I'm not sure if I should categorise Archangel
as fantasy or scifi. The sequels appear to be scifi but this one has no technology so I'm not sure where it fits.
The world is called Samaria which is separated into regions with an Angel lording of the hold. The current Archangel Raphael is corrupt and has given too much power to the merchants and slave owners.
The angel in line to be the next Archangel [a new one is appointed by the godlike figure Jovah every twenty years] Gabriel begins the novel searching for his Jovah appointed angelica [wife]. He had put it off for years and now only has six months to find her.
Rachel was adopted by the Edori [very gypsy like people] when she was a girl after her family were killed. She was enslaved five years previous.
Rachel comes off prickly to some of the characters but this girl values the freedom to be in charge of her life after being a slave. She hates Gabriel for taking her away after her masters daughter had just promised to free her.
The cultural of Samaria is very religious and everything centers around their god Jovah. Everything centers around the Angels. There are women in their society who follow Angels around hoping to have Angel children. When the children aren't angels they are abandoned on the street to fend for themselves.
The Edori worship Jovah in their own way and thus are set apart as different by the other classes. The Jansai people are the slave dwellers.
The world isn't actually moral at all. There are a lot of bad things happening to people by the current Archangel Raphael.
Rachel herself is a strong moral character who cares very deeply for the unprotected classes. I really liked her. She was opinionated and strong. I think that she was unsure of Gabriel's feelings was only natural given what happened to her.
There is an explanation in the book as to why so many horrors befell upon her.
Sharon Shinn delivered around perfect romance where the characters meet each other on their own terms and as equals. You must have freedom to really love one another. There isn't any creepy sex scenes where a guy pumps into a girl while declaring "Mine".
Sharon Shinn is awesome.