Mon, 07 Mar 2005
The Alleluia Files
This book forms the third in Sharon Shinn's Samaria trilogy, being preceeded by Archangel and Jovah's Angel. I still think Archangel is the best of the set, though The Alleluia Files is a fairly decent book.
The Alleluia Files again contains many trappings of romance, though there are two romances this time, and consequently neither is as well developed as previous books'. For me, the one in Archangel is still my favorite, which I realized is probably because of the way Shinn weaves music throughout the romance and the rest of the book. It's still a very important part of this book, but not to the same degree as in Archangel.
I'm afraid I'll have to do the majority of my discussion of the book below the spoiler barrier, since I don't want to spoil either this or Archangel for those that have not read them.
The development of technology in The Alleluia Files doesn't feel to me to be completely believable, but Shinn mostly paints it in broad brushes, leaving plenty of room for readers to supply their own details.
Mostly, I continued reading to see how the story developed; to see what would happen. I did enjoy following the characters, hoping they would be okay and wondering how the world would take the truth of Jehova, but I was more enraptured by the sheer tension of not knowing how the story of Archangel would turn. I suppose I'm committing the error of not letting a book stand on its own merits, instead comparing it to preceeding works, but for me, Archangel very much overshadows The Alleluia Files. Well, it's still a good read.
One thing did bother me, though. An earlier book claimed that Samaria was uninhabitable by humans in its normal state, and only unceasing care by Jehova kept it livable, with the Gloria serving as a renewal of its instructions. In that explanation, the thunderbolts that would fall to destroy mountains and cities were natural features of the planet that had to be counteracted by human (well, angel) intervention. For this book, that somehow turned into Jehova using the Gloria as a metric for the harmony of people, counting their presence on the Plain of Sharon by their Kisses, and firing its weapons on the people if they didn't behave properly. There are problems with each explanation, of course, but it's very disconcerting to have such inconsistencies between books.