BOOK REPORT for Night of Pan (The Oracle of Delphi Trilogy, #1) by Gail Strickland

Cover Story: Woke Up Like This

BFF Charm: Caution

Swoonworthy Scale: 1

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Talky Talk: The Will of the Gods

Bonus Factor: Greek History

Relationship Status: Let’s Hit the Books Together

 Night of Pan

Cover Story: Woke Up Like This

The illustrated cover depicts a scene about three-quarters into the book—no spoilers!—but without knowing that, you’d be forgiven if you thought the girl had major bed-of-roses-head. I can’t say I love the font, but it does give the viewer an additional clue that this book is set in ancient Greece.

The Deal:

It’s 480 BCE, and the Persian king Xerxes is on the move, adding to his empire. Fifteen-year-old Thaleia is having visions—screaming spiders, Athens falling, blood everywhere—not exactly of warm and fuzzy stuff, and it all started when she encountered the god Pan in the forest.

Thaleia knows the gods have plans for her, but what chance does a 15-year-old girl have against her family, her betrothed, the priests of Apollo and the massive Persian army? Can she possibly save Greece, or have the gods fated her to die trying?

BFF Charm: Caution

The problem with being Thaleia’s bff is that priests want to kill her, gods want to use her for their purposes, and the villagers look upon her with distrust. You’ve got to admire a girl who faces her almost-certainly-unpleasant destiny with such bravery and aplomb, but being the oracle means that the people around you are almost certainly in danger. A lot.

Swoonworthy Scale: 1

You know what happens in Ancient Greece? Arranged marriage. You know what’s pretty gross? When a 30-year-old man feels entitled to sample the wares of his 15-year-old soon-to-be-bride. Poor Thaleia.

Talky Talk: The Will of the Gods

Strickland’s prose consists largely of short, staccato sentences and dialogue that evoke the time period. Some modern phrasing slips in occasionally, which can be a bit jarring. Overall, the book feels geared more toward a younger teen audience (12-15) than an older one, particularly because Strickland uses a lot of Greek words and then immediately defines them, whether or not the context already did. This isn’t a negative thing, but it’s definitely meant for someone who may not know anything about ancient Greece.

Bonus Factor: Greek History

I rarely see any YA fiction dealing with this time period, and Strickland does a great job weaving ancient Greek history with mythology. Modern historians suspect oracles (particularly the ones who sat above fissures in the earth) were basically high on fumes or perhaps drugs, which caused their visions, but in this book, the visions are due to being the chosen Pythia.

Casting Call:

Victoria Justice as Thaleia

Jonathan Rhys-Meyers as Pan

Rhys-Meyers is perfect to plan the satyr—his charismatic, intense manner would be well-suited to the horny goat god.

Relationship Status: Let’s Hit the Books Together

Book, you reminded me of my days as a history major, especially my beloved Ancient Mediterranean class. When our date was over, all I wanted to do was dig out my old notes and relive my academic glory days—which is a rare feat. Call me if you ever want to talk about Ovid and complain about the historical inaccuracies in Alexander!

Night of Pan is available now.

Jennie is the leader of the San Francisco FYA book club and an old-school member of the L.J. Smith fandom. When she's not reading or talking about reading, she cooks obsessively, runs an Etsy shop, thrifts for vintage everything, practices law, and resents how much the single season of The Secret Circle sucked.