Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Book of Secrets: The Last Oracle

The Book of Secrets by Melissa McShane is the first novel in The Last Oracle series.  Helena Davies is interviewing for a job at Abernathy’s, a local disorganized bookstore.  She is shocked when Nathaniel Briggs hires her and asks for her to start immediately after signing a handwritten contract.  Helena is typing (on a typewriter) labels to mail out catalogues when a customer enters the store looking for Mr. Briggs. Malcolm Campbell is astonished that Helena was hired to work in the store.  Helena goes searching for Mr. Briggs and discovers him dead from a stab wound in the basement.  Who would want to harm Mr. Briggs?  Malcolm must explain to Helena that Abernathy’s is no mere bookstore.  It is a living oracle that provides prophecies.  Helena, as the new custodian (she signed the contract) is tasked with finding the right book to answer the question put to the oracle by Wardens.  Abernathy’s is an important tool in helping them fight the invaders in the Long War (information overload for Helena).  Magic is real, and creatures invade from outside their reality to obtain it.  Unfortunately, Mr. Briggs died before training Helena and the instruction book to assist her is missing.  Malcolm is not the only person surprised by Helena’s appointment.  Judy Rasmussen has been training for twelve years and wants Helena to abdicate (and she is quite pushy about it).  Helena needs to learn her new position while fulfilling her customer’s needs, deal with Judy’s hostile attitude, discover who murdered Mr. Brigg’s before the police arrest her for the crime, and evade the deadly creatures who seem intent on attacking her (that’s not good).  Despite everything that is happening, Helena believes she might have finally found her place. 

The Books of Secrets is well-written and engaging.  It has fast pace that will keep readers on their toes.  I liked the author’s unique take on magic. I would say more but I do not want to spoil it for you.  I did appreciate that the author did not dump out all the details at once.  It develops throughout the story, but readers are not given everything in this first installment (we are left wanting to know more).  The creature’s descriptions are enough to give a person nightmares (it did not stop me from reading though).  Abernathy’s is a fascinating place.  The author’s concept for the store was creative and multi-layered.  Melissa McShane did a remarkable job at creating a one-of-a-kind world for her characters (and for us).  I did feel that the characters needed more development and backstory.  I wanted to know more about Helena’s upbringing and Malcolm’s background.     I was also not a fan of Viv, Helena’s best friend.  I found her annoying, overbearing, and immature.  As Helena’s best friend, she is the logical choice for a sidekick.  I just wish the author had tweaked her personality a bit.  I am glad that The Book of Secrets is just the first book in The Last Oracle series.     For a delightful story containing magic, murder, mayhem and mystery grab a copy of The Book of Secrets.

Thank you for visiting today.  I will return on Monday with my review of Color Me Murder by Krista Davis.  I hope that you have a relaxing and enjoyable day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader  

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