The Oracle Betrayed Book Review

They might not know what the future holds, but they know they hold it in their hands.

— Amazon Book Description

Book 3: The Day of the Scarab

The Oracle Betrayed by Catherine Fisher

This is the story of Mirany, a young girl of perhaps sixteen or so years, who is part of the Nine, the priestesses who care for the oracle of the God and the God-on-earth, the Archon. Mirany is a shy girl, content with being a mere Embroider to the God, but a terrible drought has fallen on the Two Lands and Mirany can no longer hide in the shadows. She is chosen by Hermia, the High Priestess to be Bearer of the God. The High Priestess orders that the old Archon be killed, saying that it is the will of the God and the will of the people– and the old Archon must comply. But as Mirany brings the bowl that holds his death (a scorpion) near to him, he whispers to her that it is all just play– that Hermia no longer hears the words of the God, or no longer listens to His wishes anymore. When the Archon dies, a new Archon will be chosen and the current God-on-earth implores Mirany to find the true heir, or else lose the world she knows forever.

From the moment the old Archon dies, the story kicks off and it was quite fun to try and predict good guys and bad guys and plot twists and I was happy to find that I was not alway right. There is a lot of action, but its not battle scenes. It’s intrigue, it’s daring and it’s mystery, and fairly suspenseful. Well, the later portion of the book is anyways. The first chapter is can be mightly confusing as it jumps right into the story without a backward glance. I mean, it wasn’t badly written, it’s just sudden. In a way, I suppose that made it interesting. It hooked me, made me want to know further whose these Nine were, what the Archon was, and what was going to happen next.

While the pace keeps going from start to finish (with maybe one or two slow spots in the middle), the writing doesn’t get that jump start. This is Fisher’s first book to be published in the U.S, but I don’t know if it’s her first book. The writing wasn’t horrible or anything. It just…well, let’s just say that Fisher really hits her flow around chapter three. The descriptions and dialogue in the beginning sound a little stilted, but they get better.

Aside from that small writing issue, the book was pretty good. It kept me interested and up. It wasn’t amazing, I wouldn’t go that far, but it had a plot that I hadn’t come across in a while. And I also really liked the setting. I was reading some other reviews and apparently some people were annoyed by the fact that Fisher mishmashes Greek and Egyptian culture, but that didn’t really bother me. I kind of liked it. She took the bare bones of each and then built up on that to create a wonderfully exotic culture that was the perfect pull for me as here is winter and cold and there was hot to the point of death.

The characters were also nice. They weren’t particularly deep, like I was never wondering what side Mirany was one and who Seth really was. But they were interesting to read about. I liked that Mirany was shy. People were also complaining that she wasn’t a strong female lead, but different is good. There are too many strong female leads. Making Mirany shy in the beginning was a way to show how she changed by the end (although she was still a little shy then too).

Seth was a good character as well. He was funny and it was interesting to see how he did certain things because he knew they would make him seem a certain way, or just to annoy people. That made him very human to me. Also, when the true Archon comes into the story (happens pretty early on– I’m not giving anything away) I was delighted by how perfectly childish Fisher made him seem. He was adorable, Alexos was, and I enjoyed reading about his fascination with the world around him.

Another thing that I liked about this book was the beginning of each part. The story had chapters, divided by parts (though they are named after the different “houses” in the book) and at the start of a new part there would be a section written in the God’s voice. Usually it was a page or less, but curiously fascinating all the same.

The book’s end is very open. I won’t say what happens (unless you comment me requesting info), but just that it leaves the story open for continuation in later books.

So my final thoughts? I liked the book. It was entertaining and brought me to a part of the world I rarely get to explore in books and managed to make me want to read the rest of the series (though I skipped book two and went straight onto three which you can read my review of here). Book snobs probably won’t like it, but ye average reader should find some pleasure in reading it. While character depth was sacrificed for plot, it was still well-written and what I consider time well spent.

Ri’s Rating:

QQQ/QQQQQ
3/5


0. Couldn’t get past chapter one for fear of wanting to kill myself. Book induced suicide…

1: Yuck. Ew. Below Average. Probably didn’t even read the middle and skipped to the end.

2. Ok. Would’ve been better if I’d written the ending and everything else.

3. Not bad at all. Very enjoyable. Quite nice. Recommendable.

4. My kind of book. Near ideal, but something was a little off (annoying names, bad ending, that sort of thing).

5. WOW. Makes me wonder why people watch T.V when this is out there. Really liked it. Don’t expect to see this often.

6 and above. What I want my book to be.

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1 Comment

  1. The Day of the Scarab Book Review « The Spotted Mushroom

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