the Archangel and his/her angelica/angelico (wife/husband of archangel) lead the country in praising Jovah. The way Shinn writes I long to hear their music and voices. If that doesn’t tell you anything, I don’t know what does.
In this story of Samaria, life has gotten a bit more industrialized than it was before, they have electricity, factories, and a new dam that one of the main characters helped design. This new industrialization and sudden weather problems when angels are supposed to control the weather leads to political distress. There is quite a bit of politics which if you are from the U.S. you should recognize from our history. Of course, there are some things that would apply to other countries, but I’m an American and this is just what I know about. However, if you have read this, I would like to know how someone from a different country relates or doesn’t relate to this book.
The main characters, Alleuia or Alleya and Caleb Augustus are very different from each other but some how fate or Shinn (if you aren’t romantic) casts them together. Alleya has just become the Archangel with a tragedy (but not a fatal one) befalls Delilah, the previous Archangel. Delilah is not quite a main character but not a minor one either as you will see her story unfold through the main characters’ eyes. But back to Alleya,.. she had no desire to be the Archangel and is known as sort of a bookish loner, but Jovah always hears her prayers when he does not hear any of the other angels’. Caleb Augustus is an inventor, a scientist, blunt and lacking in faith. He loves science and his dream is to invent wings that he might fly like the angels. How these very different people come together in very different, separate worlds, you’ll have to find out for yourself.
Overall, this book is a ten to me. However, I know that some Christian sci-fi/fantasy readers might be offended because of the way Shinn uses the angels and Jovah, but I sincerely hope you will stay open-minded and enjoy a great story. Anyone who loves/likes angels, sci-fi, romance, and mystery will be enchanted by this magical, political, intellectual, romantic story. Enjoy and if you’ve read it I would love to know your opinions!