Series: The Last Oracle #1
on February 20th 2018
Also by this author: The Book of Peril
Also in this series: The Book of Peril
Helena Davies just wants a job that will get her out of her parents’ basement. Abernathy’s Bookstore is disorganized, out of the way, and smells funny, but it pays well and promises to at least be interesting. She has no idea how interesting her life will become. By the end of the first day, Helena has a dead boss in the basement, an unexpected promotion, and the news that she is now a part of an endless war against creatures from another reality.
As Abernathy’s newest custodian, Helena is responsible for its secrets, including the most important one: Abernathy’s isn’t just a bookstore. It’s the world’s only living oracle, producing prophecies to help fight the war against alien invaders bent on draining this world of its magic. Helena’s job is to find books to answer questions put to the oracle by the Wardens, fighters in the Long War. It seems simple enough, but Helena’s new job is anything but.
She has allies: her best friend Viv, from whom she has no secrets; Harry and Harriet Keller, elderly magi skilled at uncovering secrets; and the enigmatic Malcolm Campbell, warrior magus and one of the few who have faith in Helena’s abilities. But not everyone is thrilled that an outsider now has charge of one of the world’s most powerful magical entities. Helena must defend herself against the antagonism of Judy Rasmussen, who’d expected to be the next custodian of Abernathy’s, and her father William, powerful leader of the Wardens and someone with an agenda of his own.
Without training, without any knowledge of the magical world, and facing the hostility of those who’d wanted someone else to be Abernathy’s custodian, Helena must navigate the treacherous waters of her new world and find a place for herself within it. But there’s still a murderer on the loose, someone who intended to control Abernathy’s by killing its custodian—and Helena might be next on his list.
I requested the ARC (advanced reading copy) of The Book Of Secrets on NetGalley for an honest review after seeing the cover, and without paying much attention to the description. Book themed stories always interest me, especially if they’re in the fantasy genre. I hoped that this one wouldn’t disappoint me and it didn’t. I finished it in one sitting.
Although I choose this book because of the cover, it’s a little bit deceiving. I was expecting a fairly innocent book, but the story isn’t as nice as the girl on the cover. It’s filled with monstrosities and death. It’s more mature than the girl on the cover.
Helena is an interesting character. At first, I thought she was a bit soft, but early on she already became stronger out of necessity. Maybe a little too fast. She doesn’t seem unsettled after seeing a corpse and she seems quick to get over a murder happening before her eyes. It’s almost as if her feelings are reset within a couple of days. She doesn’t forget, but she doesn’t feel the fear. That would have made her seem more like a real person.
The world McShane created, where there’s a war against invading monster, is one I see more often (in movies, series or games) than read about. It’s refreshing and she created factions with opposing philosophies which both seem legitimate. She did her best to make both sides sympathetic with their take on dealing the invaders.
I rate The Book Of Secrets with 4 stars. It’s a promising story with more than enough elements to like. Don’t judge this book by the innocent cover, because there’s a depth in the story that isn’t visible on the outside.
I’m looking forward to what the next book will bring for Helena.