by Kathy Davie
Fourth in the Elder Races paranormal romance series. This one only peripherally involves Dragos Cuelebre. The couple focus is on Grace Andreas, the Oracle, and Prince Khalil, a Djinn of the House Marid. This particular story is based in Louisville.
In terms of a deserving person getting what they deserve, this story does abound in them. However, there were too many quirks to make this as enjoyable as the earlier stories (the first one, Dragon Bound, still holds the record for best and most interesting). Harrison’s obsession with the Oracle’s moon would have been of greater interest if we’d ever learned just why it was so important. Instead, there are tiny hints and implications and my best guess is that it’s sort of like a full moon for shifters. At one point, Harrison says it’s a Powerful time for prophecies. Anybody got any better ideas??
I can’t believe the witches in Louisville are so self-centered and short-sighted! I do not blame Grace for her later actions one tiny bit. Louisville doesn’t deserve her.
Ohhh, I just love how Khalil thinks of the kids as baby birds. Trusting, singing, chirping. How he reconsiders the Djinn belief about tiny human lives.
And this is just too romantic…
I started counting time for you.
I want to change who I am for you. …
I did not know I needed grace until I met you
It was interesting how Harrison created the interaction between Grace and Khalil. On his side, life is all about the bargain and keeping one’s word and he’s not one bit torn about the advantages Grace is giving him with her lack of bargaining skills. He believes she needs “to learn to pay better attention…[to her]…bargaining and negotiation…skills. But he does feel a bit of compassion, just enough to help her along the way. On the whole, the storyline is good, but the execution of it is a bit juvenile.
It’s too funny how rude Grace is to all these powerful beings who are coming around to her front door. Julian, Cuelebre, Khalil. Then Grace uses that rudeness, that power to confront the Oracle herself. A power play that changes everything for Grace. That answers so many questions.
As much as I love that Grace has taken the power unto herself, it was just too easy. Too simplistic. It takes away from the lovely interactions between Grace and Khalil as she teaches him about family, about friendship, about love. Then there was that whole moon episode. Sure, I can understand Grace freaking out, but, oh, man, did she have to go on and on and on about it??
It’s not her fault. Dammit, it is not Grace’s fault. That damn Djinn simply showed up with everyone else. And now he won’t leave! AND, he keeps interfering with the children. Turning into a cat, then a doggie big enough for the kids to ride. Who knows what he’ll do next. However Khalil has already given his word that the children will be safe and he is not leaving. The condition in which these children are forced to live. The neglect of their aunt. It is simply impossible for Khalil to leave these defenseless children to this woman.
Talk about miscommunication.
Then there’s Grace’s situation as Oracle and the only remaining adult member of the family. Grace was in that car accident with her sister and her husband and has only recently been released from a long stay in the hospital. The family fortunes have dwindled horribly low and Grace has no idea how to care for the children, pay the bills, get a job, deal with her physical and emotional pains. And play Oracle. The witch community is only grudgingly stepping up to help. And petitioners to the Oracle have forgotten what they owe.
Grace will take advantage of Khalil’s presence as he takes advantage of her, but as time goes on, he becomes curious about this woman as he comes to learn more about her and her situation. It’s the children that pull these two completely different people together as Khalil learns more about humans and Grace learns about Djinn. And, shockingly, Khalil begins to call in the favors that are owed him as his “family” builds around him.
Meanwhile, Grace is “calling in” truths. Small incidents are coming into the open and revealing a different tale about the past. The blast reveals many more new truths that will affect the rest of Grace’s life. And her encounter with Phaedra reveals a new power for the Oracle, one that will have more far-reaching effects on Grace, her family, and the Djinn.
Grace Andreas is the Oracle. A position she inherited when her sister and brother-in-law (Petra and Niko) were killed in a car crash just a few months ago. Leaving behind two sweet babies, Chloe and Max. Katherine and John were Petra’s friends and they help care for the children.
Khalil Bane-of-Her-Existence is a Djinn, a prince of the House Marid. A very important Djinn and he is disgusted with this human. Neglectful, untidy…she doesn’t deserve such beautiful children. Phaedra is Khalil’s only child. A damaged child thanks to her mother Lethe’s torture. The love he would lavish on his daughter can be rerouted to these poor children. He also comes down very hard on Rune and Carling for their poor manners and lack of honor (as a result of events in Serpent’s Kiss); he also gets dating advice from Rune. Ebrahim is the first to benefit when Grace heals Atefen. Soren, the First Councillor of the Elder Council is Khalil’s father.
Janice and Therese are two of the snarky witches who grumble about having to help the Oracle as per their “contract”. Isalynn LeFevre is the Head of the witches’ demesne and a U.S. senator. Archer Harrow is the witches’ councillor on the Elder Tribunal. Jaydon Guthrie is organizing the quarterly Saturday work days when witches come to her place and help with chores and projects. A millionaire lawyer, he is also the head of one of the oldest covens in the demesne. Brandon Miller is supervising the workday. It seems he’s busy supervising other, more under-the-table projects as well and he’s part of the Humanist Party along with Therese, an anti-Elder Races group, which supports Guthrie. Olivia, a reference librarian for the Ex Libris Library, is the only nice witch who is helping.
Julian Regillus is the Vampyre Nightkind King. He and his right-hand man, Xavier del Torro, are rather insistent that Grace tell them what the Oracle said to Carling (see Serpent’s Kiss). Dragos Cuelebre also shows up at her door, but she does have something for him.
The cover is all reds and pinks with a giant full moon in the background and a built young man posing in his fitted black T-shirt.
Well, this story is about the Oracle and Harrison does go on about it being an Oracle’s Moon, although she more implies that it’s significant. But the incident to which Petra and her grandmother are referring doesn’t feel related to this moon. All
this buildup to what is admittedly a pretty important event, but what it has to do with the moon…I dunno. Maybe it really is important and Harrison is simply using words to tell us, not creating the tension or drama needed to really hammer its importance home.