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The Archangel series (possibly still on going?) by Sharon Shinn is set in the world of Samaria, a culture that has forgotten the mechnical marvels that run their society and believe them to miracles. Unusually, the skeptics are the bad guys, and the theocrats the good guys; hey, just because you're confused about a starship doesn't make you bad.
Chronologically the books are:
- Archangel first published
- Angel Seeker
- Jovah's Angel
- The Alleluia Files.
While each book is readable as a stand-alone novel, the later novels contain many references to characters from earlier books. The chronological first book was the last to be released and each of the novels following it have at least a throw-away reference to it. Each novel centers on themes of love and harmony in the face of dissonance violence.
- Always Save the Girl - The main male protagonist of every book does this. He is always willing to give up the world for the girl and often has to in order for his love interest to admit the reciprocity.
- Aborted Declaration of Love - Usually several per book. They seem to go back and forth though equally between the Official Couples.
- Anguished Declaration of Love - Also once a book.
- Arranged Marriage - The political and spiritual leader of Samaria is the Archangel, whose bride or groom is chosen by the God. Jovah doesn't usually take advice on such things.
- But then it always turns out to be - shock, horror! - a Perfectly Arranged Marriage. By a computer. Genius, Ms Shinn.
- Aw, Look -- They Really Do Love Each Other - Another Once A Book event where the Official Couple finally decide to get over whatever was keeping them apart.
- Beta Couple - Delilah and Noah play this to Alleluia and Caleb in Jovah's Angel
- Bolt of Divine Retribution - If the population doesn't come together once a year to sing the Gloria, Jovah gets mad and will first destroy a mountain to get their attention, then a major city, and finally the world. Also, anyone who knows the proper prayers can call down thunderbolts. The prayers get used maybe a half dozen times (that we see) in almost a thousand years.
- Cannot Spit It Out - Rachel to Gabriel so very much. She's the worst offender of the entire series; though the other female protagonist get their chances, she takes the cake.
- Celibate Hero - Subverted or averted:
- Angels in this series have a difficult time breeding. There are never more than two or three hundred living angels at any given time throughout the series. This leads to very lax standards for the angels, who are not only allowed to sleep around but are encouraged to.
- However, the only promiscuous angel protagonist that springs to mind is Obadiah. Gabriel, Alleluia, Delilah, and Jared are all serial monogamists (and Gabriel and Alleluia have no recent lovers mentioned).
- Cinderella Circumstances - Most especially Rachel, though most of the heroines have at least one element of Rags to Royalty.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus - Really, what do you expect when almost every major city, political region, and character is named from the Bible?
- Council of Angels - With the Archangel at its head.
- Defenestrate and Berate - Again Rachel is a prime offender of this, though Tamar gives her a good run for her money.
- Dreaming of Things to Come - Rachel has a fear of heights induced by dreams she had after an old woman predicted she would one day die by falling. Susannah has a second kiss implanted into her skull which allows her dreams to be touched by Jovah who prepares her to help her fight of invaders just before she becomes the Angelica.
- The Dulcinea Effect - To be expected in a series where True Loves can identify each other by pieces of crystal embedded in their arms that light up when they get close to each other (the first time) or spark when one of the pair is in danger, or is feeling something particularly strongly.
- Eating the Eye Candy - The female protagonist of every book gets at least a small section where she acknowledges how handsome her new or soon to be husband is.
- Ethical Slut - Obadiah in specific, though angel society in general seems to prize this.
- Everyone Can See It - The main couples fall under this in every book save Jovah's Angel and Angel Seeker. At least in those two the main couples realize it first before anyone else.
- Fantastic Religious Weirdness
- First Church of Mecha
- Flat Earth Atheist - The Jacobites in the Alleluia files seem like this to pretty much anyone who doesn't buy into their beliefs. Even Jacobites tend to see themselves as Nay Theists, since though they acknowledge the existence of Jovah, they don't recognize him as a deity.
- Gold Digger - The Angel-Seekers. Anyone who succeeds in birthing or fathering an Angel child is guaranteed a life of luxury in the Angel parent's Eyrie, so there are literally hundreds of people who seek out Angel lovers in the hope of accomplishing this. Since Angels don't always breed true with humans, this results in a lot of unwanted human children as well, who frequently end up abandoned by their human parents.
- Happily Married - This is apparently the fate of every Archangel and Angelica/Angelico pairing. Also happens if you meet someone and the Kiss in their and your arms light up when you meet (guess what happens to every main couple eventually).
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl - Rachel and Gabriel, Susannah and Gaaron. While the girls are supposed to be similar in height to them, the descriptions of the men often give this impression.
- Like an Old Married Couple - Rachel and Gabriel almost from the moment they meet. It is commented that their tempers make them an excellent match.
- Love Ruins the Realm - Inverted, it is heavily believed by the populace of Samaria that if the Archangel doesn't marry the man or woman the good decrees that he will not accept the Gloria (the annual concert celebrating peace and preventing Jovah from destroying the world).
- Made a Slave - Rachel's backstory.
- The Masochism Tango - Rachel and Gabriel all the time, when not pulling an Aw, Look -- They Really Do Love Each Other
- Official Couple - The male and female protagonist of any of the books.
- One World Order - Though there are minor cultural variations, the entirety of Samaria is run by one government this leads directly to...
- Skeleton Government - The leader of Samaria is the Archangel. Then there are the oracles who have a direct line to god. Other than this, the bureaucracy of Samaria is pretty sketchy. (Though the Edori and the Jansai get some development in... pretty much any book that makes mention of the Edori and Angel-Seeker.)
- Runaway Fiance - Rachel pulls this all through Archangel, as does Susannah in Angelica, though to a much lesser degree. To continue the tradition, so does Tamar in The Alleluia Files.
- Second Act Breakup - Attempted once a book. Inevitably the female lead leaving the male who has to chase her down.
- Second Love - Delilah in Jovah's Angel, for the better.
- Tsundere - All the primary female characters, with the exceptions of Rebekah, Lucinda and Alleluia.
- Twice Shy - Caleb and Alleluia initially, though this doesn't stop them from hooking up for a bit before finding out that they are ordained to be together by the god himself.
- Will They or Won't They? - Unusual in that the fate of an entire planet lies on the outcome. Naturally enough, the couples always do.