Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Sonderbooks Stand-out 2004
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*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
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****The Oracle Betrayed

The Oracle Prophecies, Book One

by Catherine Fisher

Reviewed May 7, 2004.
Greenwillow Books, New York, 2004.   First published in Great Britain in 2003.  341 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (JF FIS).
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2004, #8, Fantasy for Young Adults

There’s nothing stereotypical about this fantasy story.  It reminded me of The Tombs of Atuan, by Ursula K. LeGuin, but was still completely original.  The fantasy in The Oracle Betrayed lies in the gods of a pagan culture that are real.

Mirany has been chosen to be Bearer-of-the-God ahead of other, more qualified, members of the Nine.  It soon becomes apparent that she was chosen simply because it was believed that she would be too mousy to make a fuss.  The Speaker-for-the-God is conspiring with the general of the army to install a puppet as the Archon. 

When Mirany hears the voice of the god, telling her who the true Archon should be, she must brave dangers to try to get him to the right place on the ninth day.  For the new Archon is a ten year old boy in whom the god now lives, after the death of the old Archon.  He can’t help her, so how can she defy everyone in power and carry out the god’s wishes?

Seth, a scribe with a plot to help a tomb robber, and Oblek, an old court musician, also get embroiled in the scheme.  And during all of it, the land needs rain, making water more valuable than gold.

This is an intriguing story, wonderfully written.  The alien culture is beautifully portrayed, and the suspense makes it very difficult to stop reading.  Most of all, Mirany is a character I couldn’t help but like right away, and I rejoiced as she grew stronger and more capable as she was forced into a role she didn’t want.

Reviews of other books by Catherine Fisher:
Book Two of the Oracle Prophecies:  The Sphere of Secrets

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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