Friday, August 27, 2010

REVIEW OF "DARK ORACLE" by Alayna Williams

by Alayna Williams
June 2010
Mass Market Paperback
336 pages | $7.99
ISBN: 9781439167656

I’d loved the idea of this book on reading a pre-publication blurb, so I’ve been delighted to find it’s a great read. The two threads woven through out of the intuitive arts (Tarot, for example) and hard science (quantum theory, I believe it is) I found especially enjoyable. But there’s much more.

The heroine is a criminal profiler who uses her intuitive skills with The Tarot to do her tracking. She’s thrown together with a handsome government agent whose own belief and skills are hard science, all the way. As they pursue the criminals and are pursued by them through a lively and believable well-paced mystery plot, they are faced with working out feelings for each other across this wide divide of knowledge systems. I have had to deal with this same divide in some of my own relationships and find this, as with everything else in the book, to be well thought through and written. The author even manages to include brief teachings about The Tarot, in a way that is integral to the plot. I do not have enough knowledge to confirm the accuracy of her writings in the quantum (?) science area, but they, too, enhanced the story and engaged my interest and thought. As a Tarot reader, writer, teacher, and designer I can support her views on The Tarot. And I am endlessly curious whether the deck referred to in the book actually exists. If not, it would be an intruiging design project.

However, this book is above all a highly entertaining and intriguing mystery about a scientist who disappears while working on new technology that has possibly terrifying potential. I was intrigued and curious, concerned and delighted, start to finish. I was quite honestly briefly sad when this terrific ride was over! I hope there is a sequel, even sequels. The heroine and those in her life (e.g., a magical centuries old women’s group that protects and preserves wisdom) would offer plenty of fodder for further mysteries within which the heroine could use her profiling skills.

The author’s writing style is a pleasure. I particularly enjoyed the occasional detail, such as a dropped pen rolling across the lurching floor of a helicopter. These sorts of details help create fully habitable scenes for a reader when used judiciously as this author does. I often find dialogue to be an awkward area in mysteries, but this author’s dialogue is “spot on;” fitting to each character. And the characters, even the more peripheral ones, never become cartoon-like but retain credibility. While their relationships all ring true.

But I’ll again emphasize that “Dark Oracle” is most of all an excellent mystery book. I’ve had the thought that in the future this old lady will be able to say “Oh yes, I read her first book and even back then it was quite obvious that she is a skilled imaginative writer.”

Highly recommended read whether you are left brain dominant or a Tarot fan, or neither.

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‘til next time, keep enjoying The Tarot,

[aka: Patricia Kelly]
****If you wish to copy or use any of my writing, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”)**** SEE ALSO: Roswila’s Dream & Poetry Realm for Tarot poetry; Roswila’s Taiga Tarot for taiga (illustrated tanka); and Yahoo DREAMJIN: Group for Dreamku – Haiku-Like Dream Poems.****