When I finally picked up Oracle, which sat in my to be read pile for months, I was all geared up for what I thought would be a ponderous read. Nowhere on the blurb does it scream “sexy, fun, and emotionally engaging.” Instead it says things like “well plotted, well-written, important fiction, destined to become a literary treasure.” I figured it would be a meaningful book but unfairly concluded that it would most likely be filled to the brim with yawn-inducing passages. I’m pleased to report that I was terribly mistaken.
When we first meet the heroine, Jane, she is a self-described computer geek who resides in Boston in the not too distant future, 2012. On her way to celebrate Halloween she is outfitted in a silly getup, complete with orange sneakers, when her world comes to a screeching halt and she is catapulted 200 years into the future.
She awakens in a confusing new world and finds a gorgeous man executing some sort of ritual over her. He explains that he is King Daken, a healer, and has simply performed a communication spell so that they can understand each other. His baser instants take over and he ogles her odd but well-fitting apparel and is instantly attracted. It’s not long, though, before he becomes exasperated by her refusal to obey his commands and by her lack of knowledge of simple survival skills. When she injures herself, after ignoring what she (and I) thought was ridiculous advice, he is forced to heal her in what turns into a very erotic scene. This healing forges an unbreakable bond between the pair, one that serves to intensify their previous amorous feelings towards one another.
Despite their potent feelings for each other, they have opposite beliefs and agendas. I’m going to be purposely vague here because I refuse to ruin the plot. I’ll only say that Jane has landed on a pacifist, magical society that has not discovered guns and modern weaponry and she is determined to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. When she is given a frighteningly powerful position in society, Daken decides to use it to his advantage to wage a war against the enemies that have slain his family.
The conflict is gut-wrenchingly strong and the point of view for both characters is well done. It is easy to empathize with the pair of them. The plot is action-filled, but amazingly, the relationship does not suffer because of it. The couple remain together throughout the majority of the book and their sexual tension and amusing banter make the book a real page turner.
Here’s a silly but fun snippet typical of their interactions and little miscommunications:
“Uh, would now be a good time to mention I’ve never ridden a horse before?
For a moment, Daken’s jaw went slack. “By the Father, woman, do you know nothing?”
“Hey, Einstein’s theory of Relativity never required me to sit on top of some shaggy monolith. But I’m a modern woman,” she said more to herself than him. “I can adapt. I mastered step aerobics. I can lick this thing.”
“We bathe the beasts. We do not lick them!” Daken’s indignation was almost palpable.
Daken is an alpha hero, no doubt about it. Fortunately he is smart enough to realize that only a strong, outspoken and intelligent woman like Jane will be able to keep his testosterone under control and be able to live happily ever after with him. These two people were made for each other and it is apparent almost immediately.
This magical book is flawed by an impulsive, totally off-the-wall decision made by the heroine midway through the story. This incident does cause her to seriously question her prior stance on many things, including the hero. But because the decision comes so suddenly, with no thought to future consequences, it makes the heroine appear horribly naive and foolish. Luckily she is able to quickly locate her missing brain and this episode comes to a rapid end. The romance then promptly gets back on track.
Despite the one absurd plot twist, I can recommend Oracle to anyone looking for an amusing, fast paced, emotionally involving love story. It does contain some frightening possibilities about the future but most of the ugliness takes place off stage, and, yes, it is an important story. But it also manages to be a ton of fun too.