The Light of the Oracle is another older book I decided to give some love and attention to, as it is one of the most beautiful fantasy stories I have ever read. It is listed as a companion to Victoria Hanley’s other books, The Seer and the Sword and The Healer’s Keep, both also incredible works. Last year was Light of the Oracle’s tenth birthday, it being originally released in 2005. I was in sixth grade, and was immediately bewitched by the haunting tale of Bryn, an oracle with an affinity for Wind.
In this world Hanley has created, oracles are chosen in a ceremony by a certain kind of bird, but to be chosen by Wind itself is a very rare and dangerous gift. Bryn must overcome many trials, betrayals, and even a curse, while also attempting to keep certain individuals from taking advantage of the Temple and using its power for evil. Her story is one of love and endurance, as she falls for Kiran, a swan-chosen stable boy who can speak to animals. Everyone seems to be out to get Bryn, and she has to really struggle to survive and succeed at the Temple of the Oracle.
The story speaks to me on many levels, and has since I was a child. I have reread it many times, as it is one of my favorite tales. Bryn has a certain innocence about her, even in the end of the story she retains a purity and a curiosity that most fifteen year olds have long since grown out of. It is one of the most appealing things about her. She is also very clever and humble, two qualities that are often lost in teenagers. Looking back, I think this book taught me a lot on what personality traits I wanted to nurture within my own life.
I give this book 4 out of 4, as it is beautifully written and easy to read, the plot is wonderful, the characters are dynamic and each one is unique, and the setting is vividly described. The only negative thing I could say about this story is that there is a large number of struggles that Bryn has to go through, which has caused me a quite a bit of anxiety because Hanley gets you to become so emotionally invested in Bryn as a person and character. That is not really a negative thing, is it? Hanley’s skill as a writer really wraps you up in Bryn’s plight, getting you to care about it as if it was your own struggle. I highly recommend this book to readers young and old who enjoy fantasy. It’s a fantastic, timeless story.