Light of the Oracle

Light of the Oracle

4.6 31
by Victoria Hanley
     
 

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Bryn is the daughter of a humble stone-cutter. So no one is more surprised than she when the Master Priest seeks her out to become a student at the famous Temple of the Oracle; a training school for future priests and priestesses.

But her innately gifted nature proves a threat to the evil embedded within the Temple, and Bryn encounters unimaginable danger. Is…  See more details below

Overview

Bryn is the daughter of a humble stone-cutter. So no one is more surprised than she when the Master Priest seeks her out to become a student at the famous Temple of the Oracle; a training school for future priests and priestesses.

But her innately gifted nature proves a threat to the evil embedded within the Temple, and Bryn encounters unimaginable danger. Is she able to struggle with the unknown and to save the whole world from untold misery? Or will the powers of darkness succeed?


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Continuing what PW called "a romantic royal tale of intrigue in the tradition of King Arthur," which began with The Seer and the Sword, The Light of the Oracle by Victoria Hanley centers on 15-year-old Bryn. This stonecutter's daughter finds that she has certain talents that threaten evildoers who would put the Temple of the Oracle in peril-and she predicts the demise of Lord Morlen, last seen in The Healer's Keep. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT
An absolutely beautiful cover illustration of Bryn, the main character, will make this attractive to YA readers. It is a fantasy, set in a world not our own, yet it boils down emotionally to a boarding school story; okay, with psychic studies as the main curriculum. Bryn is a stonecutter's daughter (low class) and she is chosen to attend a special school where she immediately becomes the object of hatred from another new student, Clea, a princess. Yes, Clea is smart and talented (psychically), but Bryn is even better—more reason for Clea's jealousy and bullying. The headmaster (Master Priest of the Oracle) is being corrupted slowly, compromising his principles to retain power. He seeks to destroy any of his young students whose gifts of prophecy are strong enough to threaten his own position. Therefore, the story becomes a plot of rebellion as gifted students, including Bryn and Kiran, the prophet she loves, undermine the power of the Master Priest and rid the Temple of the Oracle of corruption. There are chases, a beautiful horse, a loyal dog, friends willing to die for the good of all, and ideas about dreams, meditation, and prophecy that are New Age compatible. I have not read the companion books, but looking over the reviews of those two volumes, there doesn't seem to be a strong enough connection that would prevent this book from standing on its own. (Companion to The Seer and the Sword and The Healer's Keep). KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2005, Random House, David Fickling, 312p. map., Ages 12 to 18.
—Claire Rosser
Children's Literature
Bryn, daughter of a lowly stonecutter, catches the attention of Renchald, High Priest of the Temple, when he notes her ability to "see what others miss." Chosen to come and live in the Temple of the Oracle, Bryn still faces a hard life as those who are from less highly-connected or poor families are taken advantage of by those with more likely connections. But Bryn has gifts that make her unique to the Temple, as does her friend, Kiran, whose ability to talk to animals makes him the Temple horse-trainer. But it is Bryn's courage to support the exiled Selid—a seer whose visions threatened Renchald's power—that forces her to choose between the Temple and her friends, between a sure future and one shadowed by doubt. As she struggles to find answers, she is further plagued by the Clea, whose power derives from the god of death. Clea's goal is to curse Bryn in order to control her. This is a strong fantasy novel from an author with a clear sense of her audience and a masterful control of where the plot and the characters need to go within the pages of the story. Recommended. 2005, David Fickling Books, Ages 12 to 16.
—Jean Boreen, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-This companion novel to The Seer and the Sword (2000) and The Healer's Keep (2002, both Holiday House) stands very well on its own. Bryn, a poor stonecutter's daughter, is recruited to become a handmaiden in the Temple of the Oracle. There she will be tutored in the ways of prophecy and might possibly be chosen as a priestess. Entering the Temple at the same time is Clea, a spoiled rich girl who becomes Bryn's nemesis. Kiran, a horse trainer who can communicate with animals and is a priesthood candidate, is immediately attracted to Bryn. To be a priest or priestess, one must first be chosen by a bird. Clea is "bird chosen" by a vulture, which gives her the power to cast curses. Bryn, however, is chosen, not by a bird, but by the wind, which means that her powers of prophecy are great. Intrigue and treachery abound within the Temple grounds. Characters are fully good or evil; the bad guys are mean and hateful just because they can be. In the landscape of this kingdom, there is an extensive pantheon of gods that ally themselves with the mortals and intervene in earthly events. Dreams and visions symbolically reveal the complex inner workings of the characters' minds. When an exiled priestess finally unravels the evil plotting of the Master Priest and his henchmen, the story builds to an exciting climax. This is a fast-paced, well-written fantasy in which adventure and suspense take center stage, with just a touch of romance for good measure.-Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
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 naivete 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+)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307537713
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
03/25/2009
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
192
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

"You are this girl's parents?" The priest's voice cut through all the murmurs around him.
"Yes, sir." Nora's face hardened. "Whatever she's done, please forgive her. She doesn't know what she's about."
"She has done nothing to offend. I have come to visit her parents. If you would be so good as to receive me into your home, I will speak with you and your daughter. Alone." He gave the last word only a small emphasis, but the knot of men and boys began to unravel and move back toward the quarry. Astonishing. Bryn had never seen a man with such power.
"Our house is close by, Your Honor, but we have no stables, only one stall," said Simon, looking anxiously at the mounted soldiers grouped behind the priest.
"I understand." The priest dismounted. He nodded to Bolivar, who leaped from his own horse and then lifted Bryn down from the mare.
Bryn walked with Bolivar after the priest, who followed her parents down the path worn smooth by generations of stonecutters. The rest of the procession stayed silently behind. She looked up only when they came near the cottage where she lived. It had been her home for fifteen years, but now she imagined seeing it for the first time, and the sagging porch and patched walls stood out glaringly.
The priest stooped to go through the door. Bolivar remained outside, glaring vigilantly across the scarred land.
Inside, Simon dragged forth the good chair for their guest. Nora prepared tea while Bryn stood watching. Nora set forth the white porcelain cup decorated with painted violets that had belonged to her grandmother; the cup Bryn and her brothers were never allowed to touch.
"Sorry I have no sugar, Your Honor," Nora said.
"No need. I never take sugar in my tea." The priest gestured with his ring for them to sit. Bryn sank onto the bench beside the old wooden table, across from her parents. "You know who I am?" he asked.
"Master Priest?" Simon breathed, bowing again from where he sat.
The priest inclined his head. "Yes. You may call me Renchald."
Renchald. Bryn heard Dai's voice in her mind, cracked and thin with age and wine, telling her that name. "I was long gone from the Temple, my dear, when Renchald rose to be Master Priest." Bryn stared at the tall, clean-shaven man sitting so upright in her family's one good chair, his robes gleaming with gold, his green eyes inscrutable. His shoulders weren't as broad as her father's nor his chest as deep, but somehow he exuded great strength. Strands of silver threaded the dark hair at his brow; his long fingers gripped the porcelain cup firmly. The Master Priest of the Temple of the Oracle sitting in a stonecutter's cottage, drinking ordinary tea? Why?
"This journey I'm on," he said, "includes the purpose of finding new handmaids to serve in the Temple of the Oracle. As you may know, these handmaids and the male acolytes who also study there receive the best education in Sorana. Some handmaids progress to the rank of priestess." He paused. "Your daughter would be suitable to become a handmaid."
Bryn nearly choked on her tea. Sweat ran over Simon's face, as if he labored in the sun instead of sitting in the cool of a stone cottage. The skin around Nora's eyes jumped as though bitten by unseen insects.
"I don't see how that can be, sir," Nora protested. "The girl is nothing but a dreamer. Not good for anything but talking with the air, idling about in the woods with nothing to show for her hours away."
Bryn opened her mouth to say she knew better than to talk with the air, but Renchald spoke first. "Come now, madam. I have been Master Priest for more than a decade. Do you believe that I am mistaken?"
Bryn's mother shook her head, her narrow face whitening as she looked at the floor.
"Those who serve the Oracle see what others miss," the Master Priest went on. "A child born to such a calling is often thought to be a dreamer."
Bryn swallowed more tea, gulping back a hundred questions.
"Can she read or write?" Renchald asked.
"Why would the daughter of a stonecutter learn to read?" Simon answered mildly.
"The daughter of a stonecutter," Renchald answered, "might have no reason to learn. But a priestess of the Oracle must be able to read the messages of kings and queens." He turned to Bryn. "Would you like to study such things?"
Bryn swished the dregs of her tea and then set down her cup. "I can read and write," she said. She met her mother's outraged eyes. "Dai taught me." Without the Master Priest's presence, Nora would surely have shouted in anger. Bryn addressed Renchald, explaining, "The village priest. Dai."
"Ah." If he knew of Dai, he didn't say. "How long has he been teaching you?"
"For many years. I've read all his books several times over."
"Ah," he said again, and a spark of unreadable feeling flickered in his eyes.
"I don't understand." Simon sounded as if someone had told him the quarry where he'd worked all his life was not a place to cut stone after all.
"The gods keep their ways hidden," Renchald answered.
The gods. Ever since Bryn could remember, her mother had called upon the gods, asking why they had made her bear five sons, then finally given her the daughter she had prayed for, but such a daughter! A girl who burned the supper if asked to mind it, who flitted about the fields and woods, coming home with sap stains on her threadbare clothes and foolish lies on her lips--lies about people she had never met and places she had never been. Why, Nora had demanded, would the gods send her such a child?
Her father asked the gods for their blessing every morning and evening, his prayers a tumbling mutter that meant little to Bryn. And though Dai had taught her the rudiments of the pantheon, most often he spoke of the gods as if they were malicious tricksters who would trip a man on his path for the pleasure of seeing him stumble. "Winjessen is a sly one, but it's Keldes you must look out for--Keldes wants more subjects for his kingdom of the dead. . . ."
Bryn wanted to ask Renchald what made him think she could be a handmaid in the Temple. But he was speaking to her parents, his ring glinting as he raised a hand. "Do you give your consent for Bryn to travel to Amarkand? There she will be with others of her kind. She will serve the gods."

From the Hardcover edition.

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Meet the Author

Victoria Hanley is the author of The Seer and the Sword and The Healer’s Keep. She lives in Colorado with her husband and two children.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Light of the Oracle 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Mia Cook More than 1 year ago
I will never tire of reading this book :)
SandraPants More than 1 year ago
This fantasy by Victoria Hanley is wonderful and comforting to read. It reminds me of some of my favorite 80's fantasy movies like: The Neverending Story, The Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal. I would recommend it to any fans of those movies, YA fantasy in general or anyone who thinks it would be cool to be able to communicate with animals. :) I hope the rest of her books are released on the NookColor soon so I can read them as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is this book have anything to do with Violet Wings
LivieLH More than 1 year ago
If you're a fantasy and romance lover then you will love this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Have anything to do with Violet Wings? Bes book evera
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written. After I finished the book, I couldn't stop thinking about the characters, they were so realistic! The plot is unique and not hackneyed at all, which is getting more common in YA fiction. This was the first I had read of Victoria Hanley, and I was not disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's the classic story of a young girl who is given an amazing chance...except this time with an unforgettable twist! Bryn has a little of every one of us inside her and she captures the hearts of readers everywhere.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book a long time ago, ok more like last year, but I found it totally awesome. See before I read this book I read Victoria Hanley's other books (which were great also)and I liked them so much I decided to see if she had written any other books, appearently she had. I like how Bryn was characterized and how this book had action, magic, fantasy, and romance! I love romance! You should definately read this book!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was awesome. That's all I have to say. Hehe.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i absolutely loved this book! i read it about two years ago and it still has stayed with me! it ties beautifully with the others by victoria hanley and it's own story is strong and demanding of attention my question: is there more?
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a really good book , usually I don't read fantasy books but this book had everything from action to adventure even romance. I recommend this to anyone who wants a good read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Light of the Oracle, a fantasy by Victoria Handley, is about a young adult growing up with a special talent she can see the future. Thought by the town, and mainly her mother, a wild and crazy child, Bryn has always felt singled out, separate from the rest. Separate, that is until one day she runs in front of the Master Priest¿s horse while following a strange piece of floating thistledown. The Master Priest, instead of seeing her as ¿the silly dreamer¿, he realizes her talent and asks her to join the Temple of the Oracle. Eager to leave the village, she quickly accepts not knowing the challenges she is yet to face. But as she enters the Temple, so does the wicked, power-hungry Clea. Almost immediately, rivalry swarms between the two girls. As time passes, it soon becomes time for the bird-choosing festival, were a twist of fate leads Bryn to be chosen, not by a bird, but by the wind. One of the highest, and most sacred power, wind chosen receive the power to control the wind, only to be crippled by a curse. Consequently enough, Clea is chosen by one of the most feared birds, a vulture. Controlled by Keldes, the God of death vulture chosen were given the gift of casting curses. Seeing her advantage, Clea quickly curses Bryn, forces the wind to leave her. Distraught and empty inside, Bryn is forced to standby and watch as the Temple¿s powers crumbles, powerless to stop it... Jam-packed with adventure, fantasy, magic, and a bit of romance, The Light of the Oracle is perfect for anyone who loved, Pendragon, Harry Potter, or Handley¿s two other books: The Seer and the Sword, and The Healer¿s Keep. I loved this book, not only because I love Handley¿s writings, but also for its captivating plot and extraordinary style of writing. As the book progresses, tension and excitement builds up in the Temple, until the climatic end that you would never expect. ¿I¿m afraid the wind has unchosen me. I don¿t hear its whispers anymore, don¿t feel it lifting my hair or brushing against my face. It¿s all stillness now.¿ Bryn says this after Clea has cursed her, giving an excellent example of Handley¿s vivid writing. Her style of writing keeps you going right up to the last page you want to find out how the book ends, but you never want the book to end. It is a classic ¿huddled up in your bed with a flash light¿ all-nighter. This book raised the issue that when someone has power, most of the time, they abuse it. When the Master Priest and Clea joined together, they tried to overpower and control the Temple, bringing down anyone in their way. I agreed with the author because in most cases, this is true. Take for example Hitler. Since he had power over thousands of people with his great speaking skills, he tried to take over the world, wiping out everyone in his way. Though a few bumpy spots here and there, all in all, The Light of the Oracle is a great book with superb plot and, I say, one of the best writing styles of all fantasy books. This book is definitely another great success for Handley.