fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsurban fantasy book reviews Alayna Williams Dark Oracle 2. Rogue OracleRogue Oracle by Alayna Williams

I have a deep-seated fear of nuclear disaster. If you made a list of Things that Freak Kelly Out, it’d be right up there. I can’t help it — I’m a product of my times. The Chernobyl disaster occurred when I was a child, and I knew just enough about nuclear meltdown to know that it was bad. Really bad. I still remember being sure — but being too afraid to ask and confirm my guess — that the reactor would just keep burning until it destroyed the whole world. When I was older, I learned what radiation could do to a person who wasn’t killed outright, and if anything, that was even more horrifying. I watched large portions of K-19: The Widowmaker with my eyes closed.

So why am I telling you all this? Because when I say that Alayna Williams has written a book that scared the bejabbers out of me (and not in the fun sort of way) and yet made me like it anyway, I want you to know I mean it.

Tara, the tarot-card reading criminal profiler we met in Dark Oracle, here applies her talents to the disappearance of several U.S. spies of the Cold War era, all of whom were involved in a project concerning unsecured nuclear material. She learns that the mystery has its roots in the Chernobyl disaster and that she needs to solve it before a worse calamity is unleashed upon the world. Williams describes many of the real-world effects of the disaster (hence the bejabbers-scaring) and creates one character who was affected by the radiation in a different, more paranormal manner. There’s a great deal of horror, tragedy, and repulsive imagery, and a villain whose acts are unconscionable but whom one can’t help but pity.

Subplots deal with her tenuous relationship with Harry Li, whose job stress has him on the verge of cracking, and on Cassie Magnusson, who is undergoing her training in Delphi’s Daughters. (Additionally, we get a better glimpse of why Tara despises the Pythia so; we learn more about the way she manipulates people for what she perceives to be the greater good.)

Readers who enjoyed the mix of mysticism and science in Dark Oracle will find another good story here. Rogue Oracle may freak you out, gross you out, or both — but even if it does, the compelling plot and the evolving characters make it worth continuing.

Dark Oracle — (2010-2011) Publisher: Can an oracle change the future she sees? Tara Sheridan swore off criminal profiling years ago. By combining Tarot card divination with her own intuition, she narrowly escaped the grasp of a serial killer who left her scarred for life. She put down her cards and withdrew from work and society. Now, Sophia, a member of an ancient secret society connected to the mythic Delphic Oracle, asks Tara to find a missing scientist who has unlocked the destructive secrets of dark energy. Tara resists — she fears reawakening her long-buried talents and blames Sophia’s Daughters of Delphi for the death of her mother. But, grudgingly, she agrees to search for the missing scientist, Lowell Magnusson. Tara travels to Las Alamos National Laboratory, the location of Magnusson’s disappearance. She meets the serious, impatient, and highly attractive Agent Harry Li — and re-encounters her old partner, Richard Corvus. Corvus is now chief of the Special Projects Division, a position Tera might have held, had she notdropped out of investigative work. Corvus considers Tara mentally imbalanced and not to be trusted — but it may be Corvus who is untrustworthy. Tara’s investigation and Tarot cards tell her Magnusson’s daughter, Cassie, may hold the key to her father’s plans, and that they both are in grave danger. Meanwhile, Corvus and the Daughters of Delphi have their own plans… and the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

Alayna Williams 1. Dark Oracle 2. Rogue OracleAlayna Williams 1. Dark Oracle 2. Rogue Oracle


  • Kelly Lasiter

    KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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