Science fiction and fantasy
The Oracle's Queen
by Lynn Flewelling
Trust and acceptance is also in short supply for Queen Tamír, who until very recently was Prince Tobin. Now revealed in her true form, she has a lot of work to do to convince her sceptical subjects that she is neither mad nor trying to fool them all with an illusion. She may be the rightful heir to the throne of Skala, but her cousin Korin has declared himself King and calls Tamír a traitor and usurper. As people recover from the aftermath of a devastating battle at Ero, upheaval and uncertainty mean that civil war looks increasingly unavoidable.
Tamír continues to be haunted by Brother, the angry spirit of her murdered twin. He demands revenge, but although she wants him to rest in peace the price of vengeance could be too high.
There's a gentle, if predictable, romantic thread running through this novel as the relationship between Tamír and her squire intensifies. But her abrupt physical changes and her new status come between them and cause them both confusion.
The atmosphere at Korin's camp reeks of fear and paranoia as the would-be king is swayed by the poisonous influence of the wizard Niryn. Niryn is both ambitious and cruel, and his brutality leads to a few of the most violent and graphic scenes this novel has to offer. As a result this isn't suitable reading for children, in spite of the youth of the main character.
The Oracle's Queen is an intricate story, peopled with a wide array of characters. Perhaps there are too many, because sometimes it is hard to remember what distinguishes some of the minor characters. Nevertheless this is an immediately absorbing story which is by turns tense, romantic, poignant and thrilling. Tamír is likeable and easy to sympathise with, although she is sometimes a bit too good to be true, brave and dutiful in the extreme. In all it's a satisfying and moving end to the trilogy that takes you to all the places a good fantasy novel should.
If you like this, try:Last of the Wilds by Trudi Canavan
The second episode in the Age of the Five introduces new characters and cultures to the series.
Review © Ros Jackson
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