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July 19, 2015

The Oracle #ReadAlong & #Giveaway: Chapters 12-22 @KBHoyle_author

by Donna Huber

So what did you think about the middle of the book?

A photo posted by Donna (@girl_who_reads) on
We left off last week with Tellius's whispered words about The Oracle, but as we start chapter 12 things look to be pretty calm and perhaps Darcy will forget about what Tellius said. We get to see the animals again as the six are allowed out on the castle grounds.

As these books are for young adults, I have wondered if the reference to Mr. Ed was lost on the target audience.

I really liked this passage on page 116 (remember I'm reading the 2010 edition so page numbers may be different if you are reading the 2012 edition).
She still didn't fully understand the Alitheian concept of Pateros: the mysterious bear/eagle/stag creature that had created all of Orodreos, brought humans from her world to this world, and gifted all of humanity with hereditary magic; the character who had created the first gateways, given humans the ability to create them but had forbidden them to do so, and the one who was apparently in control of all of their destinies. The Alitheians regarded him as being some sort og god, she knew, and of course he must be if he could do all that, but she still didn't know quite what to think if him herself. He was good, she knew that; he had saved her life last year, after all, but why was he so distant from them? Her life sure would be a whole lot easier if he would appear once for them and let them ask him a few questions.
It serves the purpose of providing some background reminders - things we learned in The Six. But it also poses interesting questions that people ask of the Christian God. I know that Hoyle was inspired by and wanted to pay tribute to C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. In his series, he weaved the Christian message into his story. And in much the same way Hoyle has done that here. As with the Chronicles of Narnia, I wonder how many people missed this message.

Chapter 12 also propels us into the meat of the story as a man falls from the sky.

What do you think about the man having "Follow Me" etched into his skin?

It kind of goes with the thought I had last week about how time really works at Cedar Cove (I'm going to refer to the world the six come from as Cedar Cove as it will be easier to delineate between the two worlds) and what happens to Colin when the six goes through the gateway. Rubidius has an explanation of the veil between the worlds being thin and that someone on Alitheia's side can see into Cedar Cove.

Do you think Rubidius is right?

Does that mean they have a traitor amongst them still as there are wards and protections around the point with the gateway?

Any hope we had that Darcy had learned her lesson last year goes up in smoke in chapter 14. At least she did think about ask Sam to look at the book so I guess that is some progress, too bad she didn't think to wait for Sam before trying out the Invocation.

Though still younger than Darcy, Tellius shows much more maturity. He wants to invoke the Oracle, presumably he read the same passages as Darcy (maybe even more thoroughly), but he didn't just try it out as far as we know. Instead he sought out wise counsel. I think this is when I first started falling in love with Tellius (and it sounds kind of wrong for me to say that since he's 12 and I'm an adult, but I mean it in the if I was a kid kind of way - I hope that makes sense).

At at least people know the Darcy screwed up early on so they can help her with it. And she gets the individualized attention she was whining about last year in regards to her magic and talent. But in Darcy's defense 14 is an awful young age to feel like your life is planned for you and you have no control of anything.
This is just getting worse and worse, Darcy thought miserably. She was achy in mind, body, and spirit and beginning to wish that she had not come back to Alitheia, but that wasn't really up to her in the first place. it just seems like my whole life has been laid out for me, and when I try to do something to regain some measure of control over it, I end up in this situation! page162
I think the first time that I read The Oracle I  didn't really know what to think about Rubidius's oracle riddle. And alchemy was a pretty foreign topic to me at the time. What did you think about it?

We get a bit of levity as they prepare for their journey and the boys realizing they should have kept active while they were home. We see growth in all the six in chapter 17. No one is shutting anyone out and they are all being more understanding. I liked these gradual growths in maturity and the bonds of their friendship.

Darcy's also going to get some combat training. Since it is a female nark doing the training and knowing they don't let human girls train, I'm assume most people are against these lessons. Did you think that was what Veli and Vesa were arguing about? Or do to you think it is about what he doesn't tell Yahto? We get a hint that something isn't quite right when Sam is inspecting the 12.

And there are DRAGONS! in Alitheia. Though no emotions are really contributed to Darcy when Voitto tells her there are giant lixards, I'm pretty sure there was at least a hint of excitement in her voice.

I found it kind of funny that an alarm clock came out of Sam's bag. I guess it was better than a nark coming around the clock to make sure Darcy took the potion.

I love the interaction between Darcy and Tellius in chapter 18 as she is about to head out to find the oracle. While Darcy is being all sarcastic about it, I think Tellius is genuine in his regret.

If you have been following the read along discussion you know I have wondered when Tellius fell in like with Darcy (cause they are too young to call it love). Does he care for her because she is suppose to help save Alitheia and we know Tellius is devoted to his people? Or is he just a nice guy that cares for people in general? Or does he care for her because he knows it is his duty (we know he takes his role as the future leader seriously) as she is to be his wife? Or is there a part of him that is already falling in love with Darcy? What do you think?

Did anyone else feel uneasy as we are introduced to the traveling party? My main thought was who isn't going to come back.

I'm pretty sure Sam was beside herself when the bone whistle came out of her pouch and it was for Perry. I don't remember what the note Lewis gave to Darcy and I don't know why she hasn't read it yet. I would have pulled it out the first stop we had.

We get some more background on the Alitheia and the royal line. And a bit about where Tellius and Cadmus were hiding during the first book (we haven't seen much of Cadmus this book). It is hard to believe that they are the last three in the royal line. Why hasn't Tullin married and had children?

And what is up with all the T names. I think that is why I have trouble keeping some of the character straight. In my head I'm always confusing Torrin and Tullin.

And my lack of fantasy/mythology knowledge shows a little bit in this chapter. I had to look up Charon to figure out who that was. And I kind of think they should have had Sam come along. What if this ferryman isn't trust worthy? Veli just finished telling Darcy about the unchanged. What if he is one?

Every time we get to know one of the 12 better I worry he'll be the one to die. So far I'm most worried about Terra, Badru, and Tokala. Hoyle has given us enough details about them that we now care about the character so their death would have a bigger impact.

And then there is the whole business between Yahto and Veli. I love the way Hoyle made these characters. We automatically fall in love with Veli and probably feel like giving Yahto the cold shoulder. It really makes what happens later in the series so impactful.

And if I didn't already love Veli this exchange would have had me falling in love with him,
"But why was it so important for you to come that you would risk destroying your reputation as a nark?" Darcy asked insistently.
"Why - you, my friend."
Who else groaned when we read Darcy is practicing her talent to pass the time? Another case of not thinking through the consequences or maybe she doesn't really understand the danger they are in.

We end up this week's discussion with quite the thrill - the 12 are being chased by a pack of wolves and then there is the strange darkness that engulfed them in the valley.

While at this point I don't care much for Yahto his speech in chapter 21 is quite epic and totally called for. He hits the nail on the head with the following and I hope Darcy thinks about what he says.
"You really think this is all about you, don't you? he retorted. "it's always been about you - who you have to marry, what your future looks like, what makes you happy. You're so absorbed with yourself that you don'y even think before trumpeting your talent about to the entire animal kingdom!
So what did you think about these chapters? What were some your favorite moments?

Next week we will finish up The Oracle.

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  1. T-names... ahhh! Guilty. Authors DO tend to get into ruts with names that sound too similar (it's true! Happens all the time). I happened to find a lot of names I liked for TGC that started with T, but in my defense, many of them were necessary because they meant what I needed them to mean for the characters (eg. Terra = Earth, Tokala = Fox). I was falling into an E pattern with BREEDER, and my editors advised me to change a couple of the names to shake things up a bit. :)