THE LIGHT OF THE ORACLE by Victoria Hanley


Age Range: 12 & up
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Stock characterization and puerile romance dull a promising fantasy. Dreamy Bryn, a poor stonecutter’s daughter, expects splendid adventure when she is chosen to serve in the Temple of the Oracle, but her impulsiveness and naïveté lead her afoul of its strict rules and her snobbish fellows. Even after being “wind–chosen” and granted special gifts in prophecy, she makes friends only with other outcasts—especially Kiran, the straightforward acolyte who can speak to animals. But Bryn’s remarkable powers plunge her into the murderous intrigues of both priesthood and nobility, and soon not only her own life, but the fate of the entire kingdom, is imperiled. While setting this in the same world as her earlier efforts, Hanley shows none of their structural complexity or moral conflicts. The rich possibilities of the setting and characters are left unexplored in favor of endless scenes of Bryn being picked on by mean rich girls, Bryn mooning about Kiran’s feelings, Bryn and her friends gossiping, fixing their hair and swooning over popular troubadours. Too little suspense, depth, or wonder, and far too much teen soap opera, make this misfire eminently skippable. (Fantasy. 12+)

Pub Date: May 10th, 2005
ISBN: 0-385-75086-2
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: David Fickling/Random
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2005


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