Sharon Shinn is one of my favorite authors. If you have read her novel, Summers at Castle Auburn, this won’t surprise you. It features a royal palace and a gutsy heroine a la another YA novel you may have read by yours truly.
Not surprisingly, Summers at Castle Auburn was my first Sharon Shinn discovery. A YA fantasy with castles, princesses, and magic is very unlikely to miss my radar.
Surprisingly, especially considering how great Summers at Castle Auburn is, it is not my favorite Sharon Shinn book.
That honor goes to Archangel—an absolutely fabulous piece of fantasy that will rob you of your sleep—even on the night before a very important exam—so BEWARE.
Shinn writes both YA and adult romantic fantasy, often with a unique sci-fi blend; and in this rare instance, I tend to love her adult fantasy/sci-fi even more than her YA—because I get to spend more time in the hearts of her characters and their wonderfully rich worlds. All of her novels are worth checking out; however my absolute must-reads are below. In the order of how much I love them.
- Archangel (Archangel Trilogy #1)
An age of corruption has come to the land of Samaria, threatening its peace and placing the Samarians in grave danger. Their only hope lies in the crowning of a new Archangel. The oracles have chosen the privileged angel, Gabriel, and further decreed that first he must wed the slave woman, Rachel. Gabriel is certain that she will greet the news of her destiny with enthusiasm, and a devotion to duty equal to his own. Rachel, however, has other ideas.
Note: Initially, I was a bit hesitant to read this trilogy, due to the “angels.” I don’t like my main characters to be dead. But have no fear! These angels are neither dead nor religious figures. And Gabriel is definitely hot!
- Summers at Castle Auburn
She was a girl with a talent for witchcraft and a taste for adventure. The illegitimate child of a royal lord, she longed for a man who could never be hers. And she lived for her summers at Castle Auburn.
She is a woman who has grown accustomed to standing alone. What she once loved, she has lost. Where she once saw joy, she now sees terrible injustice. And at the castle where she once lived in peace, she now walks in fear for her life.
- Jovah’s Angel (Archangel Trilogy #2)
Destructive storms are sweeping the land of Samaria. Then the current Archangel is incapacitated and replaced by shy, unworldly Alleya (Alleluia). She must calm the weather, pacify the tribes, make Jovah hear her, forge a reconciliation with the previous Archangel, and find the man she is supposed to marry--in four months. Unfortunately, the tribes don't want to be pacified, the weather is uncooperative, Jovah is remote, the crippled Archangel is bitter, and Alleya's “destined” husband is identified by the oracles only as a "son of Jeremiah."
Just as addictive as the first Archangel novel!
- Heart of Gold
A scientist by nature . . . he used his rational powers of observation to examine more closely the privileges he was born to enjoy—and the people he was raised to despise.
A rebel at heart . . . she followed her fiercest passions in the struggle to overthrow a legacy of hate—one that had poisoned her family for generations.
On a planet divided . . . between rich and poor, strong and weak, intellect and feeling, only one thing could bring these two opposites together: A strictly forbidden desire.
For justice. For equality. For each other.