Kristen's Reviews > The Oracle Glass

The Oracle Glass by Judith Merkle Riley
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's review
Aug 02, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: strong-female-characters
Read in January, 2012

This would have been a very good 300-page book. Unfortunately, the author wrote 500 pages which made it into an only fair story.

There are lots of promising aspects to the book: plenty of strong, independant and intelligent female characters, the fascinating world of the Sun King's court, the unique aspects of the Occult world, politics, family intrigues, love - both unrequited and true, and the city of Paris which is always fun as a book setting.

The story itself was very engaging - a young French girl Genevieve Pasquier, not beautiful and with a deformed foot, is the disappointment of her social-climbing mother but becomes the darling of her educated father who educates her with politics, religion and philosophy. Her future turns bad when the father dies and the rest of the selfish grasping family believes Genevieve to be the only one who knows where he hid the fortune they believe he spirited out of Paris. She doesn't, and since they refuse to believe her, and after being violated by her own uncle, Genevieve runs away thinking to commit suicide.

Instead, she is saved by one of the infamous "Witches of Paris" a group of female fortune-tellers and witches who run the occult underground activities of the city. Because Genevieve can see visions in water, La Voisin sees promise and trains her, creates an alter ego - The Marquies de la Morville - and helps her become the most famous and successful fortune-teller in Paris.

The success is good and bad, as it gives Genevieve the independance that virtually no women in Paris at the time enjoyed. But it also thrusts her into the merciless intigues and jockeying for position and prominence that characterized the court of Louis the fourteenth, making her position continously precarious.

As I said this would have been a really good story if it had been shorter. I felt the author included vast amounts of unnecessary details about everything that detracted from my overall enjoyment of the book. I didn't need to have a minute description of every gown, every carriage, every room, and even the weather in every scene of the story to have followed and enjoyed it. The detail became tedious very quickly, and I really feel this could have, and should have, been 300 pages rather than 500.

If the detail had been left out I would have given this three stars. It's an enjoyable story, but you have to skim over all the masses of irrelevant details to just read the actual plot and keep the book from dragging unbearably. This story would definitely have benefitted from a good editor to remove a lot of the extraneous detail.
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03/30/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Abby Smas The detail is exactly what I loved in this book, so if you are a detail lover, this is a book for you.

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