Light Of The Oracle

Light of the Oracle by Victoria Hanley
David Fickling: Random House, 2005.

"Those who serve the Oracle see what others miss."

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Description

Takes place in the land of Sorana.
Map and glossary included in the book.

Summary

After Bryn nearly runs into the Master Priest's horse while chasing a piece of thistledown in the wind, the Master Priest of the Temple of the Oracle invites her to study at the Temple — to become a handmaiden, an acolyte, and possibly, later, a priestess. Bryn, who is the daughter of a stonecutter, is thrilled at the possibility, and her parents decide to allow her to go.
She joins the entourage of the Master Priest, which includes Nirene and Clea. Clea is a Lord's daughter, very entitled, and causes no end of grief to poor Bryn, mocking her and tormenting her.
On their journey to the temple, the group passes a girl wandering in the desert, parched and rambling. Bryn gives her water, and then is punished for reasons she doesn't understand.
At the temple, Bryn begins her studies, makes friends, and quickly shows her gifts — however, she is mocked and tormented more and more ferociously by Clea and her gang. When at the bird-choosing day Bryn receives the gift of the wind, Clea is infuriated and tricks Bryn into accepting a curse — one that was supported by the Master Priest.
After the curse takes effect, Bryn has trouble with everything — her studies, her prophecies, even her dancing, and she begins to wonder if her life is forever doomed.
Meanwhile, her friend Kiran is paired with Clea and coerced into sharing his prophecies and inner protections. When he tires of this, he convinces Bryn to run away from the Temple with him — but before he can escape, he is captured by the Master Priest's guards and also cursed. But Bryn has been able to cut her curse and rid herself of it and rescues Kiran, and they do escape.
They make it to the home of Selid, a priestess who was thrown out of the Temple for heresy. Together with a few other friends, they plot the downfall of the wicked Master Priest and the salvation of the princess of Sorana.

Characters

Bryn - (15) stonecutter's daughter chosen to be a handmaid at the Temple; wind-chosen
Clea - Lord Errington's daughter, cousin to the Queen; chosen to be a handmaid at the Temple
Dawn - (17+) acolyte, Bryn's duenna; tallest handmaid of the Temple, marries the troubador
Kiran - stableboy at the Temple, good with animals, chosen by a black swan
Nirene - Sendrata of the Handmaids to Master Priest, to the Oracle
Renchild - Master Priest, chosen by gyrfalcon
Selid - chosen by the red cardinal, talented prophetess, favored by Monzapel, sentenced to be left in the desert with no water for heresy
Zorienne - princess of Sorana, prophesied to die

Seven Deities

Ayel - lord of battle
Ellerth - goddess of Earth and creatures
Keldes - ruler of domain of the dead
Monzapel - ruler of intuition; associated with the moon
Solz - god of light
Vernelda - goddess of justice and love
Windjessen - god who presides over travel and learning and thought

Vocabulary

abanya - inner territory and landscape of the mind
duenna - guide and tutor for a first-year handmaid
sendral - a male director of some aspect of the Temple (i.e. Sendral of Horses, etc)
sendrata - a female director of some aspect of the Temple (i.e. Sendrata of the Handmaids, etc)

Birds & Birdgifts

Birds play an important part in this book, as they are the determiners of prophetic gifts and whether a student can progress to the rank of priest or priestess.

  • Swan - gift of spirit-talk with animals
  • Vulture - gift of casting unbreakable curses
  • Black Swan - rarest and most noble of birds, gift of spirit-talk with animals
  • Cardinal
  • Heron
  • Dove
  • Gyrfalcon
  • Spotted Owl - often signifies curiosity
  • Rock Wren

Prequels, Sequels, & Companion Books

Companion book to The Seer and the Sword and The Healer's Keep.

Reviews

I have loved the other two books in this set, and I very much enjoyed this one as well. Action, adventure, romance, magic, good & evil…. What more could you ask for? - esme

Awards & Honors

Colorado Blue Spruce Award Nominee (2006-2007)
ALA's Best Books for Young Adults Nominee (2006)
Kallbacher Klapperschlange Award List (Germany) (2006)
Lonestar Reading List —Try These Too (2006)
Arlington Virginia Department of Libraries TAB Pick (2006)
Infolink Book Evaluation Starred Review (Eastern New Jersey Regional Library District)
Colorado Book Award Finalist (2005)
Teens Connect Great Read (2005)

LC Cataloging Info

Summary: Bryn, the daughter of a humble stone-cutter, is chosen to become a student at the famous Temple of the Oracle, a training school for future priests and priestesses.

{1. Fantasy}

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